Small business owners are constantly being told that social media is a marketing dream that can get them thousands of customers. However, many small businesses go missing on social media because they are not properly prepared. While services like Facebook and Instagram can boost your business, they are useless if you don’t leverage them properly.
Social media is hugely potent if used correctly, allowing a small business to compete evenly with major organizations for views and conversions.
Examples of successful social media campaigns can be seen across the internet. Online casinos like betoclock.com reach more customers through social media output. It’s an area of marketing that the online betting industry has embraced, and customers have responded positively.
If you run a blog and want more people to read your posts, social media can help. If you sell products from a website, social media can help drive consumers to your online store.
There’s no doubting the power social media has, and some small businesses have built their whole success on social media marketing. Below are some basic tips all small business owners should follow when starting on social media.
1. Start with a Plan
One of the best things about social media for marketing is that you can boost the visibility of your business for free. This is especially important for small businesses. In theory, a small organization can compete evenly with major companies (with vast budgets) for free on social media. All that’s needed is organic content and some creativity.
However, a clear and concise strategy is needed. If you jump straight into posting without evaluating and developing a plan, your social media adventure will probably fail. Without a plan, you won’t know what you want to achieve and won’t be able to measure your success. That’s why creating a social media plan is so important.
Think of social media like any other business strategy that needs to be planned and organized. Below are some important planning tips.
Set goals – Start by deciding what your goals are on social media and what you ultimately want to achieve. Perhaps you simply want to engage with customers, or maybe reach new people. Whatever you want to do on social media, your goals should be created based on the SMART framework. If you’re unfamiliar with the framework, it means goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
Evaluate your current position – There’s a good chance you’re reading this article because your small business is already on social media but is not getting the results you want. Before moving forward, take a step back and take an overview of your current social media output. Where may you have been going wrong, what can you do better, what have you been doing right?
Know the competition – Without a single doubt, you have lots of competition on social media. No matter your niche, product, or service, you are certainly not alone. Check how your competition is using social media. Look for what rivals who are thriving are doing and learn lessons from those who are failing. Importantly, you don’t have to copy but learning from others can boost your own chances of success.
Be inspired – Leading on from the last point, you can also look to see how other businesses (not related to your niche) are using social media. For that matter, you can even look to individuals and influencers for inspiration.
2. Choose Your Platform
There are many social media networks available and each of the big ones offers something a little different. Many small businesses make the mistake of spreading themselves too thin across all the social media services. Certainly, you should have a presence on all the major networks, but your focus should be on a specific few.
Which ones? Well, this depends on several factors, such as what your business is, what it offers, and who it is aimed at. For example, if you want to reach millennials, Facebook is unlikely to be the best choice. Instead, Instagram is much more relevant to millennials and you are more likely to reach them. Again, this does not mean you should ignore Facebook entirely, but you should not make it your focus.
Below is a brief overview of the major social networks:
Facebook: Something of a catch-all social media experience. Facebook Pages and ads are very powerful. The network combines all aspects of other networks, allowing posts, business-oriented output, and media (images and video).
Twitter: Twitter allows you to provide snapshots of your business with a limited character limit. It also supports media but is not for in-depth marketing.
Instagram: Widely adopted by younger demographics, Instagram is a photo-based social media service. Any marketing you do on Instagram should be centered on images, although you can also add written content.
LinkedIn: A purely business-oriented network that is the Facebook or enterprise, LinkedIn probably won’t connect you with many consumers. However, it will allow you to network and find partners, employees, and jobs.
3. Speak to Your Audience
Social media is a fantastic marketing tool because it allows you to focus right in on your target customer base. However, many small businesses are still unsure who their audience is, so you’ll need to understand what type of customers you have.
An effective way to get a snapshot of your consumer-base is to use analytics tools (on your website and social media) to see what types of people are buying from you. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to be attracting all types of customers, but the chances are its more nuanced. Once you know who your audience is, tailoring your social media output to reach them will become much easier.
4. Seek Growth
Now you know your audience and have a social media plan, the next step should be to grow your audience. If your rolling out engaging content that is attracting people, social media can often do the hard work for you. If your content speaks to people, they will share it and automatically attract more potential customers to your business.
However, this all depends on your content. Rich, knowledgeable, and engaging content is a must for any successful social media campaign. Yes, sprinkling some personality is also vital to help you connect with customers on a more individual level.