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successful with social media

The 6 things you need to be successful with social media

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Whenever I meet small businesses I haven’t seen for a while, they always mention how well I’m doing on social media. Now, you might think it’s because I’m a marketer that I’m successful with social media.

The thing is, it’s like any other skill. Yes, that’s right. Social media is a skill. You need to learn the systems and processes you need to have in place to make it work. Once you know these, and you dedicate time (I know it’s a precious resource), you can make social media a successful part of your marketing. If you’re ready to get started, here’s what you need to do.

What do you want to achieve with social media?

If you approach social media like you would any other project, having an objective just makes sense. We do it with pretty much everything else we do, so why not social media?

So, get a piece of paper and write down what you want to achieve for your business by using social media. Is it one of these things?

  • Raise awareness of your business/product/service
  • Find new customers
  • Find partners to work with
  • Increase sales
  • Increase revenue

There are any number of objectives you might decide on, and it doesn’t have to be just one either.

Now you know what you want to achieve, the next thing is to put numbers against your objectives. These are your targets or goals. Keeping track of them is the way you’re going to know if you’ve achieved what you set out to do.

Examples of social media goals you might set:

  • Website clicks
  • Email list growth
  • Brand mentions
  • Impressions
  • Reach

Next, add a time by which you want to achieve your goals. Make these realistic. You’ll only be disappointed if you set unrealistic deadlines and fall short of your target.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a blueprint of how social media will help your business achieve its objectives.

Be strategic – pick and choose wisely!

We’re all attracted to the shiny, new things. And that’s no different with social media. There’s a plethora of networks out there and if you try to be everywhere, you’ll spread yourself very thin.

Don’t be tempted to do too much. Doing a few things well is the way to succeed. And whatever you read about social media being quick “to do”, I’m here to tell you it takes time and effort.

So, here’s the thing:

Pick the network(s) you want to use wisely. If your current customers or target audience use Facebook the most, why should you waste your time with Instagram? You want your message to reach the people who will buy from you; use the networks they use most to help you achieve this.

The next thing to do is to work out who you should follow. Remember, social media is your opportunity to reach audiences wider than your own network. Strategically following people who may have the same interest as you, are in the same business or have bought from you will help you spread the word about your business. Take the time to research who these people are.

Finally, remember the “social” part of social media and make sure you engage with your followers and those you follow.

I love it when a plan comes together!

This is really important:

You need a content calendar. You’ve worked hard so far, don’t fall at this point. In marathon terms, you’ve probably hit the wall and want this planning part to end. Now’s the time to take a deep breath and push to get past planning fatigue.

The content calendar you create is going to pay dividends in saving you time. Every day when you go to post on your social network(s), imagine how you’ll feel when you know exactly what you’re going to post. It beats drumming your fingers on your desk every time!

Another benefit of knowing what you’re going to post is being able to create any images, videos or other assets up front. When you dedicate time, you’ll be surprised at how much you actually get done. It really does work wonders.

Once you’ve plotted out your posts on your content calendar, look at what you can use to create another piece of content. For example, if you’re launching a new product, you might want to follow up the launch post with a blog on the best ways to use your product. Finding ways to get more out of what you’re already doing is going to save a tonne of time.

create images for social media

Choose your tools

Here’s what you should be thinking about when you choose your tools:

  • Automate
  • Create
  • Measure

You should have a tool in each of these three categories. Picking tools that are easy to use and understand is key here. I’m not going to go into too much detail here. If you want to read my recommendations, click the button below.

small business marketing tools

Make the time

No matter what you hear, social media does take time. If you don’t plan it will take even longer. But, don’t be too despondent.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Make sure you have dedicated time to “do social media.” That means putting aside time to focus your energies on creating and scheduling those posts.

For me, that’s 30 minutes each day to work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. These are the places my target audience is. What’s more, that 30 minutes is scheduled in my calendar, and that means it happens. Work out how much time you need each week and put that time aside.

Don’t forget this:

Remember that you are on social media. That means you should be interacting with people as well as posting your messages. Again, if you dedicate time to this every day, it will get done. I will usually look at my networks around lunchtime and at the end of the day. I will spend time liking, commenting and sharing content. This helps me be seen. Doing it consistently will help you be seen too!

Is it working?

This last step is every bit as important as all the ones before it. But, it’s often the step that small businesses miss doing.

Why it’s important:

If you don’t measure, how will you know whether what you’re doing is working or not? Do you really want to waste time and money on things that don’t help your business grow? I thought not!

If you put aside time every month to measure what’s happening on your networks, then you’ll be able to tweak things to help you achieve your objectives. And on that note, you should also be tracking the goals you set. Looking at all the little milestones will help you paint a picture of how you’re doing and whether you need to reassess the objectives you set.

There is no magic wand to wave when it comes to using social media for your business. Like many things, it needs work. However, when you put in that work, the results start to speak for themselves. Don’t leave your success to chance, make the time to do it properly!

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