It's no secret that companies today need a social media presence to compete in this business environment. A 2018 report found that 74 percent of Canadians are online between 3 and 4 hours each day, and of those online users, 67 percent spend time on social media.1
Choosing the right social media platform to promote your business, knowing what and when to post and trying to find the time for it can be overwhelming. These four simple steps will help you get started with a social media strategy for your company
Step 1: Find your audience
The social media platform you choose first for your business depends on your ideal customers’ preference and the social channel that resonates most for them. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest each appeal to slightly different user groups. In addition, the type of content posted—everything from short, text-based posts to images and videos—and how it's shared differs slightly between platforms.
Select your platform by finding the audience that includes your ideal customer. For example, Facebook is the largest platform, with a growing number of older users (55 year old +). LinkedIn is most popular with B2B users. Pinterest caters primarily to women, while Instagram users tend to be younger than the average social media user.2
Step 2: Set up an account and define your purpose
Setting up a business account on a social media platform is simple. Choose a social media account name (referred to as a "handle") that's either identical to your brand name or a shortened version of it. Keep all content, including images and logo, on brand. This means using fonts, colours and messaging should be consistent across all posts.
Once that's done, consider your goals to help determine the types of posts you'll share:
- To improve customer engagement
- To reach new customers
- To promote new products or services
- To learn about customers by studying which social media content gets the most likes, shares, pins, etc.
- To drive customers to your website
- To build an email list
Planning ahead will save you time and money and help to ensure your business social media content is effective.
Step 3: Consider your content
Identifying the purpose of your business' social media account will help direct your social media content decisions - what do you want your business to be known for?. First up, create a social media content calendar. Decide how often to post, when to post and what to post balancing the need to build your presence and your resources to do so. Post content based on your customers' needs, the content that most engages your audience and what your competitors are doing.
Be sure to regularly fine-tune your content based on your social media traffic and engagement. You can assess this using the analytics services of the platform itself, for example Facebook Analytics or Pinterest Analytics.
Another effective way to amplify your social media messages to a targeted audience is to advertise on social media, instead of depending only on the organic traffic that occurs from users sharing your content. If you choose this route, consider using your American Express business card to pay for social media posts. This may help you collect Membership Rewards®, turning an expenditure into revenue that you can inject back into your business.
Step 4: Automate your social media strategy or hire a pro
Like most effective marketing strategies, launching a social media marketing program takes time, money and effort. Luckily, businesses have several options to manage their social media.
Consider investing in a social media scheduling app such as Tailwind, Hootsuite or Buffer to save time by batch-scheduling social media posts. Or hire a social media manager when you're ready to increase your content output and scale up.
When it comes to launching a social media strategy for your small business, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Don't be. Choose just one social media platform to start with, and work through one step at a time to connect with your existing customers and attract new ones.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion on any issue. It should not be regarded as comprehensive or a substitute for professional advice.