Defining Social Media Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business
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by Mary Ann Keeling
December 14, 2015
Not so long ago many small business owners were uneasy on investing in social media for driving their business forward, but today everybody is trying to find the most efficient way of using it since it turned out to be crucial in making big difference at a low marketing cost.
Unlike large companies that get enormous amount of content created by marketing agencies, small businesses should set their focus on establishing strong identity and loyal audience, boosting website traffic and growing brand awareness. If you are new to social media for business, here is a quick guide on defining your strategies.
Define your business goals
The first thing you should do is to ask yourself what do you want to achieve, and how can social media help you with it. This will help you roughly to figure out what the strategy will be like, as well as will it pay off. When defining goals, the most important thing is to remain realistic and stick to the point. Since social media can be overwhelming, choosing an organized approach such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time) might help you to staying on track and keep you from wandering aimlessly.
Research your audience and the platforms
Your social media presence doesn’t mean creating a profile on every platform that’s considered popular. Depending on how unique your business is, it’s better to set up a customized social media plan. To get to know on which platforms your target audience regularly spends time on, first you have to build a clear and precise picture of your target audience by recognizing aspects such as:
The more of these factors you consider, the more specific you can be, and this is the key to knowing where, what and when to share to reach the right individuals.
Next to knowing your audience, know your platforms - how they support the frequency and type of content you specialize in.
Apart from reaching your targeted audience, social media networks also make it easy to keep an eye on competitors.
But, there are three social platforms that are considered a must for every business.
Facebook - with its 1550 million user audience, it’s simply impossible to ignore, and the amount of information you can gain about your followers gives you the power to establish reputation and build brand loyalty.
The options for sharing interesting content enable you to reach variety of parts of your audience. Depending on your creativity you can make some great impact with just one single post. Facebook’s casual environment also gives small businesses chance to improve customer service since it encourages dialogues with customers and builds relationship and engagement.
LinkedIn - this environment is intended to be more professional. Although its number of users is much smaller than Facebook’s, it’s the number one choice for B2B businesses. Also it’s not so much about your business being on this platform as much as it’s about you as the representative of your business. This platform gives business owners the opportunity to build strong authority, credibility and trust.
Linkedin groups are ideal for sharing content and making professional dialogues with like-minded people and potential partners.
Getting recommendations from business clients strengthens your credibility and helps you earn more trust from future customers.
Google My Business - the first online place to look for a product or a service for vast majority of consumers is definitely Google. Google My Business helps Google develop valuable search results for your business such as:
- Map location
- Contact information
These were “the must” ones, which else to consider?
In case your audience frequently visits the following platforms you may want to expand your social media strategy on to the following platforms.
Twitter - it’s a dynamic platform, best suitable for posting updates, and monitoring mentions on your brand and interact with users that are showing interest or having something nice to say about your business. You can also use it to answer people’s questions, and follow tweeters in your or related industry fields.
YouTube - with 300 hours of video being uploaded every minute, this is the best place for sharing video content if your business is mainly supported by video. You may also want to consider Vimeo.
Pinterest or Instagram - these are image-centered platforms, ideal for showcasing product offerings and at the same time developing brand personality.
As for location-centered platforms you can use FourSquare, Yelp or Level up.
Master social media marketing with the right tools
Seems like a full-time job (and it actually is), but there are many solutions to help you manage it and measure the impact of your social media campaigns. Many of the repetitive task can be automated with these tools, and you will be able to:
- Remain consistent - this is the key to establishing long-lasting traffic for your business.
- Reduce your time working on social media - adding discipline can save you from wasting precious time constantly checking your accounts for updates.
- Schedule posts - instead of updating each network one at a time. Social media management tools are a massive time saver - you schedule updates at the start of the month or week, and if needed, easily make adjustments when something comes up.
One of the reasons why automation is worthwhile is that it leaves you more space for creating engaging and valuable content, and managing other segments of your business. But keep in mind that it doesn’t cover being human and keeping things personal in real-time engagement with people.
Stay worth liking and following
Take one step at a time, figure out what’s working and how your strategy changes over time with fast evolving social media.
And remember - content is king.
So when you’ve done all the research and defined your social media marketing campaign, whether it’s on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or another platform, make sure you share content on your feed regularly and not just any kind of it, but rather one that makes people curious.
Social media success will be there smiling at you when you make variety of interactive, fun and quality information-offering content.