Social Media Manager Tim Campbell Smith

Any Entrepreneur Can Build an Excellent Social Media Strategy

Recently I had a consultation with a local realtor who said "I can't do marketing 

because I don't have a business degree" and that statement floored me...because

I also don't have a business degree.

So let me set the record straight: You DO NOT have to have a business degree to 

be a small business owner, and you do not need a business degree to develop a 

social media strategy.

Now that I've let you off the hook for that, let me hold you responsible for something:

a strategy, be it a social media strategy, brand strategy, marketing you name it, is

an active process - not something you write once and forget it. With your strategy

I want you to do four things with it:

Do Your Homework

Adjust & Improve

Measure & Evaluate

Test Your Ideas

So let me start by giving away my best digital marketing secret: When I do a social media strategy, I always include these sections:

  1. The ideal social media situation for the business

  2. Intended audience

  3. Competitive analysis

  4. Platform choices

  5. Best practices

  6. Content topics

  7. Benefits & calls to action

  8. Hashtags and locations

  9. Metrics

  10. Ad considerations

A social media marketing strategy answers one question:

How are we going to engage on social media to support the goals of our business?

Now here's the one thing I don't want you to ever forget: you have to choose a way to measure the degree to which you are, or are not, successful. That all said, my notes on each section:

The Ideal Social Media Situation: I have always believed in deciding what your end goal is, and only working towards that. Name and claim what your dream social media situation would be. How many followers do you want? What's your engagement rate? How is lead generation going? This is also where I include the most important metrics to track and the dates to measure them.

Intended Audience: Who is your target audience? Be as specific as possible. While this involves some marketing research, remembers it's also fictional people who help you decide what communication choices to make and how to run your business tailored to them. In this section I like to include hobbies, marital status, education level, parental status, if they're home owners, political leanings, religious inclinations, work. These things then become topics of conversation, and help inform what you should talk about and how. For example, your posts should be different for an urban teenage audience versus a middle aged professional crowd. They're also going to have different habits and use different platforms.

Tip: If you already have an established business, look to who your most raving customers are. Describe them!

Competitive Analysis: What are others doing on social media? Look to other businesses and explore what platforms they're using, what they're posting and how it's going. In doing this, I always ask 4 questions:

1. What do I like that they're doing?

2. What are they doing I dislike?

3. What would I do differently?

4. What is nobody else doing I could do?

Platform Choices: A well known piece of research is around what demographics of people use which social media platforms. This builds on your ideal social media situation for your organization and who your intended audience is. Use the platforms of your target audience: not just the ones you're comfortable with.

Best Practices: What are the cool tips and tricks available on each social media platform? This comes from your own research or what you see other people do. If you're stuck here, give me a shout and I can give you some specific to your business and your platforms. Please also note in this section I like to include posting and engagement frequency for each platform.

Content Topics: What the heck are you going to post?! While I wrote a whole book on it, and there's so many ideas, let me give you some guiding social media content ideas:

  • educational, informational posts

  • sales posts,

  • task posts (Ex: try this),

  • funny and relevant posts,

  • personal posts.

Benefits & Calls to Action: Why do people buy from you? What drives them to buy? And, how do we do what you want us to do? This section has you focus in on what you hope people will do and why. Benefits include meeting needs or wants and solving problems. Calls to action include things like "purchase here" "sign up for our newsletter" and "click here to book an appointment." This should also tie in with your other digital marketing goals, touching on e-commerce goals, driving traffic to blogs or other channels and click throughs.

Hashtags and Locations: Where are your customers coming from? Where are they located? What do they use to engage on social media? These inform our hashtag and location efforts. As we know on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram we tag locations, so know where you want to be found and include this in your social. Fun tip: you can combine the two. For example, say you want to reach buyers in Ottawa: you could tag your Instagram post in Ottawa and use the hashtag #OttawaLife to be found by those in Ottawa.

Metrics: What are you going to measure? What's most important? Here I have to say this: do not look to sales and leads exclusively. Social media does so much more than sales, so look to total behaviours and outcomes. Common metrics I include:

  • lead generation year over year (not sales, leads),

  • reach,

  • followers,

  • number of posts,

  • centres of influence gained, and

  • notable impact.

Ad Considerations: Finally are ads. When will you spend money on ads, how much, to what end? Highlight campaign ideas and possibilities, targets and outcomes.

Remember that original model?

Do Your Homework

Adjust & Improve

Measure & Evaluate

Test Your Ideas

Putting this together counts as doing your homework.


Then you're going to try it: that's testing your ideas.


Choose a timeframe when you'll measure and evaluate (here I recommend one month).


From there, adjust and improve.


And continue the cycle.


So open up a page and start jotting down your social media strategy. Any time is a good time to develop your strategy, to test your ideas, to measure and evaluate and to adjust and improve. Remember, your social media strategy does not exist in a silo: it is meant to support your whole business.

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Intrigued by this, but need a little more or want to continue the conversation? Click my picture there or CLICK HERE to send me a message and keep the conversation going about social media strategies.

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