Social media for small businesses can be really effective, but it is still a huge challenge for most business owners.
According to a survey by Netsertive, 49% of the small business survey respondents don't have a formal social media marketing strategy in place. This number is low, especially with the range of amazing technology to help manage social media.
Is it really that surprising though? Not really.
Many small businesses don't have the budget, time, or skills to take advantage of social media as a marketing channel.
I hope to change that! This article will help you start to manage social media like a pro.
It all starts with creating a social media marketing plan...
The Importance of Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan FIRST
It is very important to come up with a social media marketing plan first before jumping into the social media with both feet. Here are 3 reasons why:
- Creating a targeted social media marketing plan will help you focus on using the most relevant platforms for your business to connect with current and new customers.
- A social media marketing plan will help you understand what role these social networks can and should play in your customers’ buying cycles. It will help you know you’re not losing out on potential sales or trying to sell to people who aren’t interested.
- Lack of a social media plan hands opportunities to competitors. With no structured plan, you risk wasting resources on misguided activity and giving your competition a bigger advantage.
Don't know where to start? Let these 8 steps guide you.
Step 1: Outline Your Current Social Presence
Step 2: Define Your Ideal Customer
Step 3: Nail Your Social Media Mission
Step 4: Identify Key Success Metrics
Step 5: You Need to Create & Curate Strong Content
Step 6: Create a Social Media Marketing Calendar
Step 7: Take Advantage of Social Media Management Tools
Step 8: Wash, Rinse & Repeat
For all the details on these 8 steps check out this article on how to create a social media marketing plan.
After creating a plan, you will need tools to help you manage your social media campaigns easily.
Lucky for you that's what we'll cover next...
Social Media Marketing Tools to Help Execute Your Plan
Professional marketers use tools to bring their social media plans to life. These tools make things more efficient and help leverage time.
One of the reasons why only 4 out of 10 small businesses have a social media marketing strategy is because they think managing social media is simply too much work.
I can't stress this enough, there are all kinds of social media management tools that will make your life a lot easier!
For a complete list of the tools below and a whole lot more, you can check out this list of social media management tools. Here are some of my favorites...
Social Media Tools For Account Management
Social Media Tools For Content Scheduling
Social Media Tools For Analytics & Reporting
Social Media Tools For Content Creation and Curation
Other Useful Social Media Tools
How to Measure Your Social Media ROI
Aside from creating a strong social media marketing plan, measuring ROI is another aspect that challenges small business owners.
According to Trust Radius, 60% of social media consultants and managers say measuring ROI is a top challenge.
You need to measure your social media ROI because:
- You’ll see where you can improve your efforts.
- You’ll be able to decide which social media channels are bringing in the most revenue for you.
- You’ll see how specific changes impact your social media goals.
Let me ask you, do your social media campaigns convert fans into buying customers?
If not, follow these steps to start measuring your social media ROI.
1. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Social media revolves around two main types of KPIs- Brand Awareness and Sales. You can choose one or both depending on your goals.
Keep in mind, brand awareness is really important for the long-term success of any business. However, it can be difficult to track ROI on brand awareness campaigns. If you are going to focus on building brand awareness with social media you may have a difficult time attaching a dollar value to determine your return on investment.
Brand Awareness is easily measured by the growth in followers and the number of content shares. Facebook, for example, lets you measure Page Likes, Post Reach, Engagement, Unlikes, Organic Likes, Paid Likes, and Net Likes.
If your goal is geared towards sales, ROI may be measured by the number of new leads, lead conversions and sales.
Identifying the KPIs that are important for your business is the first important step to determining your ROI on your social media activity.
2. Set Your Social Media Goals.
Never launch a social media campaign without a clear goal in mind. What's the point if you don't have a goal?
Remember your goals must be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely)
Here are examples of S.M.A.R.T goals:
- Brand Awareness - Increase Facebook fans by 25% in the next two months.
- Driving Sales and Leads - Increase website email list opt-ins from social media campaigns by 50% in the next three months.
3. Set up Google Analytics to Track Social Media Conversions.
Google Analytics is a great tool you can use to track social media conversions on your website.
Here's A 6 Step Guide to Tracking Social Media in Google Analytics to help you get this set up.
Start using Google Analytics to measure your social media now and you'll get actionable data on how your social media activity is impacting activity on your website.
4. Assign Values to KPIs.
Now that we've got the first three steps out of the way it's time to assign values to your KPIs so you can assign a monetary value to your social media marketing returns.
If you are focused on brand awareness with your social media, it's going to be tough to determine a really accurate ROI. I would recommend digging deep into your business to determine what dollar value specific actions on your website have for your business. Then, from section 3 above you can use Google Analytics reporting to calculate ROI from social media referrals to your website.
If you are focused on sales, then it's a little easier. There are a few different metrics to consider when calculating ROI:
- Lifetime value: This is the average profit you earn from each customer over the entire duration they do business with you.
- Lifetime value multiplied by conversion rate: How much is each potential visit worth to you based on the percentage that converts?
- Average sale: This is the average purchase through your site.
- PPC valuation: How much would you end up paying if you were to use ads to achieve the same social media results?
For example, XYZ Company (A Car rental service) knows that its lifetime value of a customer is $100 and that 35% of its new email list subscribers make a purchase. Therefore, every 10 email list subscribers they gain from social media is worth $350 to them. Here's the calculation:
10 x 35% = 3.5
3.5 x $100 = $350
Pretty powerful data to have isn't it?
5. Benchmark Against Competitors.
Benchmarking with your competitors is a great way to identify opportunities within your social media effort. You will also learn the best social media platforms that bring in more followers by comparing your campaigns with others.
Here is a great post from Social Media Examiner with some benchmarking tools that can help you with this task. Here are the tools mentioned in the article.
So that's how you can easily manage social media for your small business. It takes time, money, skills, and effort to crack the social media code but you CAN do it.
If you need help, don't be shy. Feel free to reach out to us for help.
Did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments and don't forget to SHARE.
Need more lead generation tips? Check out our entire Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.
Header image courtesy of Pexels.com.