This contributor post was written by Genevieve of Lightbox SF.
I talk to a lot of creative entrepreneurs that are still unsure of whether or not they need to use social media or if it will really help with their business.
My answer to both is yes. Im not going to try to convince you that you need to use social media as some part of your marketing efforts, except to say that you do. I will however show you how to craft your own strategy that works to attain your goals and fits into your available time.
It all starts with goals. Before you do anything you need to define what you hope to get out of your efforts. Are looking to build your network, reach influencers in your industry, or increase sales? Not to say you cant have multiple outcomes from your efforts, but to focus on one goal maximizes your efforts and allows you to track results easier.
If you want to gain followers you need to tell everyone that youre on Facebook, Twitter or whatever social network youre focusing on. If you want to reach influencers and gain publicity you need to interact with these people, comment on their posts, and share relevant information. However if your goal is sales you need to share what you do and drive people to your storefront
Mix Up Your Posts
Even though youre focusing on one goal you need to mix up your posts so that your followers dont get bored. Look at posts as falling into three categories, broadcast, sharing, and engaging. You should try to hit all three each day if possible or at least have an even balance amongst them throughout the week.
Broadcast ““ These consist of you hawking your wares or services, offering discounts, or sharing your latest blog post.
Sharing ““ You can share links to other blog posts that you found interesting or inspiring, pictures of your life outside your business or of others work that you admire, or just cool stuff you found around the web.
Engaging ““ Heres where you ask questions, comment, and engage with your audience as well as your influencers and peers.
Schedule It Out
It might seem daunting to be on social media networks everyday and we all know they have a tendency to be a total time suck. So I highly recommend using a tool to help you schedule your posts ahead of time allowing you to have a presence when youre actually doing other things. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are my top recommendations for prescheduling general posts. Buffer is also a great tool for spreading out the sharing of stuff you find while browsing the internet.
Try setting aside a half hour a week to schedule the broadcast posts and some of the sharing posts. Then you can log in a few times a week and just focus on engaging with followers and peers.
The most important part of having a strategy is defining metrics to track results. If you want to expand your network you need to keep track of how your numbers are growing and what types of posts get shared the most. If youre looking to gain influencers than you need set goals for how many people youre going to contact or interact with each week and track whether or not youre reaching those goals. And if your goal is sales you need to know where your sales are coming from to know if your social media efforts are helping to drive them.
What are some ways youve used social media to reach your business goals?
Tell me in the comments below.
adorable image c/o Nicole Ray of Sloe Gin Fizz