Starting social media at a small business? Remember the treadmill analogy.

Starting social media at a small business? Remember the treadmill analogy.

Alison Golan, social media strategy expert at Porter Consulting

treadmillWhen you use a treadmill, do you crank it up to 8 or 10 miles per hour and jump on? If you did, you would probably be thrown off pretty fast. And if you could maintain that speed, you would be working like crazy to keep pace.

The same concept can be applied to starting a social media campaign at a small business. With limited resources that are already dedicated to running your business, taking on another big project can be difficult. Therefore, it’s always better to start slowly and gradually work your way up to a sustainable level of activity on social media. This article details 3 key steps to keep in mind during the planning phase of your social media campaign.

Step 1: Plan your goals, audience, messaging

Start out by determining a goal, then work backwards on how you plan to get there. Select you target audience or audiences, and then develop a campaign to reach each audience. Make sure all of your messaging supports your goal and is geared toward your audience.

You may need a couple of different campaigns in order to reach each of your target audiences. Plan ahead by organizing these campaigns by message, audience and posting date.

Step 2: Select the appropriate platforms

Next, choose the social media platforms that will best help you reach your goals. Again, start slowly. You don’t want to jump onto several platforms at once. Sure, there are tools available to help you manage each, but you still can quickly become overwhelmed. Do some research and determine where your target audience spends their time and start with that platform.
Once you are comfortable and can demonstrate that you can keep up with consistent posting and responding, you can add another. The key is consistency. Don’t ramp up until you can demonstrate consistency on the platforms you currently use.

Step 3: Develop and organize content in advance

Realize that to be prolific on social media, you need content. Develop a few weeks of material in advance. You will want some industry expert articles that you have written along with finding content to curate.
To keep you organized, develop an editorial calendar – a spreadsheet containing the topics you will cover and when you will post them. Make sure you determine in advance whose job it will be to develop content to ensure a steady stream of interesting material to post.

Prepare. Walk and then run!

Social media is an excellent resource for small businesses. Just remember to do your homework first. With proper planning, social media can help you grow your business by successfully connecting with customers and prospects.

Email me with your questions or comments: agolan(at)portertest(dot)net. For more social media tips, follow me on twitter @PrGetsSocial.

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