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Growing Your Brand

Strategic Social Media Marketing

Jef Scot, Small Business Solutions

August 31, 2018

As a small business social media marketing is very appealing. The idea of reaching thousands or millions of potential customers is exciting. However, what is most appealing is that our marketing efforts will cost little if any money. Truth of the matter,  connecting with potential consumers via social media marketing takes work and resources.

I didn’t know or understand many of the factors that are required for success on social media until I took a course titled Strategic Social Media Marketing from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.  The course was made available locally through a partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library. (The course is available worldwide via We have an awesome library system that provided access to the course free of charge. We met weekly over a 5-6 week period this Spring .
Social Media Marketing is more than just posting content. It must be strategic and measurable.
Let’s begin by defining strategic social media marketing: The use of social media platforms i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., to achieve business objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based. (SMART) This takes place via a two-way conversation between consumers and the brand.  Two-way conversations not only build relationships that connect with the individual consumers but the consumer’s network or sphere of influence. You will find that customers who are advocates for your brand will be your greatest asset. You want to exchange information and experiences (positive or negative) that your customers or potential customers are having with your brand. Bi-directional relationships indicates a strong connection between a brand and consumers.
“Let’s begin by defining strategic social media marketing: The use of social media platforms i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., to achieve the business objectives…”
As a small business, your network maybe small initially. One way to increase the size of your network is to partner with influencers. Think about your product and what person in your niche has a network that aligns with your product. Focus on the influencer and the strength of their relationship with their audience and not the size of the network. In fact, micro influencers or those with small loyal audiences are where one should start.  Of course, as a small business price is paramount. A good baseline is $10 per thousand followers per day. Example if your influencer has 5000 followers you should pay around $50 per day and negotiate the frequency of the posts and any other pertinent details.
My Strategic Social Media Marketing Cohort Spring 2018

The class was made available via a partnership between Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Boston University’s Questrom School of Business

<a href=""><img width="415" height="409" src="" class="attachment-large size-large" alt="Social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are especially popular among those ages 18 to 24" /></a>

Designing Content


You must design content that is relevant to your audience’s interest, problems, pain points and day to day life. Content must be visually enticing. Consumers are emotional. Research shows that joy and surprise are two emotions that increase consumer response. Tell a story. We are hardwired to respond to stories. How can you tell a story with your product? Who is the protagonist and what problem is solved? Create curiosity with your story and watch consumers respond.

Selecting a Platform


All platforms are not the same. Facebook users tend to be older than Instagram users. Twitter is better for frequent posting. The Pinterest audience tends to skew female and is primarily a visual platform. When selecting a platform the following question must be answered.

  1. Who is your target network or market?
  2. Does the message require the ability to be accessed from many locations? ( Computer, tablet or smartphone.)
  3. How rich is the content? (Video, Image, Text)
  4. How do you want the message to look?
  5. What kind of interactions with consumers are you targeting?


Marketing Objectives


Marketing objectives for small businesses should focus on lead generation and sales in my opinion. Brand awareness is very important however it is unlikely that customers are likely to remember your business from seeing a post once or twice. Companies like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola can run brand awareness campaigns because they have an established business and don’t have the pressure to generate income right away when money is spent. A new business builds brand awareness through sales.


 Analytics…It’s All About The Data


Social media listening is the process of monitoring all of a brands social media channels for mentions of conversation about your brand and your competition. Social Media listening occurs in real time and allows companies to respond quickly to positive and negative news. The 3 levels of data monitoring are:

  1. Observation and Monitoring (What insights are available about customer consumption?)
  2. Data Mining (What are the numbers? Many platforms have dashboards which allow you track numbers.)
  3. Predictions ( Making decisions based on the data.)

To read more about social media listing tools read this article.


Open Innovation


Open innovation is where you allow your customers to co-create content with your brand. For example, you ask your customers to post a picture of them using your product to their social media and tagging your brand account. Real people using your product adds credibility. Authenticity sells.  You will also reach a bigger audience. Make sure you asked that they use a hashtag that you specify! #HASHTAGS Matter.

Calculating Return On Investment (ROI)


Measuring the return on your social media investment can be difficult. How do you translate brand awareness, likes, and shares into a usable metric that allows you to define a value? On the other hand, measuring revenue is pretty straightforward.

  1. Profit /Investment x 100% = ROI Percentage (Investment can be hours, paid influencers, etc.)

Ex. 1000/500= 2 x 100% = 200% ROI  on social media marketing investment.

This equation is a good starting point for measuring social media marketing. However, to be accurate we need to include the cost of goods sold (COGS). Let’s say we are selling sweatshirts that cost $10 to produce and sell for $20. We sell 100 sweatshirts promoting on social media.  We pay a social media influencer $150 and estimate another $50 to account for our time.

  1. Revenue $2000 – (1000 COGS + $200 (Marketing) = 800 Profit/200 (Marketing Investment) x 100% = 40%  ROI on your social media marketing investment.

It is important to keep in mind revenue is not the only metric to measure social media marketing success. Changes in consumer behavior, brand awareness, building e-mail lists are just a few metrics that can be used. Read the book Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization by Oliver Blanchard. You can find the book on Amazon using this link

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