Billions of people around the world maintain an active social media presence, and this number will continue to grow throughout the next decade.

Almost 40% of these people follow brands on their social media, and many say they have made a purchase with a brand after having seen an add in their social feed.

This shows that social media has become an extremely useful channel for businesses to meet consumers.

Without a robust social marketing approach, your small business could be missing out on an excellent opportunity to reach and connect with customers across your local area and farther afield.

Creating an effective social media strategy:

1. Define your goals

What makes a social media marketing strategy for your small business successful? Well, that depends on what you wanted to accomplish in the first place.

As with any strategy, if you don’t define clear goas from the outset, it will be impossible to measure your success.

Start by clarifying the strength and weaknesses of your brand, and identifying which corners of your business could use a boost.

Some common goals for social media include:

  • Driving traffic to your site
  • Improving brand awareness
  • Increase brand loyalty
  • Improve authority within industry
  • Increase sales

Whatever your reason, it’s imperative that you have a clear objective before you build you plan. It would be even more beneficial to develop some SMART goals in order to more closely monitor your progress.

2. Identify you target audience

Your customers’ social feeds contain content from endless amounts of brands and companies all vying for their attention. If you don’t understand your audience, their needs or what matters to them most, you’re unlikely to build a social brand presence that attracts their interest and compels them to action.

Identifying your target demographics and how they interact with brands online is key to crafting social media marketing content they actually want to engage with—and that cultivates a stronger connection with your small business.

3. Create your content

Content is the core of your brand’s social media marketing strategy. Without a solid approach to content creation and a schedule to ensure you maintain an active presence, it will be near impossible to engage with you audience in any meaningful way.

There are many types of content, from long form to short form, links, images and video. Each has its own benefits and will be appropriate for different topics and themes.

 4. Schedule your content

Having a content schedule means that you can really keep your strategy coherent and consistent. It will help you to build the strong brand awareness you need.

A social media calendar is essential in order to keep on track with your content, but also to make sure you are engaging and listening to your customers at every opportunity. Your calendar should work with your SMART objectives and digital marketing strategies to strengthen your message and brand voice.

Having everything scheduled a month or so in advance allows you to plan ahead, complete your work in batches, avoid multitasking, and note down all your creative brainwaves for later.

In case you’re not sure where to start in creating a social media calendar, then we’ve made you a free customisable template, so that you can easily plan and schedule your content in advance.

Just click this link to get the template, and then once you are in the spreadsheet just hit “File” and go to “Make a copy…” in the dropdown in order to add the spreadsheet to your Google Docs (you can still view the template if you don’t have a Google account).

5. Track your results

Now that you’ve created your calendar and scheduled your posts, don’t just sit back and relax! Now’s the time that you start tracking your progress.

Fortunately, nearly every popular social site offers analytics to help you understand where you’re meeting your goals and where your falling short. This data can be used to identify which content strategies are working and which you can leave by the wayside—as well as the best times to post, and to create a more effective social media strategy.

Last but not least, most social platform analytics will tell you which posts are performing the best (views, clicks, etc.), allowing you to capitalize on content that generates the most engagement.

Click here to get your template.