Smart Social Media Strategies

Social media has changed the way business is done. Small business owners have access to a level of research and business intelligence that we never had access to before. In the past, pre-Twitter, this type of information was only available to big companies that could afford to hire high-level research specialists and quite honestly by the time you received the information it was outdated.

By applying a few smart social media strategies and using social media tools you can learn how to listen online, figure out what your market wants, and position yourself to be found by the exact people you want to connect with. Keep reading and I will share how.

Social Listening

The principles of business have not changed, but where it happens has changed… Business is happening on #socialmedia and I hope you have made your way there.

One issue that comes up often for my clients is the deafening collective noise on social media, they are overwhelmed by the amount of pointless chatter and annoyed by the constant sales broadcasting. By the time they find their way to me, they cannot see the value of investing their resources and time on this thing called social media.

Yes it’s noisy, yes, everyone is flying fast and attention spans are at an all-time low so if you are only broadcasting on social media you are missing the real value. You will not be heard. Our approach is a bit different… we focus on the most overlooked social media skill, social listening… and we teach our clients how to do this because it must be done every day.

What conversations are happening? Who is talking to who? What solutions do your potential clients need? How can you help? These are all important questions to ask as you being to apply this new approach. It actually begins outside of social media.

Know Your Target Audience

Image of Glasses and Eye Chart - smart social media strategiesFigure out who you want to listen to the best way to do this is to build a persona. Clarity is the key to setting up effective listening channels. Before you start to do this online, spend some time mapping out the following

  • Who do you want to connect with and WHY?
  • Where they are, is it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat? That is where you will want to be spending your time. Don’t like that platform, learn it, you need to be where they are.
  • Are they potential clients, media, strategic partners, vendors?
  • What do you know about them? Think peripherally, beyond business… where do they travel? Eat? Shop? what are their Likes? Dislikes? What are they reading, listening to, watching?  You may be shaking your head about now thinking how am I going to know this…. simply find one person that would be a great prospect and check them out on social media, see what they are up to.
  • Give them a name…. YES a name. Really get to know this person they will be your guide to find more people like them by listening on social media.
  • You may need more than one persona based on your business goals. Start with one, get the process down and then it will be easier to replicate. This is research.

Gather all of this information in one place so it will be easy to transfer to a social media management tool.

Include Your Team

This is so much more than social media… it is a communication foundation that allows you to engage regularly with your network. I have had clients tell me that they feel like they have a periscope to zero in on exactly what and who they need to know.

When done well social media takes time and thought, it likely requires more than one person for several reasons. ponce built, it that will allow you to engage regularly with your network… Bring your team into the process, when done well, social media takes time and thought. Your team can help with so much more than the actual work.  will need help and the perspectives Social

  1. The obvious, there are tasks to do – some can be successfully delegated and others carry the voice of the business. As with anything else, there are roles and responsibilities that only you can do in your business. It is no different on social media.
  2. Your team is working with your network too, they have different relationships and a different perspective. Think about how valuable it can be for your team member to be representing your business in a more public way. This can be in the form of customer service, connecting with individuals you might never meet, watching what other companies in your vertical are doing. These are a few examples, there are many ways to use social media to empower your team to be your biggest advocate and make everyone feel like they are making a valuable contribution in the process.
  3. Social Listening helps you and your team make more informed decisions. before you decide to launch the next big thing… see if your market wants it. Sometimes the ROI of social media is heading off a bad business decision.

Create Your Social Media Toolbox

Social media management tools are mandatory, without using tools to zero in on conversations you will quickly become frustrated. I love HootSuite, but there are many other. When selecting a social media management tool, look for is the ability to listen, track, build custom streams. I am going to focus on how I use HootSuite, but this strategy can be applied using other tools too.

Follow the instructions in HootSuite’s help section for connecting your social media accounts (the free version allows up to 3 accounts). Once that is done follow the instructions for setting up custom streams, they have robust educational tools and webinars.

Image of Hootsuite - Twitter Bio - Donna CravottaCreate a Tab for the person you want to follow and add their custom streams for their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram accounts side by side. Click on their @name to review their profile right from HootSuite – there is a ton of intelligence here. You can see their profile information, their tweets, who mentions them (this is who is talking about them), and what they like.

On the Profile view, look at their Followers, you can click and follow them right from HootSuite. Read their bio – this tells a story and may include keywords and hashtags – learn more about keywords and hashtags. Visit their Twitter profile and website.

Listen to the Streams

Now that you have all of the information in front of you, here is how to listen to the streams.

Look: For hashtags, keywords, other people to follow, events they are attending, what they are reading, listening to, watching, likes and dislikes, etc.

List: Start a list of everything that catches your eye and start tracking these things too. Do not overwhelm yourself, just a few at a time.

Connect: Engage, share other people’s content, tell them why you liked it. Say hi.

Build Relationships: Keep it going, come back and engage on a regular basis.

Tweak: This is all based on conversations, trends, events, it will change. Tweak your intelligence dashboard based on your business goals, your conversations, the people you want to connect with, events you will attend. It can be anything. Think about what your end goal is, your business objectives. Align your social strategy with your business strategy and work backward to get there faster and more effectively.

The Dashboard

Below is a screenshot of one of my dashboards. In this example, I am following @HootSuite on Facebook and Twitter and the hashtag #HootSuite. What I identified from a quick look at this screen is the following:

  • An article I want to read – 15 Resources for Creating Beautiful Social Media Images.
  • Learn more about Social Quant
  • #ManageFlitter and #socialmedia are hashtags to research

HootSuite Social Media

These are a few examples, think about what you can learn when you customize these dashboards to work for you, to bring you the intelligence you need to know to grow your business…

Build Your Own Virtual Networking Event

Remember do not sell. Use these tools and strategies to build relationships. Imagine that you are walking into a business event with 1000 attendees, you would not expect to connect with every person in the room. You would not put your business card in every hand. Instead, you might see who is in the room, make a note of who you would really like to connect with, and then either look for a common connection or simply say hello and see where it goes. Social media is exactly the same, but you can meet people from all over the world in a few minutes.

How will you apply these strategies? Please post below I want to know.


Donna Cravotta