What every Small Business needs to know about Social Media Marketing
In case you’re still unsure if small business social media marketing will help your business, the answer is absolutely yes: social media is a great way to attract new customers and to engage with your target market to drive repeat business. Whether or not you’re just starting out, this post will guide you in sort out the first steps to get your business moving and grooving on social media. If you implement the steps outlined here, you should be able to see a positive change within a fairly short period of time.
Social media has changed the way people connect, discover, share information and conduct business even for small and local businesses – but you already know this so let’s get to the good stuff. Here’s what you need to know:
1, Social media
– this is the technology people use to connect, share ideas and experiences. Businesses tap into this infrastructure to connect with customers and grow their brands.
2. Social networks
– such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc are the places where social interaction takes place.
3. Social media marketing
– using this technology to build relationships that build awareness, customer trust and of course, repeat business.
I hope this is making sense? It should because social media is basically just word-of-mouth powered by technology. Over 75% of people are highly likely to share content they like online with their friends, family or co-workers; and 49% do this on a weekly basis.
Small Business Social Media Marketing
You may know that large businesses use social media to do the following:
- Promote the name of the brand and business
- Tell people about their products and services
- Find out what people think about their brand
- Attract new customers
- Build stronger relationships with existing customers
Many small businesses, think this won’t work for them – But it will. Just copy the process!
What are the advantages of social media for your small business?
There is a myriad of advantages for small businesses using social media.
- Broader reach – you’re able to reach millions of people through a single popular social media platform.
- Localized, targeted marketing – it’s essential to target your niche specifically in order for the message to have its intended effect, and social media facilitates this.
- Low-to-zero cost – the majority of popular platforms are free to use, and the ones that automate or cost money are usually not expensive.
- Quick and simple setup – It only takes a short time to set up and account and post information- and anyone can do it.
- Personalized communication – social media allows businesses to send personalized messages to customers and help them with a common problem such as implementation.
How to do small businesses social media marketing effectively? It all starts with goals. If you set your goals right and know from the start what you expect to achieve from your marketing efforts, it shouldn’t be too difficult to organize and implement a winning strategy. These are some of the ways established brands use social media to expand their reach:
- Spreading the word – show your customers who you are, what you can do and more importantly, how your product or service can benefit the prospect.
- Drive sales – you can do this by offering existing customers special offers or starting a promotion. Just make sure they like it well enough to share it with their own social circles.
- Provide people great customer service – this is essential to any business but social media makes it much easier to engage with customers and find out what it is they need from you. Find out what they are saying about you and establish a good feedback loop.
- Keep them coming back – when you set in place an effective system and build strong relationships with your customers, they will always come back.
Different types of social networks work for different marketing purposes. The key is to find a central position that takes into account as many platforms as possible, without saturating the message. Some of the main platforms include:
- Instagram – these days Instagram for business is so much more than just an application that allows you to store, organize and share photo collections with customers.
- Facebook – a website that allows you to have conversations with your customers and post photos, videos and news about new products and features.
- Twitter – a micro-blogging website that you can use to send and receive short messages as well as post photos.
- Youtube – the most popular video hosting website. This should be used when posting promotional videos and the videos should be linked to other social media networks.
If you’re not entirely familiar with social media and don’t know how you could use it to grow your business, this guide was written for you. The specifics may seem complicated at first but it’s all worth learning more.
How To Get Started With Social Media
When using social media to grow a small business, the worst action is no action, and the worst problem is invisibility- not bad perception. If you’re part of the conversation you can always massage what people are saying about your brand; but if nobody knows about you, then you have no chance of growth. What this means is that you need to get involved: not only to exploit the many business opportunities available for your business, but also to develop a winning reputation.
It’s a good idea to start by developing a plan that takes into account the social trends that characterize social media interaction today and organize a framework that will help make your conversations popular and relevant.
But with all this mass of social networking sites and tools available today, how do you navigate through it all to set up a strategy that works?
Here are ten steps to get you started:
- Set up goals. Think about what you hope to achieve from the social interaction. Are you doing it to generate direct sales, offer better customer service, or better yet, develop stronger relationships with your clients? Your answers to these questions will determine how you go about setting goals.
- Consider your resources. It’s going to take more than a clever idea to set up a marketing plan that works: you need people working for you. Someone has to set up the social media accounts, engage with customers and respond to questions, create compelling content, etc.
- Know your audience well. Find out where your audience spends time, what conversations they are involved with, who influences them, and what kind of information they’re looking from you. In order to provide your audience what they want, you first have to understand who they are, how they think, and what they want from you.
- Come up with good content. Once you find out what your audience is into, you can then work on giving them something to talk about and possibly share. Conversations have to keep going and this means creating lots of good content for the audience. Try to create a variety of different types of content that can be shared.
- Consider quality. While the pressure of creating content is certainly understandable, you cannot resolve to create a bunch of pointless topics for the sake of interaction; people will tire of it. The goal here is to build actual customers and that won’t happen if you’re not offering useful information and products/services.
- It’s tempting to promote your products every two minutes on every social platform available to you but you may need to do something not self-promotional so that you don’t come off overly self-absorbed or too salesy.
- Find time every day to look up what’s going on in social circles and engage with your customers to find out what the general vibe is about your brand.
- Learn the culture of social networks. What are your competitors doing and what does that teach you? Learn more about social trends and find out where companies or brands have gone wrong with marketing strategies so that you don’t make similar mistakes.
Acquire brand ambassadors by observing the most active people in social networks and encourage them to sell your brand.
So which social platforms should you concentrate on?
Most large brands operate dozens of social media accounts but they have more people working on that so you might not be able to start big. Besides, you want to learn how to use each website perfectly to get your message across and this might take more time if you embarked on creating 2o social media accounts at once. Focus your attention where it matters and learn everything about those websites and how larger businesses use them to promote their own brands.
Instagram recently toppled Facebook from pole position as the premier social network. For business, using Instagram posts, Stories or Instagram TV you can quickly and easily establish your brand and yourself as a thought leader.
Once the king of social networks Facebook is one of the best places to reach out to prospects, local community groups are the first place you may want to look for your next customer. Features such as Like, Timeline, Newsfeed, Apps, Cover Photo, and Mobile Upload; these will be useful as you gradually build a community with your prospects. Or even sell your product directly using Facebook Marketplace.
You get up to 140 characters when sending out messages to your subscribers and you can include links, videos, and photos as well. Adding images and videos expands the message because the words are somewhat limited and you need to communicate more effectively than 140 characters can articulate. Check out our free training for twitter
If you have an existing Twitter account for your brand but have let it drop off lately, you might want to take a fresh look at how to utilize Twitter’s offering. In the world of micro-blogging, the now 280 character Twitter stands as the most powerful tool you can use for business. Other popular micro-blogging sites include Plurk, FriendFeed, and Tumblr.
Present your brand
Your social media accounts form the foundation of your marketing efforts. They give you the chance to tell the world about your business and so they need to be well defined. Create a web presence people find appealing and distinct; that way people recognize your brand across multiple platforms.
In order to present the brand more confidently, you have to fill up and complete the profile and make sure people know your bio, the actual location of the business and the address to the official company website.
When creating a social network for your business, start with these people:
- Business partners, suppliers, and contractors
- Relevant trade organizations for your industry
- Local businesses in your neighborhood
Make a schedule for social media
You could end up spending hours each day trying to keep up to speed with your social media accounts, so if you want to manage your time better, create a time management structure to keep your time online useful and strategic. One way to do this is to find out what time your customers start responding to your feeds, and take a couple of hours to engage and leave the rest to automation. Just remember using Social media for business is different from how you use it personally. If you confuse the two, you may end up spending hours on one of the platforms and not gaining any traction, plan for it and me purposeful with what you do.