Social media marketing is a prominent part of marketing in our ever growing digital age and every business especially small businesses should adopt this measure to go that extra mile in developing a closer relationship with their target audience and present customers.
Here are ways small businesses can use social media to their advantage:
1. Start with a plan
It’s easy to get started using social media for business purposes. We all use social media in our day-to-day lives, so there’s a level of comfort with the tools.
Take the time to create a social media plan upfront. This ensures all your social efforts support specific business goals.
2. Decide which platforms are right for you
Don’t make assumptions about where your audience spends their time online.
To make sure you’re using social media for business effectively, you’ll need to conduct some research of your own. This will help you to understand how your specific audience spends their time online.
You can use different social channels to reach different audiences, or to meet different business goals.
3. Know your audience
One reason using social media for business is so effective is that you can micro-target your audience. But first, you need to understand who your audience is.
Start by compiling data on your current customers. Then, dig deeper with social media analytics. You’ll soon start to understand who’s buying from and interacting with you online.
Once you’ve defined your audience, you can create buyer personas, which will help you understand the best ways to speak to your audience.
4. Expand your audience
Once you have a clear picture of who your audience is, you can revisit your social media plan. It’s time to look for ways to reach more people just like them.
You can also use social media to expand the audience for your local business.
5. Build relationships
The unique benefit of social media marketing for small business is that it allows you to talk directly to customers and followers. You can build relationships over time, rather than asking for a sale upfront.
When people engage with your organic content or ads, it’s a great idea to engage back. This helps to build trust and form a loyal following. As followers share and like your content, you rise in the social algorithms and gain new, free, exposure.
6. Pay attention to trends
But it is a good idea to pay attention to trends in social media, so you understand what people are looking for when they sign into their social channels. This helps you create appropriate content that resonates over time.
Always keep your audience’s current needs in mind. What worked last year might not work today.
Social listening is a highly valuable information gathering tool, helping you understand what your audience (and potential audience) might want to hear from your opinion
7. Sell your stuff with social commerce
Social media marketing has evolved in recent years to include social commerce: the ability to sell your products directly from social channels.
You can now use social shopping tools to sell your products and services even without a website.
8. Mix up your formats
Make sure to switch up your social post formats from time to time. If you usually post GIFs, try a JPG. If you normally post still images, try a video.
And take advantage of all the formats within each social network, like Stories, or Reels, or Live video.
For one thing, this helps you learn which formats work best for different types of content (more on that below) and for different social networks.
9. Focus on quality over quantity
It’s more important to create quality content on a couple of key channels than it is to have a presence on every single network.
Above all, be sure that your social posts offer value. If all you do is pitch and sell, there’s very little motivation for people to follow you. Remember, social marketing is about building relationships.
Focus on using one or two social channels really well, at least to start. Once you’ve got those mastered, you can build from what you’ve learned and expand your efforts.
10. Use the right tools
The secret to using social media effectively is to take advantage of tools that automate or simplify much of the work.
There are loads of tools to help boost your productivity. That means you can start using social media for business without having a full-scale social media team.
11. Use scheduling and automation to free up more time for engagement
Once you have that calendar in place, you can create your social posts in advance and use scheduling tools like Hootsuite to post them automatically at the right time.
This allows you to dedicate one block of time per day or even per week to creating your social content.
12. Track and refine your performance
As you implement your social strategy, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. You can then fine-tune your efforts and improve results.