It’s something we all know we *should* have, but what does your social media strategy look like in reality?

Having worked with many businesses and entrepreneurs over the last six years, here are my six steps to creating a successful social media plan.

  1. Who is your customer?

I believe social media should be a part of your marketing plan because it’s a great way to build your ‘know, like and trust’ factors with your target audience.  You may have a website, you may print flyers, attend exhibitions and send out press releases; all these are great marketing ideas.  Having a social media plan as part of your overall marketing strategy will drive traffic to your website, build a community around your brand and raise awareness of who you are and what you do.

It’s a noisy world out there on social media platforms and we can’t speak to everyone, so we need to start with really understanding who our customer is and build a picture of where they hang out online and why.

Your target customer will undoubtedly be on at least social media platform, we need to meet them where they are and get them to stop scrolling and take notice of our messages.

As small businesses it can be a massive ask to be on all the social platforms.  It’s much better to do one platform really well than spread ourselves too thinly.

TOP TIP: Focus on the one platform that your ideal customer is most likely to use.

Image source: pressureUA/iStock

  1. What questions are your customers asking?

We now know that we need our ideal customer to take notice of us and our posts, we need them to stop scrolling and engage with our content.  How can we do this?  One way is to make sure that our posts answer their questions.  It’s a good idea to reflect back on the questions we get asked in our businesses every day and compile a list of maybe 10-12 frequently asked questions.  You can almost guarantee that if one person is asking a question, several others are thinking but not yet asking the exact same thing.  Keep this list, we’ll need it below in point 5.

  1. Set your goals

Many small business owners waste so much time on social media because they don’t have clear goals and objectives actually written down, so they are unclear about what they are doing and why.  Make a list of all the reasons you think your business could benefit from an active online presence.  Perhaps you are looking to drive traffic to your website?  Grow your email list?  Position yourself as a subject matter expert in your field?

Once you have the objective then turn into a SMART goal.  (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). The SMART model helps push you further, gives you a sense of direction, and helps you organise and reach your goals.

For example: My goal is to increase brand awareness on LinkedIn over the next three months.

👇Specific – focusing on LinkedIn

📏Measurable – I’d like to have an average of 10 comments per post, I’ll post three times a week.

🏆Achievable – yes, I’m getting 5 comments at the moment, on average.

⏰Realistic – I’m going to spend 15 minutes a day engaging with my target audience.

⏳Time-bound – I’ll review every month for the next 3 months.

Now we have something to aim for!

  1. Consider your Customer Journey

All your ideal customers are on a journey, some know you and some are yet to know you.

The phrase ‘customer journey’ describes each and every encounter or touch point a prospective customer has when interacting with you.   The idea of the journey is to build the KNOW, LIKE and TRUST factors so that your customers will build a relationship with you.  We want to turn them from awareness to advocacy, where they love our product and service so much they tell other people how great we are!

At every part of the journey our consistent posts on social media have a role to play by offering the message that our customers need to hear, at the appropriate time.

The Customer Journey

The six pillars of content can be seen in the image above; educate, inspire, inform, entertain, support and convince.  If we make sure that we include all these categories of content on our social media, we can be certain that wherever our customer is in the journey with us our message will resonate with them.

  1. Create a content plan

If we now go back to point 2 and look at the questions our customer is asking, we can use our answers to these questions to form the basis of our social media content.  For example, if we have a glamping business our customers may be asking about the facilities we have on-site and if we take dogs.  If we are looking to turn our answers into content, then for

🎓 Educate, we could have a video of the site, showing dogs happily playing.

💡 Inspire, we could have a customer review telling us how much they enjoyed their break with us.

ℹ Inform, we could mention an award we have won for sustainability.

🎉 Entertain, this could be a behind the scenes video.

📽 Support, here we could do a Facebook live to ask me anything.

🔗 Convince, this might be a link to a digital brochure.

Our strategy is beginning to take shape now.  You can now be focused on what you need to do and will therefore spend less time thinking about what to post or trying to find ideas for content at the last minute.

TOP TIP: Be consistent rather than frequent.

  1. Review what works

On a monthly basis look at the analytics on your social media and work out what has worked well for you.  What has generated discussion on your posts?  What has produced the most engagement?  When you plan for the next month, you can then do more of what works.

TOP TIP: Keep a spreadsheet of your stats so you can celebrate your successes.

Make a list of what you need to do, plan the time to do it and regularly review how it’s working for you, making tweaks and changes as necessary.

Good luck!

About Esther

I’m Esther and my mission is to help business owners who didn’t grow up with smartphones, become experts at managing their social media and win more business.

Right platform, right way, right time, right tools.

I teach social media, ecommerce and marketing/entrepreneurship at three UK universities.

When speaking with businesses one of the biggest headaches is what to post on social media consistently, so I’m here to help!  Book a free virtual coffee with me and we can chat!

Follow Esther’s socials and website to keep learning!

Upcoming events with Esther:

[14th December – zoom event: 10:00-11:00 ]  If you want to grow an audience on LinkedIn, join this workshop for easily implementable ideas and a plan that wins business.

[26th January – zoom event: 13:00-14:00]  If you want to grow an audience on Instagram, join this workshop for easily implementable ideas and a plan that wins business.

[17th February – zoom event: 10:00-11:00]  If you want to grow an audience you can turn into paying customers, a social media and/or content strategy is vital. Join this workshop