What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is using social media platforms to promote your products or services. Social media marketing also helps to promote your brand, build your audience, generate leads, and increase sales and website traffic. Social media platforms include Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat.
People tend to assume that social media marketing is easy and that it only consists of creating content for platforms to reach your consumers. However, social media marketing is much more involved than that. In order to have a successful social media presence you should actively and consistently engage with your consumers.
Why is Social Media Marketing Important for Small Businesses?
Social media is extremely important because it helps to build your brand awareness, increase your customer base, and connect with current customers. The 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed that 90% of marketers say social media is important to their business. Marketing through social media can be easily done by small business owners as long as they continue to actively post on social media. In order to effectively use social media, business owners should set a schedule to regularly engage with their followers.
Sometimes small businesses don’t utilize social media because they don’t think they are going to have a strong following, but followers are not the most important thing. The most important thing is customer engagement. Customer engagement is all about interactions between your customer and your brand. A study done by Hall and Partners, shows that up to 2/3 of a brand’s profits may rely on effective customer engagement. With so much of your profits relying on customer engagement it is time for small business owners to jump into social media marketing.
Here are eight social media tips for small businesses:
Identify Your Goals – Before jumping into social media marketing, it is important that you determine what you are hoping to achieve with it. You might just want to give your business a social media presence or you might want to do something more specific like increasing your website traffic. Defining these goals and your strategy ahead of time will help to make things easier moving forward.
Check Out Your Competition – One of the most valuable resources to a small business is their competition. You can use them to brainstorm strategies for your own company. By seeing what types of content, they post and what social media platforms they use you will be able to get an idea of what will work for your business.
Create ‘Business’ Social Media Accounts – Your business might already have some social media accounts, but you want to make sure that your accounts are business accounts. Business accounts have more features than personal accounts that allow consumers to more effectively interact with your business. Some of these features include built-in analytics and paid advertising/promotional tools. These are great features to help build your brand awareness.
Know Your Audience – Through research you can discover information on your audience and how they interact with your business and social media platforms. Google Analytics also serves as a good tool to learn more about your audience. Good information to know is the demographics of your customers and their likes and interests. For example, you might discover that most of your audience uses Facebook and Instagram, but not LinkedIn or Twitter. It is good to know who your audience is because that can help determine the best way to interact with them. It is equally important to know who your audience is not. You don’t want to post something that your audience does not get or understand. A great example is posting a picture of an old dial-up email with a caption saying, “You’ve got mail”. If most of your audience are millennials, they are not going to get the reference even if you were just posting it to be funny.
Create Compelling Content – Small businesses should create content that helps them engage with their audience. Social media content includes user generated content (UGC), podcasts, livestreams, infographics, videos, webinars, client testimonials, eBooks, guides, GIFs, memes, pictures and much more. Creating amazing content is a great way to get your audience’s attention, but it is not easy. You should take your time crafting your posts and share it across all your social media networks. There are tools such as Canva and PromoRepublic which help making content easier.
Create a Social Media Calendar – It is so important to use a social media calendar to stay organized. A social media should combine all the different types of content you are going to post into an organized schedule. A social media calendar will allow you to see what posts are going to be published on what platforms on any specific date and time. It can even help you schedule content up to a month in advance. Hootsuite is a popular social media management tool. You can link all of your social media accounts to your Hootsuite account and will be able to schedule posts to any of your platforms from your Hootsuite account. Having all social media platforms linked to one account will help you stay organized, save time and be prepared for what is coming.
Engage with Your Customers – It is great to have social media platforms for your business, but you should remember to post regularly in order to engage with your customers. Engaging with your customers can help to establish a strong relationship between your business and your customers. It will also help to establish trust, show that you’re active and respond on social media, and it is a great source of additional data and feedback. Social media can also be great for customer support.
Monitor Your Performance – The last thing a small business should do is continue to monitor their performance. By monitoring the success of your posts across your social media platforms, you will begin to see what content your audience responds to and what content they don’t like. Luckily, social media platforms have many tracking features, so it’s not hard to discover this information. Based your analytics, you can continue to reshape your social media strategy to meet the needs of your business and consumers.
Social media marketing is an important part of any marketing strategy. You cannot become an expert in social media overnight, but spending time with it regularly will help your business and your