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25thMay2016

Small Business Marketing Advice: How to Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan

Small Business Marketing Advice: How to Develop a Social Media Marketing Plan

If you’re a proud #SMBOwner (small to mid-sized business owner), looking to create a simple social media marketing plan, this article is for you. Allow us to share our small business marketing advice that will help you develop a solid marketing plan in 7 easy steps.  

Small Business Marketing Advice: Our 7 Easy Steps

Step 1: Identify Your Business Goals

This may seem like a loaded question, but in order to build a successful marketing plan, you first have to lay out your desired goals. You can’t succeed in your marketing without first establishing and identifying what outcome you’re hoping to achieve.

To get your creative juices flowing, have a look at these popular social media marketing goal examples:

  • • I want to grow my social media followers
  • • I want to build brand awareness
  • • I want to drive more traffic to my blog
  • • I want to host a niche community
  • • I want to convert more visitors to customers
  • • I want to be seen as an expert
  • • I want to get more referrals from my network
  • • I want to harvest more emails for future marketing
  • • I want to foster interaction and communication

Now that you have some ideas to get you thinking about your own personal business objectives, it’s time to take it a step further. Having general marketing goals like the ones listed above should only be used to arrive at more specific intentions.

Pick one or two general goals to elaborate on. Decide on at least three ways you can accomplish each broad goal. For example, if you wanted to be seen as an expert in your field on social media, you may decide on the following detailed goals:

  1. 1.) Have followers submit a minimum of 3 questions per week to be answered.
  2. 2.) Increase case study/research blog traffic by 200 new users each month.
  3. 3.) Get 4 new initiations a month to guest blog or appear on a podcast.      

This creative exercise should help you arrive at highly detailed and highly measurable social media marketing goals.  

Step 2: Know Your Ideal Target Market 

You have a valuable product or service to offer the world. Who is going to want to buy your product or service? Why do they want to do business with you over your competitors? What problems does your product or service answer for purchasers? What industry or set of professionals would most benefit from your product or service?      

These are just some of the questions you will have to answer when discovering your ideal target market. Since finding your target market; developing target market personas; and creating ideal customer traits can be quite extensive, we suggest reading all you can about this subject. Type into the Google search bar: How to find my target market. 

We recommend a highly detailed article published by The Marketing Donut: 6 Steps to Defining Your Target Market. They’ll walk you through these steps:

  1. 1.) Understand the Problems That You Solve
  2. 2.) Paint a Picture of the Customer
  3. 3.) Who Will Gain from the Value in Your Offer?
  4. 4.) Think About Your Market
  5. 5.) Look Internally at Your Company
  6. 6.) What Else is Available?

When you know your target market, you’ll be in a better position to give them exactly what they want and need. It’s like building a friendship; the more you know someone, the better you can communicate with them in their preferred style.

Step 3: Brainstorm Content Topics

At this point, you should be able to clearly describe your top social media marketing goals and who you’re trying to market to. Now comes the important phase of developing a long list of potential topics that your business goals and target market can benefit from.

All marketing plans should be flexible and open to change, but we suggest planning the next 3 months of content to be published. For overachievers, we suggest creating at least 100 new content topics/article titles for your first social media marketing plan. If you’re looking to do the bare minimum, we suggest compiling 12 article headlines (with the plan of posting only once per week).   

Here are 4 starting points we recommend to help you come up with clever, popular and wanted topics:

  • • Lean Labs  Come Up with 100 Amazing Content Ideas in 60 Minutes or Less.
  • • Google Trends  Shows the popularity of search subjects and real-time trends.
  • • RYP Marketing Tool  A beta tool that compiles multiple platform stats to give you ideas. 
  • • Know Your Customers  How to really get to know your customers to see what they like. 

Step 4: Create Editorial & Posting Calendar

You need the structure that comes with a detailed editorial calendar to keep your social media marketing efforts moving forward. First, if you won’t be the one posting on your company’s behalf, designate someone to be responsible for your social media marketing.

Each business is different so be clear and honest with how often you can devote to posting. We suggest posting at least 3 times per week in order to build a loyal following. But again, everyone is different so be sure to invest as much time as you need to accomplish the goals you set out for yourself.

Create appointments on your calendar to account for the following:

  • • Write blog, case study or white paper 
  • • Proof and publish to website
  • • Share website url on social media profile(s)
  • • Forward a copy of publication to email list
  • • Review website and social profile analytics to gauge interest in publication

Our small business marketing advice is to be diligent when following your editorial calendar. It’s very easy to push back social media marketing tasks to the backburner. But the existence of an appointment on your agenda will help you realize how important the designated task is. 

Step 5: Brand Selected Social Media Profiles

Since you have a clear understanding of who you’re trying to focus your marketing efforts on, you can better determine the social media website that will be most beneficial to you.   

We recommend reading Sprout Social’s highly informative article: Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy. Sprout Social focuses on providing you the demographics for the most popular social media websites; including audience info for:

  • • Facebook
  • • Twitter
  • • Instagram
  • • Google+
  • • LinkedIn
  • • Pinterest
  • • Snapchat

After you select the most beneficial social sites for your business, start branding your profile. Use a universal profile photo, cover photo, about me content, and other useful information.   

Step 6: Post, Interact and Foster Discussions

Now it’s time to actually post your highly targeted content in hopes of achieving your highly targeted marketing goals. Follow your calendar and post the content accordingly.

Be sure that you or someone you designate to handle your social media marketing is alerted when someone comments on your posts, sends you a social message or interacts on your page. In order to encourage your followers to interact with your business socially, you’ve got to be on standby to like or reply to their comments.   

Step 7: Review Social Media Analytics Weekly

Keep the excitement and momentum of your social media marketing plan moving forward by closely watching your analytics. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have all adopted easy to read and user-friendly page and profile insights.  

Make notes of any posts, updates or articles that are receiving a higher volume of attention. Toward that end, make notations of specific topics that are receiving little to no attention. These polar opposite data points will help you revise your marketing plan as needed.

We Hope Our Small Business Marketing Advice Brings You Success in Your Marketing Efforts!

We’re hoping that this quick tutorial on how to develop an effective SMB social media marketing plan will help you reach your goals. If you’re interested in reading more of our small business marketing advice, give our Facebook business page a “Like” and get all new articles in your newsfeed.   

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