Having an online presence for your small business is no longer an option. If you want to keep up in today’s digital world, you must be on social media. But what is social media marketing exactly?
Social media marketing involves posting things that people will want to share with their networks.
This will allow you to expand your reach faster and more cost-effectively than via any other marketing tool. Social media is also a great way to build credibility online by showing that you have a vested, engaged audience — ideally with plenty of positive reviews, too!
Get going with these social media marketing tips
If you own a small business and are wondering where to start, here are your first steps.
- Identify your audience and goals.
- Create your social profiles.
- Share interesting posts, photos and videos.
- Build relationships.
Don’t wait to join the conversation — use these social media marketing tips to get started now!
1. Identify your audience and goals
Before you rush to sign up on all of the hottest social media platforms, you first need to define your goals and understand who is most likely to buy from you.
While goals such as lead generation, awareness and customer interaction are all excellent (and attainable!), you may also wish to:
- Direct people to a specific web page, link or video to make sales
- Launch a public relations (PR) campaign to influence the perception of your company
Put a face on your customer
Once you understand what your desired results are, you’ll want to ensure that you fully understand who your audience is — and where they hang out online. After all, it’s really about them!
Having a firm grip on who (and where!) your audience is and what their questions are will help you create valuable content tailored just for them. Learn how to pinpoint your audience here.
2. Create your social profiles
Now that you understand your target audience, you’ll likely know where to reach them. For example, if your customer is 55+, focusing on Snapchat may not be the wisest use of your time.
Why? According to figures published by Omni Core Agency in 2019, 72% of Facebook users are between the ages 50 and 64. So if this is the group you’re after, you want to be on Facebook.
Consistency is key
When you set up your social profiles, ensure that all have the same kind of messaging and look. That means you’ll want to use the same colours, photo style and logo (if you have one) on all of the networks where you have active accounts.
First impressions are everything. As you expand your reach, you’ll be touching networks of people who may never have come into contact with you or your business before. You want to make that first impression count.
3. Share interesting posts, photos and videos
This is one of THE most important parts of a successful social media strategy. It’s not enough to be on social media; you need to provide value to readers in a way that is original and relevant to your business.
Remember that there are millions of people on social media. You must do your best to stand out amidst the online noise.
If it’s not in your budget to hire a professional content creator and SEO (search engine optimisation) specialist, you can first focus on creating content that answers your client’s top questions. In addition to giving them something valuable — an answer, an infographic — each post should have an element of surprise.
Finding your brand voice is an important part of creating quality content, too. This is the tone or personality you will use in every single business communication. Should your tone of voice be cool and professional or warm and emotional? What makes the most sense for your business?
It can be tempting to use bots and automated content creation tools, but believe me — people can tell when it’s a computer talking! In a world that can sometimes be impersonal and automated, a personal touch will go much farther.
Make it visual
A big part of creating valuable content? Photos, videos and other visual elements. According to Hubspot, mobile video usage has increased by nearly 10 million daily viewing minutes in the last two years!
For example, check out Starbucks’ Instagram content strategy — it features a dynamic rotation of videos and photos that spotlight the customer experience as well as the people who work for them. Starbucks promotes their new products in an engaging, fun way. When they ask questions, they always respond to their community in a timely manner.
While you may not have the budget that Starbucks does, you can certainly carve out a space for yourself by posting and paying attention to the responses.
4. Build relationships
The goal of social media marketing is to build a vested, engaged community of followers. This is called community management, and it involves:
- Responding to inquiries promptly
- Starting conversations
- Providing value to your fans and followers (e.g. coupons, how-to-do-something posts, etc.)
It also includes reaching out to other businesses and social media influencers.
Consider influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is recognized as one of the fastest growing methods for customer acquisition. This is a technique where a business pays an influential blogger who has many followers to promote the business’ product or service.
Using a social influencer can be a less expensive way to build credibility for your business. Some bloggers may even promote you in their posts for an exchange of tags, mentions or free product or services.
Influencers have stronger engagement with their followers and seem less “salesy” then the company promoting their own product or service. They can be a powerful part of your social media marketing.
Experiment with paid advertising
It’s up to you — and your budget — to decide whether to use paid ads to promote your social media content. These ads put your posts, photos and videos in front of more prospective customers, which in turn can increase sales or signups.
Unless you are a public figure or a well-known business, you will likely want to consider using paid ads to reach the right audience. All the major social networks offer them.
In summary: What is social media marketing
It’s not enough to pay for a beautiful logo and brand colours, set up your profiles, post occasionally and hope for the best.
Successful social media marketing relies on consistent posting, even when it may feel like you’re talking to a community of crickets at first!
Be sure to create a content calendar and measure the response to what you post in order to make adjustments along the way. If it’s in your budget, I recommended you use an experienced digital marketer to help you create content and share your brand story in a tactical way. If you hire the right person or agency, it will make you money in the long run.
One last piece of advice? Be sure to be authentic — your audience will sense it. And have fun with the process!