Only a handful of technologies could measure up to the internet in terms of the impact it had on the way small companies operate. All of a sudden, the majority of these locally-operating businesses were transported onto the global market, where they now had to struggle for survival against others of their kind.
Luckily, the world wide web has also given these companies a some new of means of dealing with this new competitive environment. Among the tools at their disposal, social networks are the ones that are seeing the most use. Companies of all sizes utilize social media to enhance their online standing in a number of ways, allowing them to acquire a more significant share of the market.
Not all companies have managed to leverage the power of social media to their advantage. Usually, this is due to limitations in terms of time, staff, and resources that are common among small businesses. With that being said, even a small business operation can find a way to utilize social media in their favor.
If you want to know more about this topic, you can scroll down and check out our short guide on social media marketing basics for small business.
How to Develop a Social Media Marketing Strategy
One of the main selling points of social media is the relative ease with which you can get an account up and running. Social media has been a mainstay of internet culture for a while now – I would be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t used an account on some social network at some point in their life. While this kind of knowledge is certainly a useful place to start, it is not sufficient for running a social media campaign for a business.
In order to use social media marketing for business, you first need to develop a strategy. Doing so involves figuring out what you hope to accomplish by promoting your business on social media. For instance, you might want to improve the conversion rate of your landing pages, increase overall website traffic, strengthen your brand, or get in touch with your most loyal customers.
After you set your sights on a goal, you should determine who your target audience is. Attempting to attract widely different demographics at the same time is usually something reserved for large corporations, whereas small businesses generally do better when they stick with more narrow audiences.
Once you have your goals and audience ready, you need to choose the appropriate social media platform. For instance, Pinterest is a platform that is based on visual content, and it has a predominantly female audience. LinkedIn attracts a more business-oriented crowd, and the content you find there is usually more professional in nature.
How to Write Social Media Content
All digital marketing is ultimately based around content, and social media marketing is no different. If you fail to provide the appropriate kind of content to your intended audience, they will have little reason to keep engaging with your business on social media. Content creation is a complex topic which we can’t cover in too much detail here, but what we can do is provide some general advice for you to follow while you do your own research.
If there is one rule that you should always bear in mind when creating social media content, it is that it needs to provide some kind of value to the consumer. Poorly-researched, clickbait-like content will quickly be identified as such by social media users, whereas well-written, engaging content has a significantly better shot at evoking a positive reaction. When creating content, be sure to include relevant industry keywords to improve its organic reach.
Social media content should always be published according to a strict content schedule. If you post content updates at random, your target audience will quickly lose their patience, and move on somewhere else, even if they like what you post. Content management tools such as Hootsuite can be used to streamline content scheduling if you are having trouble getting organized.
The content you publish on social media can also come from multiple sources. If your company has a blog, there is no reason not to publish the content you already have there. This will help you save on time and resources while giving your existing content another lease on life. Just be sure to preserve the same tone across different content platforms, to maintain brand consistency.
How To Communicate With People on Social Media
After you get your content production up and running, you can proceed to the fun part of social media marketing, namely interacting with your audience. This is what sets social networks apart from other kinds of websites – you have the ability to receive instant feedback anytime you post, as well as the option to provide a response on a moment’s notice. These recurring back-and-forth interactions are the foundation upon which your company can forge strong relationships with the rest of the online community.
Your social media page can also work as a hub for customer support. Answering popular customer queries is a good way to amass community goodwill, which is a proven way to strengthen your brand. If you are short on customer support personnel, you can try setting up a chatbot to do the brunt of the work.
As you keep interacting with various people on social media, you are bound to come across individuals whose content and opinions are well-regarded by the community at large. These so-called “influencers” are the source of some of the most beautiful video designs, viral images, and other kinds of trending content on the web, which makes them powerful allies for your business. To curry favor with an influencer, try sharing their content on your own company feed, and ask for a shoutout in return, if appropriate.
A general rule that you should adopt while interacting with people on social media, is to always reply to criticism in a calm, collected manner. Negative feedback is nothing to be afraid of, and you will only make the situation worse if you start lashing out at your target audience. Many companies have permanently sabotaged their online reputation by running their mouth of on social media, an outcome you should obviously avoid at all costs.
How To Track Marketing Performance on Social Media
You should always keep in mind that social media marketing is an investment, and as such, it should be monitored in order to see how well it is performing. Paying attention to relevant metrics is essential for making adjustments on the fly, which is something you will need if you start seeing less than stellar results.
The first thing you need to know about tracking performance is which metrics you should avoid. These are commonly grouped under the term “vanity metrics”, and include things such as social media follows, likes and impressions. The reason why you should largely disregard these is due to them being largely irrelevant to your company’s bottom line. In addition, these kinds of metrics are easy to manipulate, which makes them even more unreliable as a measure of a campaign’s success.
The metrics that you ought to be monitoring are called “key performance indicators” or KPI for short. They include things like the total number of conversions, website bounce rate, time spent on page, and others. These KPIs will give you a much better picture of how your strategy is performing, giving you the information you need to take the appropriate measures if things start to go wrong.
Small businesses sometimes opt to track these metrics manually, but a much better option would be to use one of the many available software tools. These often come bundled with your social media account, as is the case with Instagram Insights and Facebook Audience Insights, but there are stand-alone options as well like BuzzSumo and Sprout Social.
Companies that are just getting started with digital marketing might find that running a social media marketing campaign can sometimes be quite challenging. Fortunately, there is plenty of information online on related topics, which can help you out if you run into difficulties. We also hope that our guide has been of some use to you in this respect.