While many small businesses embrace the new marketing strategies that exist online, others find it hard to adapt. Unfortunately, many businesses who are unwilling to integrate new online marketing strategies may struggle to survive. In growing numbers, consumers are using their phones to search businesses in their area, looking for company information, reviews, and a strong online presence.
One of the most important areas of online marketing for small businesses is social media. There are various social platforms that allow you to tap into markets, with effective targeting helping you to narrow down your customer base. So how can a small business use social media to market themselves successfully?
Understand the Audience
Understanding your audience ensures the content you create is consumed and engaged with. Most business owners have a rough idea of their audience, but online data lets you get a deeper understanding. Use Google Analytics on your website to gain useful demographic data, while also running surveys to visitors. Look at review sites to see what people are saying about your business and direct competitors. When it comes to social media, the best social platforms provide business accounts with important data about your audience, while social listening tools let you monitor conversations about your brand.
Develop a Plan with Goals
Every aspect of marketing can be improved with a plan. However, it is important that this plan features goals that can be measured. There are many reasons to work on social media marketing, so you need to narrow it down to a number of factors that you can focus on. You may want to increase your social media followers and build engagement levels with your accounts. This goal will lead to an increase in brand awareness. Alternatively, your goal might be to increase leads or sales, moving followers over to your main website.
Create a Theme
Your social media pages should portray your brand, helping audiences understand what you are representing. Sites like Instagram, for example, should use high-quality images that give personality to your business. You could post images of your products, business location, or an alternative like motivational quotes. If you are in a more lighthearted niche, you may choose to use funny videos or memes to make an impact.
Select Your Platforms
While big businesses will usually have a social media team that can control a large number of sites, smaller businesses will find it more difficult. In most cases, choosing a small number of social platforms will help you create the biggest impact possible with the resources at your disposal. You can then repurpose content across these platforms, adjusting it for each audience. Most common sites to focus on include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Listen to Your Audience
Social media can leave small business owners surprised. As the follower count grows, the number of comments will also increase. Gaining immediate feedback on everything you do might be unsettling initially, but it helps you understand the feelings of consumers. While it isn’t wise to change your approach based on some negativity, you will gradually get a feel for how your followers feel about the content you are producing.
The world of social media doesn’t stop. You may have interest from followers across different time zones, with people checking their social media at different times of the day. Without a dedicated social media team, a small business needs to maximize their efforts. After some initial experimentation, you should be able to see the times and days that lead to the highest engagement levels. Ensuring you then post consistently will provide followers with enough content and interaction to satisfy them.
Streamline with Social Media Tools
You can do a lot on social media without any help, but to maximize your results it is important to use some additional tools. Scheduling posts across the main social platforms simplifies processes, so a tool like Buffer, Hootsuite, or Sprout Social will help. BuzzSumo and Social Animal can be used to find popular content and influencers within your niche, providing useful competitive research. Quality graphics are essential for standing out on social media, so simple tools like Canva and Word Swag can help develop eye-catching content.
Small businesses should take a broad approach to online marketing, using a variety of strategies to engage with audiences. Social media, though, should be one of the central tactics as it offers multiple benefits. Businesses can find and engage with their target audiences, promote themselves effectively, and listen in to the conversations about their brand. The many benefits of using social media means any online marketing strategy will be incomplete without it.