Let me tell you something. I used to love running social media accounts for clients.
Getting creative with posts, embracing the storytelling of brands, seeking out the ideal audience for my clients and then engaging with them on social media. This was all way back before Facebook took the emphasis off business and brand visibility with it’s algorithm, and when businesses I worked for, to be frank, had no clue how to navigate their way around Facebook and Twitter, and everything felt shiny new and exciting.
But now times have changed.
In a matter of only a couple of years, marketers have had to change their mindset when it comes to social media. Although it’s always been important to serve the end-user and provide valuable content, the methods you use to reach them has changed dramatically. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Facebook, for example, is always evolving and businesses have to consider their customers more than ever. Facebook, after all, was built for community and engagement; not outright selling. Businesses were always happy to exploit the social nature of the platform in order to generate awareness and sales. However that was only ever going to be a short-term win. As business owners and marketers, we have to adapt and evolve (a phrase I’ve heard used a LOT recently), shift our emphasis onto the customer, and pivot where necessary in order to build a sustainable business. Social media platforms have fallen by the wayside while new ones are popping up. It can be hard to keep track, but keeping track is essential.
Now back to the point.
As a social media manager, it was my job to research my clients’ customers, competitors and their industries, and create content that was relevant and interesting. This sometimes meant outright sales pitching for an offer or promotion they were running, or sometimes it meant sharing testimonials, FAQ information, industry news, funny memes. Basically anything that would fill up the clients’ page to encourage engagement and increase reach, and ultimately generate revenue.
However Facebook organic reach is now under 5% with some experts predicting it will actually go below 1%. Now, for a business who has only a few hundred or thousand followers, that represents just a small handful of people who will actually see the post; let alone comment, like or share it. If you’ve paid an external agency to create that social media post, that does not represent a good ROI.
It’s no longer cost-effective, in my eyes, for small businesses like you to outsource your social media management. Your time, money and effort would be much better placed creating a solid content strategy, and then using social media as a platform to grow your audience and build your tribe.
Gone are the days of posting for the sake of it, Buffer-ing article after article, and tweeting/retweeting on autopilot. Nobody wants to see their newsfeeds fill up with uninspiring and boring posts from business pages anymore.
So what does this mean for small businesses?
I can’t imagine for a minute that big brands will suddenly stop using agencies or sack their own social media departments. However there has to be a huge shift in thinking and focus.
And for small businesses like you, I no longer offer social media management. I make no apologies either. Instead I’d rather coach you on how to create a social media strategy and then implement it yourself. Often this will include Facebook paid advertising too, which has a much higher ROI. Given the precision targeting you can do, we can reach the people who will actually be interested in your product or service.
With my help you’ll actually get the knowledge and the confidence to manage your social media yourself, and with a clearer end-game to focus on.
BUT FIRST! Here are my top tips for creating your social media strategy:
- Know your audience. I mean, REALLY know your audience. Who do you serve and who should be consuming your content? If you don’t know them inside out; their pain points, their interests, their goals; how will you ever reach them with your social media content? If you’ve not already completed my Ideal Customer Avatar worksheet, I highly recommend you start there. It will also give you some great pointers as to how to reach them once you have a clearer idea of your ideal customer.
- Choose your platform(s). This comes down to knowing your target audience. There is no point spending time and resource on LinkedIn, for example, if your target audience are 16-18 year olds. It’s also essential you actually know and discuss with your audience where they ‘hang out.’ In the case of this example, the focus needs to be on Snapchat and Instagram. Once you know this, concentrate on the main platforms you can connect with your audience, even if that’s 1 or 2 platforms.
- Consider your business goals. What are your objectives and how will social media fit in with reaching these goals? It all needs to fit together; so, for example, if you want to become an authority in your niche, consider how social media will actually support this and map out the way you can use your platforms and what mediums will work. Will this involve weekly videos? Sharing curated content? Sending traffic to your own blog posts? Whatever you are trying to achieve in your business, use social media to help this cause.
- Be consistent and visible. Make sure there is a clear connection between all your efforts both within and away from social media, and that your brand message is consistent throughout. When someone clicks on your website, views your Facebook page and sees one of your print adverts, is it obvious that all three are connected visually and with the tone you use? Are you driving people cross-platform? Is your personal profile optimised – have you used the bio section to link to your business pages and website – and in general, is it easy for people to find you or your business online? If you can’t answer yes to all three, take some time to do an audit and see where you can improve both your consistency and visibility.
- Create a content plan. This goes without saying, you need to plan your social media content, as you do the rest of your marketing. Not sure what to create? I’ve created a two week post inspiration cheatsheet to help you plan your social media marketing. If you’re still stuck, follow the influencers in your industry and other competitors. Watch what sort of content generates engagement. Look out for the type of language your target audience uses and how they respond to others’ social media posts. Don’t outright copy, but simply use it as inspiration to create really engaging content that not only resonates with your audience but also ties in to your own business goals. If you’re looking for the ultimate solution for your content inspiration…I have created a catalogue of over 130 content titles ready and waiting for you to use. Find out more and get instant access here.
- Work with an expert. My half-day strategy sessions are an ideal place to help you kickstart your social media marketing. As we deep dive into all of the above (and much more, in great detail), you don’t leave until you have both complete clarity and a plan that is actionable and practical. Remember, social media marketing is likely to play a huge part of your overall marketing strategy, and so my frank advice to small business owners who want to grow their businesses in 2018, is to go all in.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Book your FREE 30 minute strategy session so you can get the clarity you need to drive your business forward:
(By the way, your free strategy session is not limited to social media marketing. It can include all aspects of marketing, whether you’re stuck with your website, your funnel or any other issue.)