Any successful business owner, large or small, will tell you that setting and working towards goals was key to their success. As a business, it may feel like you have to be on social media because your competition is, or because that’s what people now expect. But no great thing was achieved without first setting goals and strategies to achieve them and your social media should be no exception!
What platforms you want to be on
While it might seem like being on every social media channel imaginable equals further reach, ask yourself what benefit your business will gain from having a social media account on each specific platform. Does your business really need a Pinterest account? Can you reach people on Twitter that you wouldn’t be able to reach on Instagram or Facebook? Do you have enough available time or staff to maintain multiple platforms? These are the sorts of questions you should ask yourself before signing up to a new platform, and if the answer is no then don’t bother.
How often you would like to post
Two words : plan ahead! One of the most common mistakes that businesses make with their social media is inconsistency with posting. Setting a goal for the number of posts you’d like to make per week and what you’d actually like to post is the first step to solving this problem. As a rule of thumb 5-7 posts per week on Instagram and Facebook respectively is a sweet spot. If you’re finding that you either forget or just don’t have the time to gather content to post this often, there are loads of scheduling tools that are great for streamlining the process. Scheduling posts for Facebook and Twitter will allow them to automatically publish at a predetermined time, whereas Instagram still requires you to manually post scheduled content. Scheduling makes it much easier for you to take a step back, plan which elements of your business you’d like to share with your audience and most importantly stick to it. Remember planning is key to kicking goals! Hootsuite, Later, Buffer and Sprout Social are all great scheduling tools.
Knowing what content to post on social media can be a difficult task, but breaking it down into options is the first logical step. The first and most obvious option is to create original content, whether you take photos and make graphics yourself or pay a professional to do it. If you don’t have the budget to pay professionals, you aren’t out of options. Web tools such as Canva are great for creating simple graphics and as for taking photos, you don’t need to be a photographer to take eye-catching images. Whether you’re using smartphone or a basic camera, there are plenty of resources on the web specific to maximising the equipment you’re working with.
If you’re on the search for content such as articles and web resources relevant to your industry to share on social media then you may find tools such as Feedly, Scoop.It, Flipboard and Post Planner really useful.
Finally, don’t overlook user-generated content. We’ve given a comprehensive explanation of user-generated content here.
The voice behind your page
It sounds small, but the voice you have behind your social media pages can make the world of difference to how your brand is perceived. The first goal regarding your page’s voice should involve deciding what it is and keeping it consistent across all posts. If developing an appropriate voice and tone feels difficult to you, first ask yourself how you’d like your audience to feel. Are you trying to make them laugh? Do you want to impart knowledge and wisdom? Do you have beautiful imagery and want to let it speak for itself? Asking yourself these sorts of questions will help guide you in your search to find a distinct voice.
Of course, there are a few rules of thumb when it comes to the voice of your brand on social media. While crude, politically incorrect or offensive content is sometimes likely to go viral, it’s not often for the right reasons. Social media is still published content and will contribute your brand’s reputation, don’t forget that!
Delegating tasks to staff
Even if only one staff member is responsible for gathering and posting content to the businesses social media, make sure all staff members are aware of the accounts and the kind of content you post - this way they can help you gather content. Whether they come across an article that you could share on the business Facebook or Twitter page or a photo opportunity arises for an Instagram post, having all staff members on the same page with the brand’s social media will make getting content easier.
Paid advertising through social media can be one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies for your brand. Facebook especially has amazing targeting abilities and taking advantage of these for your business is becoming a no-brainer. You can enlist the help of Facebook marketing experts or use Facebook's Blueprint to get you started.
There are two main approaches you can take to Facebook ads and we recommend using both alongside each other.
Brand Awareness: This has no distinct call to action and the goal is more open ended, it’s about reaching out to people within your target market and educating them about what your business does.
Call to action: Facebook has a great range of marketing objectives which allow you to tailor your ad to target a specific goal, whether it’s sending people to your website, getting video views or even app downloads there’s an objective that suits!
Measuring your results
Measuring your results is one of the most direct ways for you to gauge whether your social media strategies are paying off. With social media, there are two main ways you can do this: Measuring profit increase and measuring vanity metrics.
Relying solely on measuring profit increase to gauge the success of your social media strategy can be problematic, as other variables come into play when judging company profit. An example of a variable could be season or time of year, though variables vary greatly depending on industry. It’s often a good idea to compare the profits of a window of time to that same window in the previous year.
The second way to measure the success of your social media strategy is to keep track of the followers and the engagement your account attracts - these are known as vanity metrics. While vanity metrics aren’t as closely tied to generating revenue for the business, they are helpful in guiding you in deciding what your audience responds best to. Facebook and Instagram have great native insights which can show you how well your content is performing (just make sure you have an Instagram business profile to access these insights!). If you’re after a more comprehensive way of tracking your progress complete with downloadable reports, online tools such as Iconosquare can be very handy.
Last of all, it’s important to remember that businesses change and your goals and social media strategies shouldn’t be set in stone. Whether you’re achieving your goals left, right and centre or things aren’t quite going to plan, it’s a smart move to periodically take a step back and re-evaluate.