Small business owners face a tough challenge when it comes to marketing. They must use their small budgets and go toe to toe with commercial giants in their industry. Fortunately, the rise of social media has allowed small businesses to compete with bigger companies in their industry or niche.
To attract customers, business owners must create highly effective social media campaigns. Below are five crucial tips to help small businesses get the most from their social media marketing efforts
Tip #1: Always Have a Plan
Social media can suck an incredible amount of time, effort, and resources from a marketing budget regardless of how effective it is. Pay per click marketing, content creation, and promotion take time and have a high cost regardless of their impact. That’s why the first thing every business owner must do is create a strategy to maximize marketing efforts.
For example, social media strategy should include things like content calendar schedule, what tools to use, and ensuring that your social media has a consistent voice across all your social media channels.
You also need to define a more comprehensive strategy defining overall goals and ways to achieve them. What do you expect to get out of your social media efforts? Do you want to maximize your company’s exposure? Build brand loyalty? Provide customer service? What are your objectives? Whatever your particular goals may be, these should be clearly defined before you put your plan into action.
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Tip #2: Do Your Research
Even the best social media strategy can fail if you don’t know who it is that you’re trying to connect and engage with. “Social media marketing” is a massive field that spans many platforms with a myriad of different uses and users.
For example, baby boomers may use social media to reconnect with old friends and see grandchildren. Gen Zers might try to keep up with the latest trends on Instagram or follow influencers they like on TikTok. A Millennial could use LinkedIn to network with professional peers. All of these are legitimate social media activities.
It’s important to research and understand what your audience is interested in. Once you know what they like and where they hang out, look for ways to tap into an online community. You don’t waste time and effort engaging with an audience that will not need or want your products or services.
Tip #3: Choose Your Platform Wisely
While understanding the interests of your audience is an essential part of a good social media strategy, it’s equally important to understand where your audience congregates online. Different social media platforms attract different demographics. For example, research has shown that 67% of people aged 18-29 use Instagram compared to just 8% of those over 65. In addition, TikTok is an up and coming social platform attractive to Gen Zers, and only 10% of rural dwellers use LinkedIn. You can then use this information to target your audience better.
In addition, some platforms work better for different businesses. For instance, if you sell clothing, use an image-friendly social media site like Pinterest or Instagram. However, if you’re a local news station, you should focus on Facebook or Twitter, where community and text-driven conversations take precedence.
Regardless of the scenario, the lesson here is to avoid investing in a platform unless you know that potential customers congregate within it. Be mindful of your social media ambitions so that you don’t overstretch yourself across too many social media outlets. Find the best two or three networks that give you the best results and focus your efforts there.
Tip #4: Engage!
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make on social media is not interacting with your followers. Once you have your social profiles up and running, it’s important to set up a consistent posting strategy. Make sure to be social and encourage engagement. Think quality over quantity. Hundreds of users who are not engaged worth much less than a few that constantly read and share your posts.
Keep in mind, each platform requires different frequencies for posting. Pinterest recommends daily activity while Facebook may require more frequent engagement. Each social media network is different, but once you discover what gets you the best results, it’s important to remain consistent to encourage your followers to engage with you as often as possible.
When it comes to your company engaging with your followers, it’s also absolutely critical that you create a company social media code of conduct. This will ensure that all of your outward-looking social interactions — regardless of the employee providing the information — are consistent in their tone, voice, style, and ethical standards.
Tip #5: Always be Tracking
Finally, always take the time to set up those analytics. Quality data is invaluable in the modern business world, and there are many quantifiable metrics that you can use on social media.
You can see insights regarding brand awareness, customer satisfaction, site traffic, engagement, feedback, and a variety of other data points. Use this to weed out any activity that isn’t yielding results and to guide your future social media strategy towards success.
Finding Small Business Success on Social Media
Whether you’re creating an initial strategy, upping your engagement, or tracking analytics, it’s important to properly learn how to manage small business social media. If you can go into the process with your eyes open, you’ll be able to compete with the largest companies and ultimately reap the greatest benefits from your online marketing efforts.