Social Media Strategy for Small Business: 5 Easy Steps to Get Started

social media strategy
Social media strategy for small biz
Looking for insights on small business, I stumble on this useful presentation titled Creating a Social Media Strategy: Getting Started in 5 Easy Steps created by Heather Whaling of Geben Communication. Here are some interesting points from the slides.

Check out this 15-slide presentation:

Some notes from the presentation

From the presentation, I found a couple of interesting notes I would like to share with you:

1. Social media role in small business is often underestimated

We often think social media as one of small businesses’ sales channels that can get us more revenue.

While it is proven to be effective in doing so, social media is even more powerful if we change our mindset to start thinking that social media is one of the most important strategic partners a small business can have, particularly in building a community of your business evangelists.

2. Riding the trends is essential in gaining an edge in your competitive market

17% of online time is spent on social networks; in 2010, 50% of your competitors incorporate social media into their business; in 2010, social media is the fastest growing outlet for marketing tactics at 75%…

‘Nuff said – the social media trends show that you need to start incorporate social media campaign into your small business as soonest as you can if you want to keep your business competitive.

5 strategic steps to implement social media for small business

If you are intrigued enough to start the implementation of social media for small business (well, you should!), Heather Whaling recommends you these 5 steps – along with what I think about the steps:

1. Create measurable goals

How do you know that implementing social media strategy into your small business can do your business good? The answer is by creating measurable goals.

Your social media goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-sensitive. “I will implement this tomorrow” attitude just won’t work, and will actually damage your business’ competitiveness. I would like to stress the “time-sensitive” part in creating goals – the Internet make everything lightning quick; blink, and you’ll miss the window of opportunity.

2. Research and listen

Never beat around the bush – you need to tap to the pulse of social media; you need to know who is your “target market” in implementing the social media strategy – read opinions, reviews, polls, etc. to gain insights.

You also need to identify which social media sites that can deliver value the most to your small business – is it Facebook? Is it Twitter? Is it LinkedIn?

I recommend you to hang around in the social media sites and see how businesses use the social media for their business’ benefits.

3. Develop a network

Whenever you are ready, the next logical step is start creating a network and grows it well. The key in growing your network is by creating and sharing interesting, buzz-worthy and useful content with your network.

Like I mentioned above, you need to also grow your network of business evangelists and influencers – those who are social-magnet, able to attract followers to join your network.

4. Integrate online and off line

“You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter” and similar call-to-action tactics are proven to be simple but effective ways to drive traffic to your online network.

In the other hands, you can promote your offline deals or online-only special deals on your networks, driving real visitors to your business.

The key in this particular step is by balancing conventional communication and social media-style of communication.

5. Measure ROI and ROE

You need to measure the returns of your social media efforts; are your social media strategies converting well? Are the dollar and time spent to build your network worthwhile?

Heather Whaling suggests two methods of measuring your social media campaign’s effectiveness: ROI and ROE.

Return on Insight is the new ROI. Insights are beyond data and facts – insights are all about perspective, and your effort in generating insights surrounding your small business can be measured, indeed.

ROE – Return on Engagement – is a more tangible measurement compared to ROI: The number of followers (or fans in Facebook,) blog comments, inbound traffic and links, the number of like, retweet, views, and other metrics can help you measure how effective your social media strategy is.

I hope this article can help you to prepare what’s needed to achieve social media success for your small business.

Ivan Widjaya
On social media strategy
Image by shlomaster