social media strategy

Planning your social content: a step-by-step guide

The best way to effectively use social media for your small business is to have a plan. Since that is definitely easier to say than do, I thought today I would break down step-by-step how to come up with a simple plan.

1) Know what you're trying to achieve.

I've written about this topic quite a bit in the past, so check out some of those posts, but the simple explanation is to figure out why you're using social media - we all have different reasons beyond "make more money," which is key for most of us. 

2) Know who you're talking to.

Different audiences are on different channels and different audiences like different kinds of content. You need to know who you're talking to so they feel like what you're saying is for them. If you're too vague or general nobody will feel like you're talking to them, which defeats the purpose of what you're doing.

3) What do you want them to know.

This is SO important. This drives all of your content. What do you want people to know about you and what do you want people to know about what you do. 

4) Pick your channels

It doesn't make sense for you to be on every social channel. You don't have the time or resources for that. Start with a couple and once those are completely under control you can grow from there. 

My top three social media choices (without knowing your audience so this is flexible!) are for you to have an email newsletter, a blog and Facebook.

If however, your audience is very business-to-business, I might prioritize LinkedIn over Facebook.

If your audience is under 25, I might prioritize Instagram over Facebook.

If writing and time is hard for you, I would leave the blog until after you have Facebook and a newsletter set up.

5) Know your numbers

Knowing your numbers is so important in all aspects of business. You need to know where you're at now so you can tell if you're growing.

Set up a spreadsheet or table that lists:

- Facebook likes
- "Talking about" numbers on Facebook
- Twitter followers
- Instagram followers
and so on and so forth

Make sure that Google Analytics or some other analytics tool is set up on your website and track:

- Visits
- Unique visits
- Page views
- Referral sources

You are then going to want to track these numbers monthly to see if what you're doing is working. We want to make sure that the effort you're putting in is worth it to you - you're a busy person!

6) Start sharing your knowledge

Take 10-15 minutes and write down as many tips as you can about something.

Are you a realtor? What are great ways to get your house ready for sale?

Are you a hairdresser? How should your clients be taking care of their hair between cuts and colours?

Are you a nutritionist? What are some great ways to make healthy food on the fly?

The goal is to have a list of one or two sentence tips that you'll be able to use later on and to realize just how much content you can write in a short period of time when you have a specific topic to write about.

Do the same for a few other topics and you'll have a lot of content ready to go!

7) Don't think you need to create it all

You want to share content that's of value to your audience. There is a LOT of content that already exists that your audience will really appreciate having access to. If it backs up your key messages, the things you really want people to know, use THAT content instead of having to write your own.

Whenever you're browsing the internet or Facebook and you see an interesting article, a funny joke or a video that you really like, think about whether or not it would add value to your audience while still staying in line with your key messages. If it does, save it and you'll be able to use that content later!

8) Evaluate

You have your baseline numbers, make sure to check and see what's working, what isn't, and how you can shift and change to improve.

A plan doesn't need to be extensive to get you going on the right path. If you want more help figuring all of this out for Facebook and Twitter, we have a program called Simple Start. It's on sale right now for $39 (regular $99) while I work to update it from the old Wellman Wilson branding. The price will go up once it's been revamped so now's the time to invest!

What are you trying to achieve by using social media?

I've been conducting a lot of one on one sessions lately and before we can come up with a strategy for any specific social media efforts it's really important to be clear on three things:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Who are you talking to?
  • What do you want them to know?

Over the next little while I'm going to write a post for each of those questions to hep you figure out how to answer them. Once you have those three things clear it will be a lot easier for you to figure out what you should be saying online.

What are your goals?

Spend some time thinking about your business goals in general but more specifically about what you're hoping to achieve by being online. It's probably (though not necessarily) a given that one of your goals is to make more money. But your goals may also include things like:

  • Being known as an expert at something
  • Being seen as a resource on a certain topic
  • Expanding your audience geographically or demographically
  • Getting more engagement online and building community
  • Increasing sales in a certain part of your business
  • Getting other people to talk about you to their communities

Because it always helps to see specific examples I'll share some of mine and create some fictional examples:

  • Be seen as an expert in explaining social media for small business
  • Be seen as an expert in nutrition and wellness
  • Expand audience beyond the Ottawa-area
  • Expand audience to new moms 
  • Increase sales in one-on-one coaching and speaking
  • Create content that is linked to by other bloggers and media outlets
  • Be more findable in search

You can be even more precise and create goals that are channel-specific:

  • Increase Facebook likes by 300 people
  • Establish a presence on YouTube and get 1000 video views
  • Get retweeted and tagged by industry experts on Twitter

Really understand what you're trying to achieve

The more you work to figure out these goals and why you're setting them, the more likely you are to be able to work them into your plan efficiently. Take a few minutes and write down an explanation of what you mean by each one and why they're important to you.

For example:

I really enjoy helping small business owners figure out how to use social media for their business. I get charged and excited when having one-on-one coaching calls with business owners and hearing them figure out what they could be doing. Their lightbulb moments make my day. I want to do more of that so I need to make it clear that this is something that I do, like to do and am good at.

You may feel that it's time to expand beyond your local market. You like to spend time in Toronto and Boston and want to start by growing your audience in those specific cities next. To do that, you need to start to grow an audience in those cities so there is already a start of a customer base in those cities when you arrive to hold an event or launch a product.

Time to do the work

I challenge you to spend 10 minutes right now coming up with 3 or 4 goals for your use of social media over the next 6 months. Really think about what you like to do, what you want to be doing and why you want to be doing it. Then leave a comment and share some with us here!

Why you need to set social media goals

Social media is an important tool for business owners.  Unfortunately what often happens is that business owners are convinced of the need to use the tools, they set them up, and then they scramble to come up with content.

While social media can make an incredible difference to your business, jumping in without any thought or a plan can lead to some discouraging results. 

Why you need goals

Setting goals for your social media efforts not only allows you to take a look back and see if you were successful, they help with the creation of your content. 

For example, knowing that you are hoping to increase sales of a specific product means that you can create content that highlights the knowledge within the product, or link to articles that highlight the importance of knowing more about the topic of your product.  Then, in six months, you can look to see if there actually was an increase in sales of the product over that time period.

What should your goals be?

Your goals for using social media can vary a lot.  Pick a variety that help you achieve your overall business goals for the year.  Some examples include:


Financial goals can include increasing the amount of clients you work with, selling more overall, increasing the revenue from specific portions of your business.


Reputation goals can include becoming a thought-leader in a specific field, or being known as a great speaker, workshop leader or coach.


Community goals can include increasing the numbers of followers you have for each channel, increasing the amount of engagement on certain channels, or increasing the amount that your community shares your content to their networks.

You could create a never-ending list of goals, but take the time to choose 3-4 that align with your business priorities and let them guide the direction you take when using social media to promote your business online.  

Leave us a comment or send us an email sharing what some of your social media goals are for the next 6 months!

One-Day Social Media Workshop {October 16, 2012}

It’s time to ramp back up now that fall is (nearly) officially here. Wellman Wilson is bringing back its one-day Social Media Workshop on October 16 to help small business owners delve deeper into their social media presence: Twitter, Facebook, and having a strategic plan!

What’s on the Agenda?

In the morning, we’ll focus on learning the two biggest social networks - Facebook and Twitter. Whether you’re a beginner trying to figure out this social media thing or experienced and wanting to jump to the next level.

Intro to Twitter
Learn about the basics of Twitter, including: what it is, the unique language of Twitter, where and how to find people to follow, the art of following strategically and the most pertinent question of all: what to tweet about.


Twitter - what comes next?
Ready for more advanced use of Twitter? You’re tweeting but taking the next steps seem overwhelming. Streamline and organize your use of Twitter by learning about the use of tools like HootSuite and Tweetdeck, how to schedule tweets, how to use lists, and how to host and take advantage of Twitter chats.

Facebook 101
With over 800 million active accounts, Facebook is an ideal location to connect with your audience in a space they are already regularly visiting. In this session we will go over how to set up a business page, what kind of content works best, the importance of engagement, and how to get more people to like your page.


Facebook 201
Take advantage of the power of Facebook to create a more robust marketing campaign for your business, products or services. We’ll talk about the options available to you, including page customization, plugins, extra tabs, applications and creative uses of the platform to increase brand awareness on Facebook. We’ll also touch on EdgeRank and the impact it has on Facebook Pages.

Social Media Strategy
After lunch, we’re going to devote the afternoon to discussion and strategizing. The key to really successful use of social media is to have a plan! Most social media tools are free, but time is not, so you want to use it wisely to achieve the greatest benefit. That’s where the plan comes in. Together we will go through a general template to use to put together your strategy and then we will break into smaller groups, giving you time to brainstorm and to work on your plan.

A few more details

When: October 16, 9am - 4pm

Where: Ottawa Public Library: Elmvale Branch (1910 St Laurent)

Cost: $149 + taxes and administrative fees

If you’d like to sign up for this, visit our Eventbrite page. We look forward to seeing you there and helping you get great results from your social media efforts!

5 Steps for Businesses to Increase Traffic Using Pinterest

We're very pleased to have Gwen Leron guest posting today with advice for you on using Pinterest for your business. 


Pinterest is the newest, the hottest and the most addictive social network on the block, but once you’ve created an account for your business, how can you convert your newest guilty pleasure into more traffic for your website?

  1. Set Your Profile Up Properly - Go into the settings for your account (click on your username in the top right hand corner and choose Settings from the drop down). Make sure to upload your logo, write a small bio and enter your website URL, Facebook and Twitter info so they become part of your Pinterest profile. Also, make sure the “Hide your Pinterest profile from search engines” option is set to “off”. The more ways you have for followers to get to you, the better.
  2. Make Your Pins As Much About Your Followers As It Is About Your Business - You know your customers best and you know what their interests most likely are... chances are that you have the same interests too. Take the time to create boards that will cater to your customers’ interests and what you think they would like to see. While it is important to stay on topic, it is OK to bend a little bit and show some of the personality behind the business. Enjoy your pinning time, Pinterest is supposed to be fun!
  3. Don’t Go Crazy With Pinning Your Own Content - No one wants to log into Pinterest to see pins upon pins from the same business promoting themselves....if they wanted to see everything you offered in one spot, they would go to your website, right? Balance is key. Pin a wide variety of interesting things, with a bit of your products sprinkled in. This is also a good way cater to a wider audience outside of your customer base and to gain new followers.
  4. Pin Properly - There are so many amazing pins that sadly link back to nothing. This will be frustrating for your followers, especially if it is done over and over again. Be sure that when you pin something, that you are linking back to the actual source from which it came. Before re-pinning something, be sure that you click on it first to see if it takes you to where it is supposed to. Also, when re-pinning, be sure that you make sure the description is accurate, brief, and to the point.
  5. Promote Your Pinterest Boards/Pins Through Other Channels - Get the word out that you are on Pinterest! Share pins on your Facebook page, on Twitter, on your blog, and in your newsletter. This will help you gain followers and hopefully help to drive more eyeballs to your website.

Are you using Pinterest for your business? What other advice would you give those who want to? (Be sure to share your Pinterest Profile in the comments!)


Gwen Leron is a writer, a web content manager and owner of Nayla Natural Care, an online store that specializes in carrying the best organic, natural and eco-friendly products. Keep up with what she is pinning by following Nayla Natural Care on Pinterest.