A Harris Poll conducted between late March and early May, found that between 46% and 51% of US adults were using social media more since the coronavirus of 2020 began.
This is good news for small businesses is that this trend opens up new avenues for brand-building and promotion. Getting creative and being proactive can pay off when rebuilding your business or waiting for the economy to improve. Here are trends and strategies to explore so you can craft effective social media campaigns.
Why social media?
While social media can serve many functions, here’s a quick look at the many benefits of social media for small business:
- Low-cost brand recognition with free social media accounts
- Targeted reach through tools, such as Instagram Ads or Facebook Ads, that homes in on specific demographics (i.e., age, gender, salary, location, etc.)
- Event promotion through features such as Facebook Events and Facebook Groups
- Customer service options that endears you to customers
2021 social media trends
Here are trends the experts are monitoring as we move into the new economic realities of 2021.
Blending sales tools with social media
With social media data, you can determine strong leads before you reach out. This is also a way to develop two-way communication with consumers through social media interactions. Leverage your social media posts for lead generation, market research, and call preparation.
Read software reviews to find the right fit for your industry, products, and services.
A social media influencer is a user who has established credibility in a specific industry, has access to a huge following, and can persuade others with their targeted recommendations. An influencer has the tools and authenticity to attract many viewers consistently and can motivate others to expand their social reach.
SmartBiz customers Shari Bisquera and Carey Klein own Off-Road Vixens, a popular female clothing brand for women who embrace the outdoor lifestyle. They successfully use an influencer strategy to elevate their brand and offer free product to active women influencers.
From the Off-Road Vixens website:
“We are looking for respectable, influential bad ass chicks to represent our company. Weekend warriors that are out there doing what they love, whether you backcountry snowmobile, snowbike, surf, dirt bike, UTV, hunt, fish, archery, barrel race or anything in between; we want chicks like you. Our Brand Ambassadors are very important to us because you are the ones out there in everyday life doing what our company represents. Our brand gives you the opportunity to define who you are in whatever industry you enjoy!”
Check out the Off-Road Vixens Instagram to see how they use influencers. This marketing strategy has worked well for them even through the pandemic. Their brand is sought after on line and at events across the U.S.
Leveraging user-generated content
Content from your customers and followers can give your online branding strategy a great boost. Reportedly, consumers find user-generated content almost 10 times more effective than influencer content and say it greatly impacts their purchase decisions.
You can incorporate a temporary user-generated content campaign as a part of a contest or a giveaway, or it can appear on your social media accounts, to engage your target audience. When you respond to their social media comments, you put a face on your business and gain trust.
Understandably, consumers are more likely to believe what fellow consumers say about your products and services. They tend to think that the fellow consumers will be truthful about whether your business offerings are worth buying.
It helps to show your target audience what your existing customers say about your products and services. It will put you in an advantageous position to enable you to convert them into customers broadening the reach to your target audience.
Mobile usage has, not surprisingly, increased across all locations and demographics. The smartphone has surpassed desktops or laptops for social media activity and purchasing. With that in mind, you should create mobile-optimized content for your social media platforms. When you optimize your mobile devices’ content, you can attract a big chunk of social media users to your postings.
Social Media Strategies for Success 2021
Here are ways you can make the most of your social media resources.
Acknowledge the new economy and its challenges
The impact of the coronavirus on small businesses is no secret. Give your current and potential customers a high-level overview of the issues you’re facing and how you’re addressing. Put a face on your business and remember that honesty is the best policy.
Make the most of your existing content
Many small businesses start a blog to help them establish a strong presence online. The problem is they don’t what to do next. Some even abandon their blog due to lack of response from their readers. Nevertheless, the important thing to remember when you’re just getting started is to post as much content as you can linking to your social media account. This is your chance to promote your existing content on various social media platforms, ultimately expanding your reach.
Be “follow” worthy
No matter which social media platform you use, at the end of the day, no one can deny the truth behind these three things: freebies, being popular, and being right. Do yourself a favor and make your social media profile one that’s worth following. Try your hand at hosting weekly contests, having a live Twitter debate using a hashtag your company made up or reposting the best photo from your followers daily. But don’t just post things online simply to catch any unsuspecting passerby’s attention. Make an effort to keep things fun and engaging, because when you do, chances are people will get curious, and the next thing you know, you’ll be well on your way to social media stardom.
Learn social media management software
The supply of social media management tools and apps is endless. For beginners, Buffer and Hootsuite are excellent options since they are fairly easy to navigate and cover a wide range of social media accounts. As soon as you’ve selected the right social media management software tool for your business, take the time to learn its ins and outs. Many people make the mistake of simply using these programs to scroll through their feeds and schedule posts, unbeknownst to the fact that fresh updates and features that go beyond basic function are being added every day. Use these tools to their full extent if you’re really serious about mastering social media marketing.
As a small business owner, you obviously have a lot better things to do than performing the same tasks over and over again. Automation is everything when it comes to social media marketing. Instead of wasting your time following people back, retweeting interesting messages on Twitter, responding to direct messages, or mentioning other users in your posts, you can now fully automate these activities. The key idea is that the more you automate, the more time you have to manage other, more important aspects of your business. However, keep in mind that while automation is necessary, being human is still more important. So, don’t forget to keep things personal by engaging with your audience in real-time every now and then.
Take advantage of the built-in analytics tools
Know your numbers, know your business. In the world of social media marketing, you must never underestimate the power of installing the necessary analytical tools to enhance the effectivity of your campaigns. If you’re a Twitter user and you don’t know where to begin, installing The Archivist is a good place to start. This analytical tool keeps you updated on the latest hashtag campaigns and allows you to analyze which user mentioned you and how they found you. Keep a lookout for tools that can help you track the number of followers you’ve gained and lost on a weekly basis, identify the particular topics your followers are most interested in, and determine which tags are most effective and why.
Devanny Haley, owner of Wild Child Marketing based in Las Vegas gives her thoughts on the way 2021 will evolve in the social media realm.
"In 2021, your social strategy should be centered around mindfulness and understanding. Chances are, your target audience has had to shift their perspective and their priorities, and your social media should follow. Rather than focusing too heavily on ROI or sales via organic channels, start paying attention to the true needs of your audience and whether your strategy is answering or helping solve those problems. Revenue, budgets, work force, supply and demand have all changed due to COVID. Produce content that addresses these concerns for your audience and be especially mindful of coming off too sales-focused. It also never hurts to throw in a light-hearted or inspirational post, or pics of your own team!”
If you need help
You don’t have to go it alone with your social media initiatives. With platforms rapidly evolving and being added to the online landscape, bringing on a professional might be a good idea.
We’ve outlined some basic information in our article, Small Business Marketing Tip: How to Hire a Social Media Strategist to help you find the right fit. There are lots of people out there that have “social media” on their resume. However, a person with thousands of Instagram followers isn’t automatically the right choice for your small business. Review the qualifications in our article when vetting possible social media contractors.
- 7 Companies That Use Social Media Marketing Effectively
Learn about large and small companies, including SmartBiz Customers, who are increasing revenue and brand awareness with active social media strategies.
- 7 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Social Media Marketing
Choosing the wrong platform, not striking the right tone, and selling rather than engaging are explored along with four other top fumbles.
- 7 Social Media Safety Tips for Business
Don’t let your social media efforts go to waste. Review these tips so you don’t face issues with your data safety.