If you’re a small business owner, you have probably heard the hoopla around social media and what it can do to increase your customer base. You probably know, social media is easier said than done. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this blog, I’m bringing social media marketing down to size for your small business or personal brand.
Let’s talk about Social Media Tools
To do a job correctly, you have to have the right tools and social media planning is no different. When I first started social media planning, I would blindly post and repost content without a shred of organization or strategy. This all changed when I found the right organizational tools for content planning and social media management.
Content Planning – Airtable. Airtable can be described as the cute younger sister of Microsoft Excel. It has the same functionality as the popular spreadsheet program but it is much more stylish. The best feature of Airtable is its templates. Each template is ready to use with the sheets, and the columns a content strategy document will need.
In my content calendar, I plan my what my post will say (the copy), the platform it will be posted on, my business objective, the creative along with many other details. Incorporating Airtable for content planning will make social scheduling a tad less overwhelming.
Social Scheduling – Hootsuite. If you’re running a business, you mostly will not have time to upload every social post manually. This is where automation can make social media marketing a lot easier. HootSuite is a social media management platform allowing bulk scheduling* for the social posts. With your content calendar on Airtable, use the fields in the spreadsheet to build and schedule your social posts for your desired timeframe.
In the HootSuite composer, you can build your social post, seeing how it will look when live on the platform. By using the composer, you will be able to test the visual appeal of your creative assets. When you are satisfied, you can schedule your post for the date and time specified on your airtable.
How far ahead you schedule your social media content is up to the needs of your business. If you are a newer brand, you may find yourself playing catch-up for the first few months until you discover a workflow that best suits your business needs. Social media strategists from the larger corporations will say not to plan your social calendar too far ahead. I would take this advice with a grain of salt. Let me explain why.
Larger corporations often have social media teams, a creative department, and a content team – this a lot of human capital to plan future social media campaigns and manage the day-to-day platform maintenance. As a small business, you may not have access to the same breadth of resources. With that being said, I suggest planning your social content as far ahead as necessary in order to maintain an active and consistent social media presence.
Scheduling social post ahead of time does not mean you can set it and forget it! Social media is like any fixture in your business and it needs attention. I plan the social content calendar for A Shy Marketing Agency, month by month. I then review my scheduled post weekly, making sure they’re striking the right tone, and there are no upload errors or typos or bad links.
Developing your Social Media Content Strategy
What type of content should I create? Selecting the right content is the most important decision in social media marketing. Marketo describes online content as the fuel used to engage with your desired target audience.
There are a few rules you can choose to follow when creating your social media editorial calendar, the 4-1-1 rule or the Social Media Rule of Thirds. The 4-1-1 rule states that for every four (4) educational or entertaining post you can share one promotional post.
For example, if you are a hairdresser, the 4-1-1 rule will allow you to share one promotional post about your salon’s services after four funny bad hair gifs. By limiting the number of self-promotional posts will give your content strategy more emphasis on relationship building with your followers and make your brand appear less self-centered.
Speaking of self-centered, do you know someone who only talks about themselves? They’re annoying, right? And brands who just share their content can appear in the same light. This is why I follow the Social Media Rule of Thirds. The rules break down how much content should be original to your brand and how much should be content shared from like-minded businesses. Sharing content from competitors or influencers demonstrates you are knowledgeable about your industry and solidifies you as an authority in your space.
How Often Should I Post? This is a great question and one I toy with constantly. When you’re first developing for social media strategy, this is the time to experiment and see what works best for your brand. This includes the type content and how often you’re posting While it may seem nice to churn out content daily at every hour of the day. Do not overdo it with content. Focus more on consistency while avoiding being a nuisance to your followers.
“ We recommend posting to your Facebook page no more than twice per day—most people get annoyed when a close friend floods their Facebook feed, never mind a brand.” – Marketo
Social media strategist have discovered the best times to post on each social platforms, but please note these times are not carved in stone. It is essential to get to know your audience to discover what type of content they enjoy and what time of day they are most likely to engage.
How to use paid social to grow your audience. Once you have been posting regularly for about 30 days or more, look at the posts, form the past month to see what is performed well. Your high performing posts are strong candidates for boosting. Boosting is a way to increase the reach of your post by placing money behind it. Essentially, your post will become an ad. When advertising on social networks, you have the option to tailor your targeting to specific demographics, location, and interests.
Remember, to boost your post, you’ll need to set aside some money to support your social ad campaign. If you’re just getting your business started, I suggest holding off on boosting and focus on native (free!) content. Your organic social media strategy should be your primary and paid social strategy should be your secondary.
That’s All for Now. Social media marketing can be overwhelming at times, especially if you’re a novice. My advice is to start slow and learn your audience and experiment with your content. After three months, you will have considerable data insights showing you where you should lead your strategy for the best results.