Social media offers some great opportunities for businesses, but it can also be overwhelming. To help you formulate your social media plan, you’ll need to start with your business goals.
Are you ready to figure out what you’re going to get out of social media?
There are lots of social networks out there, and lots of ways to use them, to achieve lots of different objectives. But before you start signing up and posting all over the place, start with a simpler question: What are you hoping to accomplish with social media?
Maybe you’re looking for a faster way to respond to customer inquiries. Maybe social media’s a way for you to reach your existing customers and encourage them to buy from you more often. Or maybe you’re looking to grow your business by finding new people who could become new customers.
These are all good examples of goals that social media can help you achieve, and there are plenty more.
Remember our vintage clothing shop? Let’s use that example to see how this plays out. Say you’ve just opened your shop. You want to get more customers through the door, but in order to do that, you need to generate some buzz and get in front of as many people as you can. So that’s your first goal: raising awareness about your business.
Keeping this goal in mind will help you map out your next social media move.
For starters, you’ll need to have something interesting to say, and you need to find people to say it to. Since you know you’re trying to find people who haven’t heard of you before, think about what they would be interested in or likely to respond to. Maybe you just got in a new line of hats or you’re having a big grand opening sale.
Once you’ve got something to say, it’s time to figure out how you’ll find people to say it to.
Because you’re looking to grow your network, you’ll probably want to start with some of the larger social media sites. So maybe you’ve decided to join Facebook or Twitter. Once you’ve established yourself there, you can reach out to a group of your loyal customers or even your friends and family and ask them to connect with you. As you share with them and they share with their own networks, you’ll start to grow your own connections, and you’ll be achieving your business objective!
Remember, social media isn’t a one-way street. You also have to participate and give back to your new network of friends and followers.
Engage with the network by re-sharing some of their content, or maybe you can spark some discussion by commenting on other people’s content around current fashion trends, or a celebrity who put together an amazing vintage look.
The last thing you’ll need to plan is how you’re going to speak to the different audiences in the different networks you’re using.
This will depend in part on the function of the networks themselves, but it’s worth thinking through the tone of voice you want to use, and the interactions you want to pursue.
Are you going to be professional and authoritative? That might work well if your target audience is formal and professional too, or for specific networks like LinkedIn.
Or are you going to be light and friendly? That might work better in less formal or personal networks, where you’re interacting with a more casual consumer.
And again, don’t forget your business goals. If you’re looking to attract more people to your networks and your business, then make sure to use an engaging and inviting tone. And if you’re trying to engage your existing customers, make sure you speak to them with gratitude for being your loyal customers.
The world of social media can be broad and complex, but starting out with clearly defined goals will help you figure out which networks to participate in, how to use them, and ultimately, how they’ll help you achieve your objectives.
Once you’ve learned the lay of the land when it comes to social media, it’s time to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish. Let’s talk about:
- setting specific goals for your social media efforts
- focusing your efforts on those goals
- putting your plan into action.