Being a small business can sometimes mean that your resources and funds are limited. Because of this your marketing can become complicated, time consuming and expensive. One way in which you can market to your target customers in a cost effective way is through the use of social media.

For big companies, you will find dedicated employees who are given just one task; social media. For most small businesses, you might have to do it yourself and this can be just as successful as long as you know how to create a social media plan. Here are 7 simple steps to a social media plan.

  1. Determine Your Goals

What do you want to achieve by using social media for your business? Do you want to increase brand awareness, sales or website hits? Once you know this, you know what your goals are for your social media plan when selling your product/service. Doing this will also help you choose the right social media platforms for your business.

  1. Define Your Target Market

Who is your ideal customer? Is it a man or woman? Where do they live? Do they have children? What is their age, nationality and location? These are the questions you need to ask yourself so you know who you are targeting. Once you know this, you get closer to understanding where you time will be best spent online.

  1. Choose Your Social Networks

Understanding how each social network works, and why it is good for your target market is step 3 of building a social media plan. Don’t spread yourself too thin – only focus on two or three social networks. To find out the demographics for each social network to help you chose which are best for you, see a previous blog of mine here.

  1. Content Plan & Calendar

Deciding what content you want to post, and when you want to post it is important as it helps you stay organised and focused on what is important. Your content will need to be a mixture of repurposed (sharing online influencer content) and sharing your fresh and unique content created by your business.

If you are time short and in charge of many parts of your business, it will help to make a content calendar so that you know when certain pieces of information need to be talked about. This can then be scheduled ahead of time, using Hootsuite.

  1. Use of Visuals

Using visuals to accompany your social media text content is extremely important. You will get double the engagement, just by using an image. There are so many great visual tools you can use for your social media activity. To read more about these tools, see a previous blog I wrote here.

  1. Engage, Engage and Engage

Social media is more than just pushing your own content. For people to see you as a thought leader in your industry and someone who can be trusted, you need to engage in a two way conversation across all social networks, especially Twitter. To find conversations around hashtags, use Tagboard and to monitor social media activity around keywords, use Hootsuite.

  1. Measure and Analyse

Part of your marketing strategy should be to track how people are finding out about your business. Using the likes of Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics as well as Google Analytics will give you a good idea of your social media conversion rate. You should also be analysing what type of content works for your target market. If something doesn’t work, change it.

As well as the above 7 steps, I have some great business templates, including a 7 day social media plan which you can download here.