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Encompass® Agency Insights

4 Steps to (Finally) Creating a Small Business Social Media Strategy

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Is your New Year’s resolution to finally get your small business active on social media? As a small business owner, getting started with social media may feel a bit daunting. While you may already know the ins and outs of popular platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, being on the business side can still be a big change from simply scrolling your feed as a user. Even if you’re familiar with a few basic principles of social media for small business, actually putting these principles into action can be a lot harder than it seems.

Despite the low barrier to entry - it’s free to set up a social media business account - social media can quickly become a major resource vacuum, taking up time that could be spent on other marketing activities or core business functions. The key to maximizing your social media impact is to adopt a narrow yet impactful focus. Here are some helpful tips for creating a social media plan for your small business this year.

1. Choose the right social media platform for your business needs.

With so many platforms to choose from, you may find it easiest to start small and focus on a single social platform, rather than trying to be active on multiple channels at once. But how do you know which channel to use? Consider your target audience demographics and your business needs. For example, is your goal to engage existing customers and expand awareness of your different offerings? Or, are you trying to broaden your customer base, perhaps by engaging younger customers who may not be familiar with your product or its value?

Finally, consider where your target audience is most actively engaged. Volume does not always equate with engagement. Your audience might scroll their Twitter and Facebook feeds multiple times per day, but they rarely read any articles or shared content. You want to be active on the channel where your audience is spending quality, engaged time.

2. Deliver value, not a sales push.

Publishing aggressively about any promotions or pushing a sales pitch on customers is a social media faux pas. Think of social media as a two-way street, not a one-way megaphone. Your goal is to build relationships and educate customers and prospects about your services. This starts with publishing content that delivers real value to your audience.

For example, if you’re an independent insurance agent, consider the most common questions you receive about insurance policies. Are customers confused about what’s covered under their homeowner’s policy? Are they unsure about what to do if they’ve been in a car accident and how this could affect their policy? Use these common questions as a starting point to build a weekly social media content calendar. You could address a different question each week. There’s no need to say, “Buy insurance!” Simply invite customers to reach out to you with their questions or to learn more about their specific needs.

3. Create a content calendar.

Avoid that rushed scramble to get a post-up every few days. Instead, set aside a one-hour planning period at the beginning of each month to think through all the social media content you’ll post over the next 30 days. Consider how to make each post timely and relevant. Are their upcoming holidays or seasonal events? Has a topic recently been in the news? Independent insurance agents, for example, might want to post about protecting holiday gifts through homeowner’s insurance in January or address the importance of purchasing additional coverage for jewelry in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. Rather than appearing like you’re trying to push insurance products on customers, you’ll instead be delivering valuable information exactly when your customers need it most. Once your calendar is ready, simplify your posting process by using a social media automation tool to schedule content in advance.

4. Measure performance and adjust strategy.

How do you know if your social media strategy is making a difference for your business? You may not be able to draw a direct line between the number of “likes” a post got on Facebook and a sale. However, you should still track engagement metrics to know what content is most popular with your audience. Sprout Social’s comprehensive guide to social media metrics is a helpful overview for assessing social media reach, engagement and impact. You can't improve what you don't measure!

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