As a small business, deciding which marketing forms are best suited for you can be challenging. Companies often put social media marketing at the bottom of the list, but the reality is it should be far closer to the top.
Social media marketing is a highly effective platform for lead generation, making it an excellent way to build brand awareness and loyalty. It’s also one of the less costly forms of marketing, making it well suited for small budget-conscious businesses.
While reaching your social media marketing goals won’t happen overnight, it is a crucial part of inbound marketing.
If you choose the right platforms, create content that provides value to your customers, and engage properly with your community, you will build up your brand awareness and credibility, which will, in turn, lead to sales.
The Value of Social Media for Small Businesses
Social media marketing is valuable for a business of any size or industry because, ultimately, finding customers on social media directly impacts your sales and business goals.
The way people perceive a brand is more important than ever before. Everything from the causes a brand supports to the sense of humour reflected on its social pages may influence the way people regard a brand.
People who feel a positive connection with brands are more likely to send some money their way. In fact, people are 57.5% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media.
Social media is a great way to build customer relationships and get to know your audience, allowing you to provide the content you know they want to see.
Positive customer relationships are proven to impact your sales funnel, as well.
71% of users are more likely to buy products/services from a brand after a positive social experience. It’s easy to dismiss the importance of social media, but the results speak for themselves.
Choose the Right Platforms for You
All social media platforms have a unique aspect you can utilize to your advantage.
There is no perfect choice or one-size-fits-all solution regarding which social media platforms to use. Businesses will have different experiences (and success) on different social platforms.
The best way to choose where to focus your marketing efforts is to determine where your customers are. Take a look at your buyer personas and research what platforms they’re engaging with.
In general, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are recommended for small businesses. Each platform offers different aspects that work well together to benefit businesses.
Facebook can connect you with local community groups and your personal network. It is a conversation platform and a great place to engage and build connections with your followers.
You can do so by liking and commenting on posts, joining groups, and staying consistent with your posting and engagement. If consumers like your Facebook page, they will look for updates such as sales and promotions.
Instagram is a primarily visual medium, so be sure to use that to your advantage by putting effort into both the information you post and how it looks aesthetically.
This is one way to build authenticity for your brand. Instagram offers different features, such as reels, stories and live streams, which can be used to benefit your business.
You can also share content between Facebook and Instagram since they are connected. Ultimately, Instagram gives you the flexibility to curate your presence.
LinkedIn is best used for networking and building your reputation and position as an industry leader. You can join groups and connect with VIPs to get your business to your desired audience.
The best way to succeed on LinkedIn is through sharing professional tips and insightful information your audience will find valuable. LinkedIn is the most used platform for B2B (business to business) marketing.
If users choose to follow you on LinkedIn, they typically care about the information and insights you have to share. It’s also an excellent platform to post product or information-based videos too.
If you are unsure of what platform suits you best, the best advice would be to look at what your competitors are doing and mimic that. You want to do what they are doing but better.
Learn Best Practices
Each platform has its own set of rules and guidelines (both written and unwritten). The written ones are easy to learn as they are written out for you, so do your research and be sure to follow them.
Unwritten rules are the best practices and methods others have used to see success on each platform. They can be harder to learn and may involve anything from how to attract the right followers and what times to post.
While it can be trickier to learn these best practices, one way is to observe what other users, including your competitors, are doing. Take note of their posting schedule, the content they share and how it performs.
Despite these being the “unwritten” rules, quite a lot is written about them. Content creators, social media influencers and marketing agencies offer advice, tips and tricks and insights on the best ways to succeed on social media.
Reading their content can be extremely helpful in determining your own approach.
However, it’s important to remember that what works for someone’s audience might not work for yours, so you will have to adapt your strategy as you go. It is a game of trial and error until you figure out what works best for your business and audience.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals can be challenging.
The draw of the internet and social media is instant gratification, but for small businesses, building social media success takes time. While you’d like to experience tremendous success right away, you’ll need to be patient.
For every brand that becomes an overnight viral sensation, thousands more are taking the time to grow and build a loyal audience of followers and brand advocates.
The first step to take when setting realistic goals is determining how you will measure success. Ask yourself, what equates to true success for your business? Look to your marketing funnel.
Where on it are you aiming? To create awareness and introduce yourself to a wider audience of potential customers? To direct followers to your business and convert them into customers?
It’s easy to use follower count as the benchmark of success, but that may not make the most sense for your business. After all, 100 loyal followers are way better than a following of thousands of unengaged users or bots.
Create Content, Share and Engage
No matter the social media marketing platform, this part comes down to understanding what your audience wants and delivering it. Sharing a variety of posts is good, especially when you are starting, so you can adapt your content based on demand.
You should put time and effort into researching, creating, sharing, and promoting your content. It is especially important to be consistent and responsive with engagement.
This goes beyond just commenting and liking posts. Of course, that is a beneficial and important aspect; however, your ultimate goal with engagements should be to build a community.
This will build credibility and brand awareness and ultimately help grow your business.
As you start out, be careful not to post too much. This is one of the most common mistakes businesses using social media make.
You do not want to overwhelm your follower’s feeds. If your content is all they’re seeing, they may become annoyed and unfollow you. Do some research on when your audience is most active and set a schedule for posting around those times once or twice a day.
Some tips for boosting engagement are providing educational and exclusive content, sharing exciting visuals, and offering promotions.
You can use Instagram stories to your advantage by asking which content people want to see more of in a poll or question box. Utilize the strengths of each social media platform to your benefit.
Our final piece of advice: try and not take it too seriously. That may seem counterintuitive, but people respond to authenticity. While you want to keep it professional, you should also try having fun with your posts.
Showing personality ultimately helps boost engagement, build brand awareness and increase positive sentiment.
Using Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn’s unique aspects to your advantage will only benefit your business. Get started today and see how social media marketing can help you grow your small business.
Contact our team of experts today to see how we can help you achieve your small business goals through social media and other forms of internet marketing.