Social media continues to advance with new platforms and marketing methods developing rapidly. How can a busy business owner choose the right way to effectively promote their business? There are solid strategies entrepreneurs can use to elevate their profile and increase sales. Review our tips to get started.
Why Use Social Media?
Social media isn’t all about sales. There are solid reasons to market your business directly to customers. They include:
- Brand Awareness The first stop for consumers looking for products or services is usually an online search. If you have a robust presence online, customers will be more likely to engage with your brand. SmartBiz Customer Amir Zaki has had tremendous success using Instagram stories and images to establish his brand. “The thing that has really taken off for us is Instagram. It’s a unique community of positive people who trust each other. We have over 35,000 followers and my wife has become our social media guru. These days, Instagram drives 80% of our sales completely organically, without any paid advertising.” Read his story on the SmartBiz Small Business Blog: Success Story: The Infinity Strap
- Responsive Customer Service Social media is a great way to answer customer questions and solve problems. Because it’s forward facing, unlike a phone call, others on your page can see that you’re responsive and care about your customers happiness. Facebook Messenger allows fans and followers to interact directly with someone on your team behind the scenes. The FreshSparks Blog takes a detailed look social media customer service best practices: 6 Key Elements of Using Social Media for Customer Service
- Increase Website Traffic and Search Ranking You don’t have to be an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert to elevate your profile online. The Google algorithm is always improving to eliminate spam websites and rank legitimate ones. A social media presence can positively influence your search ranking.
Tips to Get Started
- Get to Know Your Audience When you started your company, you had a target customer in mind. If you offer products or services to a specific demographic, (like parents, millennials, locals, women, etc.) that’s who you should engage with on social media. Take a look at your business plan to nail down the audience you want to reach and target your content to them.
- Pick a Platform This can be the hardest part of crafting a social media strategy. You don’t want to waste time or spread yourself too thin on platforms that won’t produce the results you want. The InfusionSoft Business Success Blog has done the research for you. Review this post to learn about which platform is targeted to different audiences. For example, Facebook is best to reach those 55+ while Instagram is best for millennials and women: Which Social Media Platforms to Choose for Your Small Business
Define Your Plan
- Goals What do you hope to achieve? Brand awareness, lead generation and customer engagement are just a few goals you can consider when nailing down your strategy.
- Audit You can get tons of information and ideas by looking at big brand websites along with competitors. See what content they’re producing and how followers are interacting. What’s working and what isn’t? This information can help craft your unique strategy.
- Calendar Develop a social media calendar to schedule content and post times. SmallBizTrends has an easy-to-use template available in Word, Excel or a PDF document for a free download here: Social Media Calendar Template for Small Business
- Evaluate and Adjust It’s important to evaluate and test how your efforts are paying off. Social Media experts SproutSocial have developed a comprehensive guide to help you gauge how you’re doing: The Ultimate Social Media Testing Guide
Create Your Content
- Add Videos Images and Visuals It’s no secret that visually appealing posts will get attention. After all, people go on social media to be entertained. Use images, videos, GIFs and memes to engage your audience. These days, you can even snap a high quality photo on your phone and quickly upload to a social media platform. Get inspired by taking a look at brands that have caught your eye to learn how they are successfully (or unsuccessfully) using visuals. Take a look at how this pet product company is using eye-catching visuals to engage their audience: EarthDog Instagram
- Quality over Quantity Posting constantly, posting the same message over or posting irrelevant content can cause follower fatigue. In a battle between quality and quantity, quality wins. As you build your online community, post relevant content. You’ll likely see an increase in views, likes and shares. Ask yourself if it’s helpful information and relevant to what the audience is looking for. No matter what you’re posting, check the analytics to determine which posts are most successful.
Social Media Management
"It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time." These words of wisdom are from Alexis Ohanian, an Internet entrepreneur who co-founded the social news website Reddit.
Business owners are busy enough without getting tangled up in social media management. Some entrepreneurs might have the bandwidth to handle the ins and outs. If not, don’t give up. Task a person on your team with social media responsibilities or hire an outside professional. To help you find the right fit, review this article from the SmartBiz Blog: How to Hire a Social Media Strategist