Nine Point Checklist for Small Business Before Signing up for Any Social Media

Before you get started in social media branding, you need to do some form of preparation to be sure that you know where you are headed to; in any case, how can you tell where you are headed when you don’t have a plan? Answer the following questions to get started:

• What is your objective for social media utilization?

• Who is your target group?

• What is your expectation out of that particular social media site?

• What is the easiest way of attaining your objective?

So, why do you need to answer these questions? Let’s understand how each of them relates to attaining your ultimate goal of succeeding in developing your social media brand.

Setting objectives

Your objectives for using social media could be such things like:

• Developing awareness about your business

• Engaging your target audience effectively and building customer loyalty

• Increasing website traffic in a bid to increase leads

• Increase the credibility of your business to become a thought leader

• Increase conversions/revenue generation

• Enhance operational efficiency

Spur innovation through observing and sharing trends

You need to know why you’re using social media for your brand. Depending on the kinds of objectives, which depend on a variety of factors such as your degree of proficiency and comfort with social media, the kind of brand you represent and the degree to which it can be incorporated in social media, and many more; you can choose the kind of plan, platform and posts that are uniquely suited to your brand, voice and identity. As a rule of thumb, ensure that your objectives or goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/result focused, and Time-bound). Obviously, these need to be detailed enough to ensure that you don’t leave anything to chance. Let’s talk about this in greater detail:

Be Specific

Ensure everything is simple and clearly defined in order to eliminate fuzziness in all your goals. In simple terms, you get rid of all ambiguity when you make your goals specific. Don’t just say that you want to be more social or want to make more sales with social media; instead, you should specify what “more” means to you. Just to help you get started as you develop any social media goal you should ask yourself some very important questions:

• What do you really want to achieve with your actions?

• Who is really involved with the goal?

• Where exactly is your activity located?

• Why do you really want to achieve the goals you have set?

• When do you want to start working towards the goal and when do you want to accomplish that?

• What exactly is needed to get the job done?

Be Measurable

It is very simple to set broad goals which leave a lot to be defined. However, that is counter¬ productive to the good social media plan. It is far more worthwhile to outline measurable, and incremental objectives that you can track and focus on. Your specific goals should have a measurable milestone such that you can tell how good or bad you are doing based on the set targets. For instance, you can measure your posts in terms of the number of people that specific post has reached. This simply means that the method of measuring performance in different social media sites is bound to be a lot different. For instance, you could think of such things like number of shares, number of retweets, likes, follows, reads etc. You can also measure it in terms of the number of people who actually purchased your product or service due to your social media activity.

Be Achievable

We all know that any goal you set should be challenging such that it pushes you to move out of your comfort zone. However, it shouldn’t’ be unachievable or frustrating to achieve. As such, you should first evaluate your current skills level and resources before you can set the goals. Test your skills level before setting the goals just to be sure that you can actually achieve such goals.

Be Relevant/result focused

Your social media activity isn’t relevant to the platform alone. What is important is that you must measure goals and not your social media activities. For instance, you shouldn’t set goals such as sending 20 tweets daily. Instead, you should focus on what these actions are meant to achieve; this could be increasing awareness of your brand and many other subtle goals. Here is an example to help you understand what I am talking about:

Be Time bound

You don’t have until eternity to do what you have to do to achieve your social media goals. Your social media marketing goals should be properly timed to create a sense of urgency and tension that pushes you to achieve your goals. All the examples I have mentioned already had a date if you were keen to notice!

If you have thought and deliberated about the objectives of your social media plan, you must also begin thinking more keenly about your brand - the kind of voice and the kind of identity, surely, but one of the most important avenues of thought in terms of social media is the target audience. Since social media can allow you to connect with your target audience with targeted ads and data analysis, marketing in social media requires a more nuanced understanding of the target audience, their needs, and desires. When you have everything thought out as far as goal setting/ setting of objectives is concerned, you also have to consider the target audience for your marketing efforts.

Target your audience group

Determine the target audience for your social media marketing efforts; you simply cannot be targeting everyone! Unlike in TV and radio advertising where you might not have the options on who to target, social media has such options so you need to choose who you target. You can make a decision based on:

• Age group

• A particular community

• Gender

• A particular group that has interest on specific products

• A global presence

• A particular location

• People who have certain preferences

• Those using a certain social media platform

A well thought out target audience can make seemingly large and important decisions become simpler to decide - such as choosing a social media platform. While it can seem like a very important decision considering the variety of different social media platforms and their differences, the most important factor in this decision is target audience - since they are the ones you need to reach.

If your target audience is young adults, who are interested in arts and photography, and their preferred platform is Pinterest, you would not want to use, for example, twitter. A keen understanding of the target audience is important also for good content, since only if you know their needs and desires will you know the kind of content that will provide value to their lives. It will become very easy to choose any social media platform if you settle on the target audience. The next step is to map your expectations from whatever social media site you will settle on. In any case, any SMART goal should be Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.

What is your expectation from using any social media platform?

As you list your expectations, you should ensure that you are very specific about what you want. That is the only way you can tell whether you are actually attaining your objectives or not. Different social media platforms also have different conversion rates so you have to understand that beforehand so that you can know what to expect from your marketing efforts. Here are some things to answer before you can continue:

• What level of performance do you want to attain?

• How easy is it to attain that level of performance?

• What will you need to attain that level of performance?

• How many people do you want to attract in the process?

• Will you be able to measure your audience vs. increase in sales with precision?

Once you map out your expectations, the next thing you need to do is to determine the best strategies to use to attain your objectives and expectations with ease.

What is the easiest way of attaining your objective?

Managing brands with social media needs the skills of a professional social media enthusiast.Every social media site has its “hacks” that the pros have already mastered so that you can attain faster results. You need to understand what is needed for you to attain that.A simple way to growth will be to employ the services of a digital agency like Viralify. Digital Agency,s focus on building organic growth with good content. Combine this with great customer response and you have the best recipe for success in social media.

Social media can be categorized depending on a number of factors. Perhaps the best way of categorizing is on the degree of maneuverability and flexibility you are allowed in kinds of content. Choose between websites and blogs which give you every freedom to post, integrated social media websites which have a broad set of guidelines such as Twitter and Facebook and more secure websites of the latter kind which have many more restrictions on the kind of content and strategies you use.