Let’s say you own a small business: an organic beauty startup. You know you need to invest in marketing strategy, but you haven’t sought out professional strategic marketing advice yet.

You know that marketing is a critical component of success that may make or break your business.

Like any person with a medical issue they don’t yet understand, you start Googling. Let’s be honest: you’re probably Googling late at night, kept awake with anxiety about your business and whether the marketing methods you’re using are actually working. As you search, you find almost as many social media marketing advice listicles as you would WebMD results.

Similar to the WebMD experience, there are myriad proposed causes and solutions for your problem:

  • Snapchat: The Secret Key To Small Business Success!
  • 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Instagram Stories, Like, Yesterday
  • Why Your Company Should Blog At Least 3x Per Week
  • Youtube Marketing 101: Why Videos Are Crucial To Your Campaigns
  • Small Business? Not On Vine? What Are You Even Doing With Your Life?

Somewhere around 3 am, complete and utter marketing overwhelm ensues.

Here, An Old Adage Is Useful: Quality Over Quantity

If you’re frantically signing up for Vine in the middle of the night, praying it’s going to be the magic marketing bullet for your business, we respectfully invite you to back away from the computer. Marketing strategy that spreads you thin and requires you to work at all hours of the day just isn’t sustainable.

It can be difficult for business owners who already have a lot on their plates to approach marketing strategically. Too often, people take on too much and burn out. Their marketing campaigns fall flat because the quality of each campaign is diminished.

The good news: there is no reason for your business to join every single social media platform.

Your business will see better conversions if you dedicate your marketing efforts to a few select social media platforms that make sense for your specific needs. Determine how many social media platforms you’re able to realistically manage (ahem, no midnight Instagram planning).

Here’s an example of simple social media pairings for your new imaginary business:

You are running your organic beauty start-up. After some initial research, you know Pinterest and Instagram will both be great traffic drivers, because they’re visual and the majority of their audiences are Millennial women, your target market. You already have a Facebook page. Your website is all set up, so you create a blog to post beautiful “beauty from within” recipes and self-care advice.

To start, you’ll blog once per week and split that content into two or three social media posts. You plan to link to that solid, useful content on your social media platforms: Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Good plan! Linking to great content will drive traffic back to your website.

To balance your content, you’ll also intersperse product photos and some content that introduces your team or reflects the personality of your brand.

Now that you have a loose plan, set up an editorial calendar. Remember, start with a dose of realism: what can you actually manage? You plan to pre-write a few blogs to get the ball rolling, and schedule those to go out on Monday mornings. Every week. Like clockwork.

You decide your business will start posting on Instagram and Facebook three times per week to start. For simplicity’s sake, set aside time to do your photo and caption planning all at once ahead of time We recommend using a tool like Buffer to make life easier. That way, it’s easy to post at the right times throughout the week. You decide to use Buffer for Pinterest too, and plan three posts per week ahead of time.

You also set a goal to post three to five Instagram stories per week because you’re already on that platform. To keep it simple, just do this whenever you have a minute. Instagram is all about what’s happening in the present moment- so when you have a moment, snap a picture for your followers. No big deal.

The plan: 1 blog per week, 3 Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest posts per week, and a few Instagram stories per week.

You can breathe, stop Googling social media platforms you’ve never heard of and get going with your simple, sustainable social media marketing plan.

For Sustainable Marketing Strategy, Start Simple And Scale Your Efforts

Determine your marketing budget, start small and execute your social media campaigns with attention to detail and quality. Marketing campaigns that flop or trail off with no solid strategy at best won’t grow your audience or boost conversions, and at worst might end up making your business look flaky or unprofessional.

After six months, look back on the results of your campaigns and then find ways to scale your marketing efforts sustainably.

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