In today’s speedy online environment, the idea of foundation building as a way of attracting customers may seem like a waste of effort. The constantly shifting social media marketing landscape often confuses small businesses into hastily erecting a series of social media shacks to stake their claim within each new trend. Often they don’t take the time to establish a solid strategic foundation from which operate, then they wonder why the shacks don’t last.
I’m reminded of the old children’s tale “The House that Jack Built” when I think about all the elements of a small business that hinge on a solidly built social media marketing plan. I’ve worked with several client the past few years that initially fell into the social media “shack” mentality. The tasks of feeding the social media content “monster” that lives in multiple shacks quickly became overwhelming and discouraging. But by taking a step back and creating a systematic and well-planned approach to content delivery, the businesses were able to make great strides in constructing a manageable, effective social media marketing plan.
Flexibility and the ability to flow with new trends is a must for small business marketing these days, but spending the right amount of time researching and planning the effort is the only way to build a social media marketing platform that lasts.
Here are five easy steps for building a solid social media foundation:
1. Revisit your market research. Who is your target market, what do they care about, where do they get their information?
2. Review the latest trends in social media. There are statistics published each year about users, behavior, activities, trends and expectations. This information can be used to match your target market with the most applicable social media channel. Here are just a few places to look for social media reports:
3. Choose hot topics and keywords that compliment your business
. Research their popularity and competition on keyword sites:
- Google’s Keyword Planner
- Bing’s Keyword Research Tool
- WordStream Free Keyword Suggestion Tool
- Keyword Spy
4. Match your research about customers, channels and topics, then create a content plan targeting your specific market. Write and schedule the content in advance using easy scheduling software, many available free online.
Free Content Plan Templates
- Facebook—Can schedule directly from each post
- Hootsuite—Top rated in most reviews
- TweetDeck—If you prefer twitter
- Buffer–Free to sign up, some fees after that
5. Measure success regularly by following analytics and gathering information from your customers. Adjust your social media channels and content based on performance.
Living with a poorly build social media marketing effort can take a toll on your business visibility, reputation and sustainability over the long haul. Taking the time to establish a strong foundation not only pays off in efficiency and the development of a strong brand message, but contributes to customer loyalty and increased sales.