If you haven’t already bolstered your business’s online presence, there’s a good chance you’ve at least put some measure of thought into it. And you’re not alone.
A report conducted by Buzzstream and Fractl found that 72 percent of the 500 entrepreneurs they surveyed believe digital public relations is extremely important in the age of COVID-19. Nearly that same percentage reportedly plan to increase their spending on digital PR within the next five years.
With customers continuing to limit their in-person interactions in the marketplace, efforts to build brand loyalty, customer satisfaction and communication have had to go more digital. The online setting where many business owners are turning to do that is social media. A quick glance at the numbers tell us that’s probably the right direction to look.
Among consumers who have purchased a product or service online, 97% reported using social media within the past month. That makes sense when you consider that roughly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are now Facebook users. As a result, spending on social media advertising is now projected to reach north of $43 billion 2020 – a 20% increase over last year.
Social media offers small businesses opportunities to keep their customers, even when everyone has to keep their distance. It is a platform for demonstrating authenticity and transparency in ways that can directly impact a company’s bottom line. So, is your business using its social media resources effectively?
An effective way of ensuring you’re making the most of your online presence is to create a social media plan. Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific recommends these tips to get the ball rolling for your business:
Establish and align objectives. What are the overarching goals for your organization? Social media is not simply a megaphone for your business. Determine how those platforms can help achieve your business’s strategic objectives. If you are hoping to improve customer satisfaction or even launch a new product, leverage social media to help find success.
Find your voice. Who should your social media messages be reaching? Identifying and understanding your audience ensures you are connecting with the right customers in the right way. Those determinations can even help identify which social media platforms your business should focus on.
Stick with it. Creating a social media account is easy. But maintaining those accounts? Not so much. Be prepared to consistently engage your customers with relevant content and remain responsive to their needs. The dialogue must be ongoing.
Secure a schedule. Once you’ve established your goals and identified your audience, it’s time to activate your strategy. Creating a content calendar helps you know what to say and when to say it. Equally as important, calendars save time, reduce stress and offer organization.
Invest in insights. Posting is just one early part of the social media equation. Tracking, analyzing and responding to those posts provides a look at what is or is not working about your approach. Continue to monitor your business’s social media activity to better know what needs to come next.
It’s also recommended you wade into the social media waters rather than diving in headfirst. Introducing and maintaining a social media account can turn into a heavy lift in no time. You don’t have to show every part of our business’s personality all at once.
What you may find is that every chance to respond to a customer through those platforms is really an opportunity to showcase your values and character. As you strategize what’s best for your business during the pandemic, it may be time include a social media plan into your next steps.
Learn more about how your business can leverage social media to boost its bottom line.
Sheron Patrick is the Communications Manager for the Better Business Bureau of Northwest + Pacific serving Alaska. He lives in in Anchorage, him and his team write articles and alerts on tips to help keep Alaskan consumers safe.