3 Questions To Kick Start Your Social Media Plan
For SMEs with limited resources, the idea of using social media to promote your business and find new customers is pretty appealing. Networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are free to join and allow businesses to set up company pages that showcase the products and services they offer. But just how effective are these ‘new-age’ media tools and what aspects do SME business owners need to consider in their thinking?
Like with most things in life, a little planning goes a long way. Before jumping into any social media platform I would strongly advise any SME business owner to take some time to answer the following questions. The answers essentially become the basis of your firm’s social media plan – that’s 10 minutes well spent!
1: Why are you doing this?
Any marketing activity will only ever be as good as the objective behind it. Make sure you have a clear purpose for why you’re using social media and what success looks like for you. For example you may want to increase your brand awareness, form new customer relationships or sell more of your product or service. The success metric for each of these is different, so it pays to crystalize this up front so you’ll know later down the track whether your efforts are actually working!
2: Which platforms are right for you?
Each social media platform has its own attributes and audience slant. Some platforms may be more favourable than others, depending on the nature of your business and what your objectives are. For example, a business that is looking to build up professional relationships and create sales leads will want to develop a presence on LinkedIn as it is full of professionals who can be searched by industry or job title. Businesses who have strong visual points of interest, such as great product photography, will want to consider platforms like Facebook and Pintrest, which will display their images in an attractive way. Look into the characteristics of each to make an informed decision about whether you’re likely to reach your target groups in the right way.
3: How are you going to resource it?
It’s all too common to come across a neglected company Facebook page containing one or two posts from an initially excited administrator or unanswered questions from ignored users. To succeed at social media you will need to dedicate a person or two (most likely existing members of staff) to keep the momentum going and handle any queries that come through. Remember that this person will represent your brand online, so choose them carefully! Consider providing some outsourced training for your social media administrator, so they can post with confidence and apply effective structure to their activity.
Don’t get hung up on how many followers or ‘likes’ you have compared to the big brands. Social media success for SME’s is about being an expert within a small audience. And if you decide to test out some paid advertising or post ‘boosts’ to increase your audience, set sensible spend caps and ensure you regularly review its effectiveness.
– James Smith
A skilled strategic marketing professional with over 10 years’ experience developing marketing strategies for many New Zealand and international market leading businesses. James held positions influencing brand development, marketing planning, customer loyalty and positioning with companies such as Panasonic, Mercury Energy, Royal Bank of Scotland and Fairfax Media.