Stop chasing trends


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What’s hot on social media today is the old news tomorrow. I remember this truth at the table with my two teenage daughters. The conversation usually boils down to something like, “Hey girls, did you see that funny video that went viral? To which my daughters respond, “Daddy, that was two weeks ago.” “

I don’t pretend to be up to date with the latest trends, and if you own a small business you need to stop focusing on social media trends and instead plan a social media strategy. Too many entrepreneurs try to be cute with their messages and have fun. Newsflash: it doesn’t help you close more business.

If this describes you, think back to some of the TikTok hashtags or videos you’ve created and ask yourself, “Have my sales increased because of this trending post?” I’m willing to bet the answer is no. Not a single person has become your customer because your business weighed in on the color of a dress or released a Bernie Sanders mitten meme.

The only time it makes sense to use a popular trending topic is when that topic fits your brand. If you own a clothing store, it makes sense to talk about the color of the dress.

What is your brand?

What are you trying to communicate online? What does your marketing calendar look like for next year? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.

Always start by understanding your brand. Social media should be an extension of who you are as a business. Before you start serving content, know the answer to this question. Your brand can be defined as the product you offer or your excellent customer service. It is not enough to say what your brand is; you have to eat, sleep and breathe your mark.

I remember the funny scene from the movie Elf when Will Ferrell’s character is excited about the sign in the window of the local restaurant that reads “World’s Best Coffee”. Know your brand and push your brand on social media.

However, what you communicate online must have a purpose. Let me warn you not to use your social media for promotional purposes only. You must follow the 90-10 rule when it comes to social media. This means that 90% of your content should be of value to your current and potential subscribers and only 10% promotional content. This is where a lot of small businesses fail on social media. Too much self-promotion and not enough value.

Related: Define Your Brand Identity in 3 Steps

What is of value to your followers?

First of all, ask yourself who is the target demographic of your business. How can you relate what interests your target demographic with the products you sell without it being seen as a promotion?

Let’s say you own a bait and gear store. You sell supplies for people who like to go fishing. In this case, most of your online content should be centered around articles and videos that give your prospects tips on catching their next big fish. When you start to build subscribers who are interested in the content, you then use the 10% to promote your products.

Related: 10 Laws Of Social Media Marketing

Plan your marketing calendar

When you look at next year, what do you want to promote throughout the year? Create a strategy that complements your overall marketing plan. Look at the sales of the previous year. What products were popular during the winter months compared to the summer months? Or which products do you want to promote more in certain seasons to generate more sales?

These are all ideas that big companies follow every year. Learn from big companies with huge budgets. This promotional offer that you took advantage of in August as a consumer, chances are it was well thought out and planned the year before. The social media team was part of this marketing strategy.

New to social media and looking for more inspiration? Try creating a national holiday calendar and see if you can create content or promote certain products or services around the dates on the calendar. Try to ask yourself what your prospects think throughout the year and how you can connect with them on social media.

Ultimately, it’s time to stop being reactive with your social media and get proactive in the New Year.

Related: 8 Easy Ways To Make Social Media Work For Your Business

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