Natural Foods Merchandiser
3 hallmarks of an intentional social media strategy

3 hallmarks of an intentional social media strategy

Socially Conscious column in January/February Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine.

Why are you using social media for your business? It's a strange question to ask, when you've probably been told that your business doesn't "exist" unless it has a Facebook Page. Or that if you're not on Instagram, you're missing out on millennials' purchasing power. Perhaps even that if you don't pin to Pinterest, you'll never grow your ecommerce sales.

Every social network has its own unique benefit for business. But using social media means nothing if you're unclear about why you're on it in the first place. To start the new year off right when it comes to an intentional social media strategy, it's time to rethink why you're doing what you're doing. An unexamined strategy can lead to getting nowhere fast and posting content into the Internet ether without gaining traction.

Let's reboot your strategy by answering the following three questions.

What are your top business goals?

The answer to this question will drastically shift your social media strategy. After all, social is a means to achieve your business' top goals for the year. So, is your goal to build awareness of your store? Is it to drive sales or perhaps to retain loyal customers? Your social media strategy can graze each, but laser-pointed focus on one goal will lead to success quicker. Start with one of these three—awareness, sales, loyalty—and stick to it for at least three months before moving to the next. This focus will shift everything: from the content you post to the type of messaging you use.

Do you consistently convey passion for your business?

Passion is what put you in business. Conveniently, it also drives social media posts to virality, and passion is what will drive customers into your store. A customer on the road to wellness needs to know you have his or her best interest in mind. Explain, simply and frequently, why you're passionate about your business so that shoppers find their own needs and desires mirrored in your messaging.

How many of your social accounts are ghost towns?

That social media account you started "just because" and never posted to again? Don't try to gain followers there; focus on the ones that do have followers and that you enjoy using. It's one thing to snag the usernames of your business so ne'er-do-wells can't get their hands on them. It's another to put all the icons of each social media platform on your website, when you post to one only. Be intentional about the platform(s) you choose to use, and then show up consistently.

If you start with these three things: goal-oriented focus, passion and simplicity, you'll be off to a great start on social media this year.

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