Why are so many businesses investing their time and money into social marketing? Social marketing allows businesses to connect directly to their primary audience demographics on unprecedented levels of scale. Through social media marketing, companies are able to interact with potential prospects one-on-one, while also establishing their brand awareness and their brand identity.
But for many companies, getting started with social media can seem overwhelming. Not only are there a half dozen platforms that are commonly used, but each of them operate differently. Here’s what you need to know about social media marketing for small businesses.
The Value of Social Media for Small Business
Through social media, small businesses are able to leverage a comparatively small investment for substantial results. Social media has a measurable impact on the success of a business, yet it’s accessible and scalable. Businesses don’t need to sink a lot of time and money into their social media for it to have an effect, and social media has a compounding effect: it grows in scale exponentially, rather than linearly.
Small businesses are able to achieve better relationships with their customers through social media, engaging them on a personal level, and connecting with them regarding events and promotions. By properly utilizing social media, a small business can stretch its advertising budget and expand its reach.
Setting Social Media Goals for Your Small Business
You can’t begin without a direction. Your social media accounts should have specific goals, or you won’t know whether you’re moving in the right direction. Brand awareness, sales revenue, and traffic may all be viable social media goals. You may simply want to build your following and brand awareness, or you may actually want concrete sales.
Your goals will inform the type of campaign that you run.
Proving Social’s Value with Analytics
Often, small businesses aren’t able to quantify the value of their social media accounts, so their social media falls by the wayside. If you can’t determine how much money your social media is bringing in, it’s hard to justify the time that you spend on it. But there are ways that you can prove your social media’s value: and it’s usually through analytic data.
With analytic data, you can see whether individuals are clicking on your links and making purchases. You can see how many people are following you, where the people following you are, and whether they’re part of your primary demographics. All of this analytic information can usually be accessed through your social media platforms, as well as third-party solutions specifically meant for gathering data.
11 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
Social media is a marketing discipline unto itself, and many small business owners find themselves having to become marketers virtually overnight. Here are a few tips for those new to social media:
- Interact with your audience through comments and direct messages. The more frequently an individual interacts with a brand, the more likely they are to commit to a purchase.
- Look through your social media for brand mentions and opportunities. Brand mentions are an opportunity to connect with people enjoying your products and services.
- Add a lot of different types of media, including video and infographics. Visual media experiences far greater levels of interaction and engagement, as it’s more eye-catching.
- Identify your core demographics early on, and augment them with buyer personas. You should know exactly who you’re speaking to when you’re creating the content on your social media.
- Create a calendar to manage your social media posting. It’s not always important what you post, but when. Consistent posting is more likely to get you an audience.
- Create live videos. Live videos make people feel as though they’ve attended a special event, and give you the chance to address your following directly.
- Make sure your social media is scrubbed clean. It’s easy to forget instances on social media that could be damaging to your reputation, such as things uploaded a long time ago.
- Use both paid and organic advertising. Paid advertising provides a fast boost, depending on your budget, while organic advertising will grow up permanent momentum over time.
- Pay attention to the times of highest engagement, both during the week and during the day. There are “right” times to post things, which vary depending on your business.
- Make sure your whole team is involved. Your employees should also connect through social media and maintain their own social media accounts.
- Remember to use the right hashtags. On many platforms, hash tags are the primary mechanism by which people find new content and new accounts to follow.
If you’re able to follow the above tips, you should be well on your way to improving your social media engagement.
Social Media Tools for Small Businesses
There are a number of tools that can help you manage your social media. These include:
- On platform tools. Some social media platforms have their own tools you can use, such as the analytics services provided by Twitter, or the ability to boost posts on Facebook.
- Scheduling tools. These tools are designed to help you schedule and manage your content, by letting you schedule posts in advance on a regular basis. This improves your consistency.
- Brand mention tools. These tools alert you whenever your brand is mentioned, so you can follow up with brand mentions and hopefully interact with and engage with interested parties.
- Analysis tools. These tools can combine multiple social media platforms to analyze your demographics, letting you know which of your platforms are most effectively.
Many marketers have a “stack”: a set of tools that they regularly use to augment their social media campaigns.
Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses
Most small business owners aren’t going to be able to jump out of the gate with an expert social media campaign. But by taking it step by step, anyone can start getting the right results from social media.
To get started, small business owners should begin with their core demographics, and start posting content, images, and videos that are meant to appeal to these demographics. By posting deals and promotions from the company, along with valuable content, the company will eventually begin to build a following that is interested in the content , products, and services they have to provide.
Above all, analytics will play in heavily to a successful social marketing campaign, as it is the analytics that truly tell tee campaign which direction to move in. Yet once social media has gained momentum, it can often almost run itself.