How to Use Social Media for Small Business
As a small business owner, you may have wondered about or even dabbled in the world of social media marketing. Whether business growth, brand awareness or educating the community are the focus of your social media marketing strategy, your social media presence should be thoroughly thought-out. Reaching your target audience means presenting relevant content at the right time to a receptive audience.
Whether you’ve tried social media marketing in the past and can’t seem to find success, or are dipping your toes into social networking for the first time, there are important personal considerations to make. Make sure your strategy is authentic in communicating brand values, and establishes a clear pathway for turning followers into customers and offering current customers informative content.
Social Media and Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Your social media strategy should contribute to the overall success of your broader marketing strategy. Its social goals and customer engagement should fit into the bigger picture of your online presence. This means your social media efforts should exist as part of a greater, uniform picture of your brand and its values.
If you’re working with a marketing team, they’ll explain that social strategies are meant to supplement your brand presence across the web. In the grand scheme of things, social media activity should focus more on building brand awareness than making sales. Social media platforms are where users begin to build familiarity with brands that should ultimately lead to trust. This is where the customer relationship takes roots and is nurtured.
For this reason, social media sites are where your small business should best represent the type of experience it wants its customers to have.
The Benefits of Social Media For Small Businesses
Social media sites help small businesses leverage the intimacy of interacting with their target audience on a more personal level. For example, social media gives current customers opportunities to ask questions about the brand they’re interacting with, the products it uses, and its goals within the greater community. In a sense, it allows current customers to better understand the businesses they interact with.
Social media also offers another chance for visitors to have positive interactions with the business. Whether that’s through taking away useful information or helpful content, or through interacting with other types of engaging content. Social media tools are great for conveying the nuances of brand personality, like a brand’s commitment to leadership or sense of humor.
Business owners can reach potential customers and start building brand awareness through social media, without any pressure to buy. This gives the social network a chance to observe and interact with a brand before committing their hard-earned dollars to the available product or service.
One of your social goals as a small business owner may even be to build your professional network. Social tools are also a great way to increase employee engagement and influence the workplace culture of your small business. Social media tools can be leveraged in a multitude of ways, and are cost efficient investments.
Choosing a Strategy
Your social media strategy should depend on your business goals and the customer that you’re seeking to engage with. Different social media accounts on different social media platforms will reach different types of demographics. They will also require different types of content in order to be relevant and engaging to your audience.
It’s important to launch your social media marketing strategy only after you’ve spent time defining and structuring it. This includes determining what result you’re looking for and how you will time the delivery of content across individual platforms. A good social media management tool, like a content calendar with predetermined and curated content will help you start on track with your goals, tone, and delivery.
Help expand and build upon your online presence with a clear plan and a SMART goal. Use analytics tools to determine whether your social posts are accomplishing what you want them to.
Linking Brand Values and Target Audiences
None of the effort behind your carefully created, quality content will matter if it never reaches its target audience. Different social media channels cater to different types of social media users. This includes differences in age, economic status, backgrounds, education levels and political affiliations. Chances are, these nuances of identity within online user profiles are relevant to your business goals and finding target audience.
Although it’s possible to create a business profile on every social platform available to you, chances are it might be more work than the conversions are worth. Understanding the online audience and what appeals to whom is important. If you’re unsure whether the type of content and the product or service you offer are appealing to your audience, social media analytics can tell you what’s working, and what isn’t.
Not only do different social media platforms skew in terms of social media profiles and demographics, they each deliver different types of content as well. For example, your twitter content should be clear, concise, witty, and probably not visual. Video content might be more important for your social presence if your target demographic spends more time on TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram.
Finding your target audience and shaping your social strategy for that audience begins with market research and determining a SMART goal for your digital marketing campaigns.
Reimagining Your Online Presence
Social Networks are wonderful tools for establishing connections with potential customers, building trust and familiarity with your target audience, and representing your brand as an industry expert online. Social media platforms should be used to supplement the meat and potatoes of your online presence, which begins with your website.
Making sure your social media network gets the same representation of your business as your website visitors is crucial. In fact, uniformity in brand messaging is critical across all customer touchpoints for a positive customer experience. Building uniformity begins with understanding your business goals, your role as a business owner in your community, and what you want to represent to the online world.
When you’re satisfied you have a strong webpage and want to expand your online presence, social media management doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Scheduling your first several months of social media calendar posts in advance will help you deliver a measured and intentional message over time. Scheduling your posts weeks in advance and taking the time to revisit them for quality control before they’re published will help establish uniformity and confidence in your message. It’ll also help you save precious time while building customer relationships.
For many small businesses, content strategy might change over time based on rates of customer satisfaction and changes in business goals. Hiring a social media manager for your team of marketers might help keep an eye on social media marketing trends, competitor analysis, customer satisfaction and social goals over time. You can also outsource this work by working with a team of marketing experts.
How often should I post content for my social media audiences?
Most studies conclude that once daily or up to twice per day is optimal. There is research to suggest that the timing of posts is important too, and knowing your audience can help you determine that.
What is a SMART goal?
A SMART goal is a goal that, when defined through these parameters, is reasonable and achievable. It is a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
How much of my content should be sales-focused?
Only about 20 percent of your content should be selling the product. The other 80 percent should be focused on building brand awareness and helping your target audience become familiar with what your small business values and represents. Use that 80 percent to inform, educate, or entertain your audience.