“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”
After working with small business owners around the country, I hate to say this, but I am certain that this is their business strategy!
Whether they are following the pack, or remembering what their father did when he ran the company, or worse, what they read in college in the 80’s; small business owners need a clear map in order to succeed. And success can be defined as just one extra customer a week, but without clear goal and plan, just waiting for things to happen is like trying to figure out which way to turn at that sign above!
Social Media Strategy begins with a calendar. It is a plan, written out, viewed with perspective, and guided by the mission of the business. Sometimes, it is the cart before the horse (with the horse being the business plan.) No matter how it happens, using a social media calendar will force you to look at your business with clear goals in mind.
Here is a calendar idea I found and modified to meet my own needs:
First, looking out over the whole month you can see where you are going.
Second, you can delete items that you are not going to use. I know that this one makes most small business owners happy. “Twitter and Facebook posts in one day?!” they are thinking. “When will I find time to do that?”
Start with one item. Facebook is easy because you can schedule posts. Choose topics that are important to your business.
If you own a school, you might want to highlight the monthly lesson goals. If you own a restaurant, how about a specific seasonal food category. Even if you are not cooking that food item, people want to get information from people they like….they did “like” you, right? well then give them something to enjoy.
Look ahead at the month. Take a pencil and write out some ideas. Think of articles you read and saved, quotes about food or education. If you like them, your “friends” will like them.
I love having a theme. It makes things more fun for people. Look at your calendar…it has a picture above it–a theme of sorts to explain how that month will be. Snowmen for January, fireworks for July, beaches for August…you get the point. So pick a theme for your business month.
As a dentist you might want to highlight teeth cleaning. Toothpaste, brushes, floss, that new water sucking machine you invested in. It is all part of your business, and if you make it accessible to your customers, they will enjoy the humor in a good spit cup photo. It makes you real, approachable and most importantly, likeable.
You know what these are, yes and it involves writing stuff. UGH! Well one of the most overlooked posts are not words at all, rather they are pictures and business owners miss this opportunity a lot. Do you make organic juice? Do you have hand lettered menus? Is your receptionist’s smile the absolute best? Well, TAKE A PICTURE! Posts that include an image are 60% more likely to be read. So get out your phone and snap something–up close and personal. Post it. Make it a goal each week to take a picture in your office. Write it out, do it. Download Instagram and make it fun (plus you get another digital social media site that will attract attention.)
These are for your LinkedIn profile. You need to interact here too. How about making it a goal to post an article a week? It makes you look interesting, knowledgeable and helpful. Who cares if no one “likes” it? This is about your digital imprint. Are you out there? HELLO? Just one or two posts a month is all you need to begin to see your business grow in an internet world.
Pinterest is a beast in itself. If you have ever lost several hours, or one long weekend to the temptation of pinning images of puppies and beach wedding ideas, then you know why I have “time’ here. You must have a Pinterest account for your business. It is not optional. Take a weekend and set it up, or hire someone to do it for you, but it MUST be done. Once set up, you just need to download the APP on your phone and then take the “time” to post. Do it on the commuter train, at the doctors office, at the PTA meeting, in the bathroom. Just do it. Pick a board and take the week to fill it up. Add things to your blog just so you can pin. Devote time.
Topics are not themes. Topics are things that relate to your business that your clients and potential clients will find interesting. Pick one or two and then seek out content for it. Gum Disease–find cartoons, Dr. Oz articles, anything relating and not to technical on topics to post. Schedule time to find this stuff. Put in in your desktop folder marked Content Ideas or better yet, save it to your Delicious.com site for use later. It will be fun, and you might just find yourself reading all those newsletters you subscribe too and just delete in your inbox!
Print out two months in a row and schedule simple tasks. Start out small and just begin to strategize.
Where is your business going?