If marketing is about creating demand for your products and services, social media is a no brainer.

Many small businesses use social media as a marketing technique, but doing it strategically to drive sales is another story. The pitfall of social media is that it’s designed to be addictive so without conscious management it can become very distracting.

Unless you have a clear strategy for how you’re going to leverage social media to raise awareness, drive sales and create customers, forget it. If you want to create a solid strategy for managing your social media then look no further.

Know your audience

Knowing your audience is a crucial aspect of your market research. You need to know demographic information such as age, gender and education etc. You also need to know the emotional characteristics of your audience so that you can speak directly to them. For example, are they ambitious? Are they motivated?

One of the best ways to fine tune your research is to create buyer personas. You can create these buyer personas based on insights such as, interviews, surveys and sales conversations. Without this information, your message will become diluted and you’ll fail to appeal to anyone.

Choose core platforms

One of the mistakes that business owners make is that they spread themselves too thin. They try to tackle all of the social platforms at once when realistically, they don’t have the time.

Instead, focus on choosing 1 core platform to begin with and build up from there. This could be Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter etc. If you’ve done your market research, you’ll know which platform your audience prefers.

Your goal is to find where your audience is and deliver value. Don’t fall into the trap of promoting yourself 24/7. Only 20% of your content should be promotional and 80% of your content should add value. Aim to create content that highlights solutions to their problems and makes their lives easier.

Create a game plan

First you want to determine the objective of your social media. Is it to raise brand awareness or is it to drive sales? Once you know your objective you can create a game plan or a social media strategy that aligns with your goals.

It’s so important that you have a social media strategy that aligns with your objective as then you can determine whether your social media strategy is successful or not. For example, if the objective is to drive sales, instead of focusing on likes and comments, you’ll want to track performance metrics such as list growth and conversion rates.

Once you’ve created a strategy, you want to measure and evaluate your metrics so that you can optimize your results.

Schedule content

The fourth tip is that you have to schedule your content. If you’re finding that social media is taking up a lot of your time, the biggest solution to that is being super organized. This will help you to plan and schedule your social media content in advance.

Block out time at the end of each month to plan the content and dates for the next 4 weeks. Create a social media calendar and include the content and dates and times of your posts. This will ensure that you strategically plan content that adds value and promotes your products and services.

You can use scheduling tools such as buffer or SmarterQueue to schedule posts across multiple networks. This allows you to schedule, publish and analyze posts on one single dashboard.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you manage your social media? Leave a comment below!