Social media is a part of the marketing world that many small businesses have been slow to adopt. And it's not surprising! The idea seems complicated, and social media in general has a reputation for being difficult to use for small business. But in reality, there are tons of easy ways to make your business more visible on social media channels. This article will show you how!
In this article, we will examine how small business can use social media strategy to market themselves. Despite the initial complexity, there are indeed many easy and powerful ways to make your business more visible on social media platforms!
How Do You Consume Social Media Marketing? It Will Help You Produce Posts!
It's no secret that social media marketing is trending. If you've been around for the last twenty years, you've witnessed the growth of various social media platforms like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and more. And you've probably participated too. At the height of my “social media addiction” I would spend 4-6 hours on these platforms in a single day. A few hours in the morning, in the evening… it adds up. I was an ideal customer for small business social media strategy. My brand awareness? Through the roof.
There are phrases for this like “doom scrolling” and “addiction” although they're overly dramatic. The important thing to know is that sometimes, users are just scrolling and scrolling, looking for their next serotonin fix. You'll scroll right by someone complaining (in all text) about something from work, but you'll definitely stop on the cat video – right? Video content and effective social media marketing are going to be your tickets to success in 2021 and beyond. We have to keep up with the trends to be successful.
Developing A Social Media Strategy & Social Media Marketing For Your Small Business
At the heart of it, social media marketing strategies help us build brand awareness. The first step to a social media marketing strategy is defining what that means for your business. What are the goals you hope to achieve? Do you want more leads? Or, do you want to increase business sales? Do you want to reach more social media users? Do you want to reach other small businesses in your area?
In order to have a successful social media presence, your posts need to be able to grab the attention of potential customers and hold it long enough for them to take an action for you. For some of us, that means that our users build brand loyalty through liking, sharing, or following us. For others, that means that social platforms will give voice to our small business despite the presence of other small businesses competing with us for attention.
Who knows? The goal for other small businesses may simply be to convert sales or boost engagement. Exactly what your small business goals are will determine the posts that you make, your ad spend, your marketing campaigns, and your overall social media strategy.
If this is the first time you're developing a social media strategy for a business, take it slow. Look at the next three months and make some decisions. What will your social media calendar look like? Will you use any social media management tools? It's your small business, so it's your choice.
Step 1: A Social Media Audit
If you haven't done a lot with social media, then you need to take a step back and do a social media audit. There are plenty of free analytics tools that you can use to help you, but you can also just use your eyes. Social media for business is not rocket science.
- What social media platform am I a part of that is lagging behind? Where is my business super active?
- Which social media networks reach my target audience? Boomers hang on Facebook, but Gen Z is on TikTok.
- How many social media followers do I have? Is it respectable or embarrassing when I compare myself to other small business?
- Am I making personal posts, informative content, or building relationships with internet users? Do I get any direct messages for my business?
- Am I producing valuable content, or just advertisements for my business? How are my engagement rates compared to the number of people who see my content?
Understanding the answers to these questions will help you come up with a social media marketing plan. If you're seeing low engagement rates, then you might want to look into content like videos, Instagram Stories, and live streams. If your small business sells something like stickers, you should definitely be on a social network like Pinterest or Instagram because users can do a quick search and buy! Don't be afraid to experiment with an unusual social media site. Social media for small business is a work in progress.
Step 2: Get Started With The Right Social Media Platforms
Now that you've got an idea of what's out there, it's time to decide which social channels you want to invest time in. You're one person, and cross-posting can be problematic. So – which 3 channels do you want to work on? Stick to those social media accounts for the next three months and see what happens.
Then, decide how frequently you want to post to the different platforms. It may make the most sense for you to post to YouTube only once a month, but to TikTok much more frequently. What are your brand values, and how are those reflected in the social networks that you choose?
Step 3. Plan, plan, and plan some more
Planning isn't just about writing a plan – it's about actually writing some content, making some images, and scheduling some posts. You can't necessarily schedule ephemeral content like an Instagram story, but you can definitely schedule Facebook posts with lots of free tools. Your social presence and business success is directly correlated to how frequently you're posting content and gathering feedback from your customers. Social media for small business is all about your relationship with customers.
After you've got your social media theme set for the next three months, start creating content for your business! Don't forget that you are in control, so experiment! See what raises customer satisfaction. Short social media posts with bright images? Long text with personal stories? Local business posts that highlight industry trends?
Popular social media tools include Later.com, Metricool, HootSuite, and more. Most of these have free options, and you can pay for more access or posts to schedule out. Social posts can be tricky when you're poor, but try not to pay for brand awareness until you're a big business. Work on organic engagement on your social media network of choice, and don't get into “pay to play”.
On social media for small business owners – you are the product. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (and other social networks) all LIVE to take your money for advertising. So don't give in until you know what you're doing. In social marketing, we are both producers and consumers.
Step 4. Review your progress and course correct
As you post your quality content, you might find that a specific audience is responding to your big ideas, and you're smashing your social media goals and lead generation. Or, maybe it's dead in the water and no one likes your video content. The good thing is, the past doesn't predict the future. So take some time to tweak your future posts for your target customer, and you'll find success on social channels everywhere. Sometimes, it's just a big learning curve before you find the ideal social media posts for what you're selling or doing.
Really, really watch for what posts have the most engagement on which social platform. This will drive traffic to your website, and increase future customer satisfaction. Social media is the perfect way to get in touch with your small business clients! It's an effective marketing tool that can help you spend less time working and more time doing what you love.
Finally: Avoid Social Media Pitfalls
It's so easy when you're working on your business to get sucked into the social media network of choice. Yet, when you're working, everything else, even on social media, is a distraction. Don't let other companies' social platforms get to you. Stay out of the weeds, keep your head in the game.
We've written a whole guide on social media pitfalls, but the gist of it is: nothing is ever truly free. Social tools, influencer marketing, and social media tips all run the risk of running you dry. Tehy take time and attention away from your potential customers. Stick to your plan, avoid other platforms, and don't sweat it if your social strategy and social posts don't immediately translate into qualified leads or sales. Part of business is the slow burn.
Social media can take real time away from the creative part of your business, so be sure to monitor what you're doing and why. The ultimate goal is to accomplish tangible business goals while delighting your ideal customers.
We hope you've enjoyed this discussion of social media and why it matters. If our post has helped you boost engagement on social channels, let us know in the comments below! Got other social media tips to share with small business owners? Help small business out by sharing those, too! What are your favorite social platforms? Let us know!