A lack of a solid social media strategy could see small businesses fall behind their competitors. Without a clear plan of how social media activities will contribute to objectives being met, small businesses are unlikely to get the best return on their investment of time and effort.
Even so, 22 per cent of organisations surveyed by public relations firm Grayling admitted to not having any social media strategy. Of the remaining 78 per cent, six in ten have not integrated their social media plans with their wider communications strategy.
Grayling's global head of social media, Victor Benady, said the lack of strategy was "remarkable". Of the businesses who do not have a social media strategy, he noted: "Only time will tell if their lack of digital voice will negatively impact on their business but why are they even waiting to find out? It seems like a huge risk to take.”
Mr Benady said businesses that embrace the complexities of social media "achieve much deeper and more sophisticated business objectives".
Tips for forming your small business social media strategy
If you are part of the 22 per cent of businesses with no social media strategy, do not fear. But while it is never too late to start, the sooner you do, the better. Get started with these top tips.
• Determine what you want to achieve with social media. Do you want to generate leads? Build brand awareness? Improve your search performance? The combination of objectives for your business will determine the route you need to take to get there.
• Make sure you know who you are trying to reach and engage via social media. Understanding your target audience is key, especially when it comes to determining the social media channels you will focus on. There's no point posting content on Facebook if your target audience doesn't use Facebook, for example.
• Consider your resources. If you do not have the time or budget to be active on all social networks, focus on the most important ones and put all your effort into those. If your strategy determines a presence on many social networks, consider outsourcing to an agency, which might be a more cost-efficient option than employing additional members of staff.
• Do not expect immediate results. Building a strong social media presence takes time, but keep at it with regular posts and ongoing engagement to achieve strategic goals.