Social media is the great equalizer. According to a 2015 social media study, 92% of small business owners who participated agreed that social media marketing is important to their businesses. Unlike television ads, which can be expensive to produce, social media can be done on a small budget. Sure, the big companies might hire someone to manage their social media accounts, but you don’t have to pay big bucks to have an effective social media campaign.
Even if social media completely baffles you (you’re not alone), you can easily use it to engage your target audience. Here are our tips to excel:
Step 1: Learn What Platforms Your Audience Uses
Based on a Pew Research Center study on social media usage, 73% of online adults use a social networking site, and 42% use multiple sites. Before you develop your social media marketing plan, figure out your target market. Is it working professionals, aged 50–64? Use LinkedIn. Or is it a younger demographic, aged 18–29? Then go with Twitter, where 31% of its users are under the age of 30.
It also helps to remember when you post to social media you’re posting to people, not to the great beyond. The key is engaging your customers, but you can’t engage them unless you know who they are and where they hang out online. Sure, the big companies might be on all social media channels, but as a small business it’s better to focus your efforts on where you know your customers will be. That way, you don’t waste time posting to a platform your audience doesn’t even use.
Step 2: Set Your Goals
No matter what social media channel you use—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or something else—you need to establish goals. Do you want to raise brand awareness? Bring more people into your store? Increase in-store sales? Determining your goals will help you set your marketing strategy, which will help you shape your messaging. If you want to increase in-store sales, for example, you might use Twitter or Facebook, which are timely platforms, to share information about upcoming sales or promotions.
Setting goals will also help you determine the success of your social media campaign so you can decide if you need to reevaluate your marketing plans. Handy tools like Hootsuite can help you track the KPIs you’re aiming to boost. For more info, take a look at our guide to social media for local businesses.
Step 3: Post Personable, Relevant Content
Ever been on the receiving end of a form letter? It doesn’t make you feel special, and neither does robotic social media messaging. The content you post on your social media channels will affect the success of your campaign. So make sure your content incorporates your voice and personality, which is a lot more interesting for people to read than generic text.
If possible, use a range of content. Don’t just post text-based information; include videos and photos—which receive an 87% interaction rate from Facebook followers.
Lastly, social media is a two-way street. You need to give in order to receive—so retweet others, share their photos, comment on their success. Respond to your audience in real time so they know there are people who care behind the automated messages. And no matter how tempting it is, don’t try to make hard sells on social media or you’ll see your follower count drop drastically. According to Forbes, no more than 10% of your posts should be strictly promotional.
Step 4: Monitor the Results
Connectivity offers social media monitoring to keep track of what people are saying about your business online. You should thank people who leave you compliments and respond to concerns before they snowball. By keeping this all in one place, you don’t have to scour every corner of all the channels you’re on. We don’t want you to fall down the social media rabbit hole all day, as fun as that can be.
Want more information on leveraging your social media? Check out our social media tips for small businesses to stand out.
Top image credit: mama_mia / Shutterstock
Dylan Lake is a Demand Generation Manager at Connectivity.