Social Media Marketing: 7 Steps to Make It Work for Your Business | AllBusiness.com

Is social media marketing working for your small business? If you aren’t sure whether it is really worth all the effort, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey reported in LSA Insider, small and midsize business owners expressed concern about the ROI of social media marketing, while at the same time recognizing its importance.

Some 57% of small and midsize businesses say social media is one of their most important marketing channels; in fact, 30% say it is their most important marketing channel. However, two-thirds (66%) say they aren’t confident that they’re doing social media marketing right.

What’s driving people nuts about social media?

Here’s what survey respondents say about their frustrations with social media:

How to stop wasting time on social media

Social media marketing is important for your business—and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are seven steps you should follow to get a grip on your social media marketing.

1. Set goals for your social media presence. Decide on specific, business-related goals—not just “getting more likes.” Do you want to build awareness of your business among a certain target audience? Do you want to get people to go to your website or call your business? Do you want people to actually purchase something because of what they see on social media? Do you want to create stronger relationships with customers? All of those goals and more can be achieved by using social media.

2. Do some reconnaissance. There are lots of social networks out there—but your business doesn’t need to be on all of them. If your store markets to teenagers, you probably need to be on Snapchat—but if you’re trying to sell IT consulting services to local businesses, Snapchat won’t be that useful. Start by looking at the social media sites your closest competitors have a presence on, and what they’re doing there. Next, dig into research about what types of customers tend to use which social media channels. Pew Research does regular studies on the subject; you can also get the latest news about social channels on Social Media Examiner and Social Media Explorer. Where are your target customers spending their time? You can’t be on every social media site, so you need to identify the ones that matter most to your customer base.

3. Get attention with images. Graphics, photos, and videos attract more attention on social media than plain text posts. No matter what type of business you run, find a way to add visuals to your posts. That’s easier for some businesses than others—if you own a pet grooming business, posting photos of your adorable clients is sure to attract eyeballs. But even an IT consultant could share photos or videos of their happy clients, infographics about tech topics, or creative stock photos to spice up their posts.

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