Is your business considering diving into the world of social media? If you’re thinking of taking the plunge it’s important to make sure you don’t end up out of your depth. We take a look at small businesses, social media and marketing and ask some important questions about how they can work well together.

Your brand and social media

For any business considering a new communication tool, it’s incredibly important that a level of self-awareness is established. Take some time to ask yourself what your company stands for and what are the key characteristics of your brand. When you communicate through social media you will need to decide which voice of your company you are using so that you can both share with and react to your audience.

Identify your target audience and create a strategic plan

Strategically you should map out what relationship you want your business to have with social media. You need to be very clear about who you are going to be talking to and what you want to achieve. And remember that communication through social media is a two-way street, so you also need to plan for how you will respond to the voice of your customers. A clear understanding of your target audience is going to help you identify which, if any, of the multiple social media platforms available, is right for you.

Create a content plan and work out how you will maintain it

In addition clearly understanding your audience will allow you to plan the content you need to create and the frequency with which you are going to share it. It’s easy enough to increase how much you use social media but it can be challenging reduce it. Start small and grow as you can. Whatever you decide to do will need to be maintained so be realistic about the amount of work you could be committing to in order to keep your presence updated.

Set and track targets

Social media often has a reputation as a free tool available to any business that wants to communicate with their customers. In reality it’s hungry for content and can end up costing you a lot in the time required to maintain and manage your space. Think about how you are going to measure the success of what you invest, and set some clear targets for what you want to achieve.

Consider asking an expert

Finally, if a discussion on social media leaves you feeling like everyone is speaking a foreign language, it could be worth your while to call in an expert. A consultant who specialises in social media will not only be able to help you create your strategy and execution plans. They will also be able to create plans for measurement so that you can identify the effectiveness of any investment in time or money that you make. This will then allow you to review and improve your strategy and effectively move forward.

Social media can be a wonderful tool for communicating with customers. But those who consider using it should be clear about who they are communicating with and what the message is that they want to share. A clear strategy and content management plan are crucial, as is the ability to recognise the time commitment required and to set targets to measure the results of any activity put in place. Then, armed with some forward thinking and good planning, your success in the sphere of social media could be just around the corner.