Getting the marketing mix right for small businesses can be a tricky affair. With social media in particular, there’s a real risk of it turning into an untrackable timesink that shows very little actual return. If you’re involved in an early-stage local businesses where every penny counts and time is at a premium, you simply don’t have the luxury of getting it wrong.
Rather than aimlessly diving into endless social media updates, you need to invest some serious strategic time up front when it comes to working out how best to leverage this option for your small business. Let’s look at three key questions to consider when working out whether a particular social channel is worth the effort.
Is Your Audience Really Using This Channel?
The core fact to realise about social media marketing is that you don’t have to be on every platform. If you’re running a local plumbing service for example, you’re almost certainly not going to be picking up much work from Pinterest.
Kick things off by doing a little research and working out where your potential audience is actually congregating online. Once you’ve figured out what the primary potential channel is, concentrate exclusively on that to begin with rather than scattering your efforts.
How Are You Going To Plan Your Content Strategy?
Once you’ve identified a potentially useful channel in terms of audience, the next question to consider is content. Though there are various ways of streamlining marketing content creation, you’re still going to be looking at investing some time and money into actually cranking it out.
With that in mind, you need to be approaching this strategically rather than simply whiling away random hours putting together content yourself. Ideally, you can outsource a lot of the content creation or management of a particular channel, but this may well be a situation you have to work towards rather than something you can do straight out of the gate.
Make sure you’re actually documenting the types of content you’re producing and using a schedule, however basic, to plan when it goes live. This will make it substantially easier to hand off down the line.
Have You Worked Out How To Measure Your Returns?
If you don’t have a clear picture of how much business a particular social source is bringing in, it’s a hobby rather than a marketing channel. Even if it’s a rough estimation, you need to be able to trace time and money spent on individual areas through to actual money in your pocket.
Commit to setting goals for individual channels and actively tracking them to make sure you’re not drifting into using social media simply for the sake of it. And be sure not to be seduced by the allure of metrics such as likes and follows. If you can’t tie them in to actual revenue, they’re meaningless.
Social media is a potentially incredibly powerful marketing channel for small businesses and one that allows them to go toe-to-toe with much bigger competitors. It’s an area that demands discipline and common sense more than most.
Use our three simple questions as the bedrock of your overall strategy and you’ll soon find the channels that are right for you!