If you are a small business owner, there’s no way you haven’t faced the question of Do I need to use social media for my business? There’s a lot of talk in the community of small business owners about social media marketing, and if it will give you a good bang for the buck.
So, in correspondence to this question, we decided to cover the topic of social media marketing for small businesses and business owners, to answer all your questions, and give you some tips that work and will boost your brand awareness across all essential social media platforms.
There is no going around it- social media marketing is here to stay
Don’t underestimate the power of social media. It’s one of the tools every business should have, there is no alternative. In fact, it’s one of the best investments business owners can make to grow and succeed in realizing their business goals.
Social media has become such a dominant form of communication that not using social channels for your business is like not having a website for your company (or even worse). It’s part of your core values.
News flash: Just because your business falls in the category of “small business” doesn’t mean you are excused or pardoned from having social media accounts. In fact, the opposite is true.
Big companies tend to already have a certain brand loyalty established, and years-long customers. You – don’t. So, if you think about it, you need it even more!
But I’m just a small business owner.. why is this important for me?
We understand.. when you are a small business owner, you are just at the start of it all. Struggling as is, many bottlenecks appearing every day, obstacles on every corner, and now we are telling you that you need to invest even more money.
You must think we are crazy, insane, no way that this can be an option.. right?
Wrong! The harsh truth is – social media is no longer an option, it’s a vital component of your company. Without it, you’re dead.
Here is a statistic to think about:
According to surveys and analytics, The number of people using social media accounts in the US officially surpassed 240 million in 2020, meaning 72.3% of Americans are actively using social media on a daily basis.
This shows just how important it is to put yourself and your small business out there, as soon as possible.
A strong social media strategy is literally your gateway to success. Here is where you do your pitch- but to thousands of people!
This is both a tool and hidden weapon to boost engagement and attract potential customers. You can navigate and steer your social media strategy in a way that reflects your business goals and brand awareness.
So, can you really tell us that you don’s need to have social media accounts for your small business? Of course not.
But with all the noise on social networks, you may feel lost or overwhelmed as to how to use social media for small-business success. Ergo- we are here to help!
Social media is an essential component of your business’s success.
To all fellow owners of small businesses and startups – we get you. We understand you. We’ve been you.
Let’s put it this way- investing in social media and marketing campaigns is the best choice you can make as a small business.
You’ve got this awesome new product or service and are heavily invested in making your small business a big success, but don’t quite know how to showcase your company and reach out to potential customers?
All businesses have a lot of hurdles to overcome in order to be successful. One of the biggest challenges business owners face is using social media marketing correctly.
There are many uses of social media, but above all else – brand awareness. You want your company to be seen, your company being seen means more traffic to your website, more traffic means more potential customers, and more potential customers can result in increased sales of your products and services. It’s a simple equation.
Using social media and social platforms will put your brand out there. It’s a tool every business should have in their back pocket, think of it as the steering wheel responsible for navigating your business to success. Cheesy? Maybe, but not really.
The WHY of Social Media:
It’s simple – your audience and potential customers use social media every day. Social platforms have become a new normal, and using social media has become a routine, like drinking coffee in the morning and reading your newspaper.
Well, now it’s more like drinking coffee and checking your Instagram feed, reading stories on Facebook, or looking for updates on Linkedin.
Social media platforms – this is where the magic happens. They are not just used for social encounters like chatting, liking each other’s pictures, or sharing video content. People use social media to interact with brands and find out more about their products or services.
Thus, if your potential customers are using social media platforms to interact with other companies, you have to put yourself out there so they can reach out to you as well, otherwise – we know where they will end up.
The span of your audience is limitless on social media, meaning- you can broadcast your message to thousands of people, increase brand awareness, build brand loyalty and increase sales of your product or service.
The big FIVE
If you want to put your business out there, it’s time to open up some social media accounts. There is a bunch of social channels, so we will go through the most important and relevant ones for your business. We will go in-depth about each platform so keep track and start taking notes!
Here are the 5 champs of all social media platforms:
Let’s face it – Facebook might not have been the first social media platform, but it is by far the most powerful. With more than 2 billion active users, posting content, and exchanging messages, Facebook has the potential to grow any small business, with the potential to reach over 1/4 of people in the World.
Sure, it’s unlikely that your business will target all of them, but knowing that there is such a big scale of people interacting, posting, and searching content – sounds like an opportunity that should not be missed!
Facebook has a powerful ad program with unbelievable targeting capabilities. Any brand that uses platforms like Facebook for gathering leads, should definitely rely on using Facebook ads.
With such a wide appeal, Facebook gives you the opportunity to convert all your leads into a community. You can post new sales of your product or service, share behind-the-scenes content, introduce your team, market your company value, and much more, all by simply creating a Facebook page. In just a few minutes – you’re live, and once you post some photos or video content, you will start reaching out to Facebook users for followers.
Instagram was acquired by Facebook almost a decade ago, but the two operate as completely separate platforms (even though you can link your accounts easily). Instagram has become amazingly popular with small businesses and startups, solely because it gives you the opportunity to quickly post content, concentrating more on eye-catching images and videos.
Because of its connection to Facebook, you are still able to get access to your Facebook ads and can double your posting abilities. Yet, you will not need to pay as much on ads to grow your base of followers. Gaining organic followers and using your resources is much easier on Instagram, simply because there is less “fuzz” as there is on Facebook.
Instagram is an extremely visual platform, the types of content you can see there is either image or video content. There is less focus on lengthy posts or messages in the comments section. This is an advantage because video content and images are the best way to attract somebody’s attention in an instant.
Twitter is quite a detour from Facebook and Instagram. It isn’t just about connecting with family and friends, to keep track and exchange messages. It is a platform that is famous for sharing strong opinions, posting breaking news, and having fast-paced discussions. Many companies and startups tend to shy away from Twitter, because of how contentious it can be, but if you have a strong social media marketing team – you’re all set.
Twitter is excellent for creating engagement with other powerful brands in your industry, or influential users. By simply getting retweeted, you can gain clicks and boost engagement on your page. If your product or service is good and your audience thinks so too, people will post their opinion.
In terms of professionalism, Linkedin is the powerhouse of social media for businesses and companies. It is the most professional social network there is.
You can use LinkedIn to find potential vendors, business partners, and customers. It will aid you in expanding your professional network, as well as your social one too. It is possible to go as far as to secure funding for your business.
You can also use LinkedIn to share articles, reports, resources, or even industry trends, types of content that most other platforms don’t have to offer. Linkedin is a powerful way to make a name for a brand within your industry.
Last but not least. Videos may need more effort than simply posting on Instagram or Facebook, but, it is definitely worth your buck! Potential subscribers tend to flock to YouTube to look at videos and commercials about a variety of video content, specifically when they are searching for instructions or demonstrations on how to get started.
Youtube is amazing for when your customers want to take a look at your product or service, but find it incomplete or not clear enough while looking at your website. Short videos on Instagram or Facebook may get a viewer’s attention, but long and informative videos on Youtube will bring them even further.
Even though there is a steeper path for businesses to enter the YouTube World, in the long run – making high-quality and inspirational videos is well worth investing in.
How to implement social media for small business
Now that we explained a bit the what and why of social media, it’s time to go into the topic of how. It is important to know certain steps for implementing social media for small businesses
Today, you can find literally anything and everything on social channels. From conspiracy theories, cooking reels on Instagram, limitless face filters, to Tiger King memes and viral Youtube videos. The content you can find on social platforms makes this marketing channel seem as lawless as the Wild West.
However, if platforms like Instagram can make even an Egg famous, that is excellent news for your small business. Better yet, is a great way to find, connect, keep track and eventually build relationships with your audience.
We have covered so far the reasons why social media is important for small businesses, as well as the most important social channels your business should appear on. Let’s dig in!
Set clear goals
Small business owners might wonder whether social media accounts are worthwhile, and the answer to that question is definitely yes!
It’s easy to plan a social media strategy for small businesses when there is a plan in motion. SMART goals will steer us in the right direction and put us on a path of success if we follow them respectfully.
SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.
Before you create a social media strategy, consider why your small business is on social media. What do you want to accomplish? Which platforms will help you reach your objective? Not all business owners desire the same results. Some only want to connect with their customers, while others aim to increase conversions or traffic to their websites.
To know how effective your strategies are, it is crucial that your goals are measurable and easy to analyze. Social media networks provide a variety of metrics for small businesses to understand their online effectiveness. There are tools that can help you with tracking customer engagement and value metrics for you, such as Google Analytics, as well as some other specific social media listening tools.
Is your goal achievable? It’s challenging to go viral or shift to an overnight internet sensation, the odds are pretty slim for this. You should always be realistic and strive for goals that your small business can obtain.
Your social media strategy and your business goals go hand in hand. It is important to have relevant goals that portray your company in a way you want it to be seen. Also, are your goals pertinent to your audience? The truth is, if your social content is not relevant, your audience will scroll right past it.
Last but not least- timeframe. How long do you think you’ll need, in order to reach your goal? Picking a timeframe for your social media strategy can be tricky, simply because you might need more time to recognize what tactics are working and what you should change. When choosing timeframes, quarterly goals are the best option.
Know your audience
It comes down to this- knowing your audience and posting what is relevant to them is the main goal of using social media. The reason social media is so effective for your business is that it can micro-target your audience.
The best way to grow your audience is to post valuable content that is relevant to them somehow. Research and collecting data on your current customers will help you understand their needs and wants. Then, dig a little bit deeper with social media tools that will help you analyze. You’ll soon start to understand who’s buying from and interacting with you online.
Once you’ve determined your audience, you can design customer personas that will aid you in understanding the best way to approach your audience.
Once you figure out what your audience likes to talk about, join the discussion.
The unique benefit social media provides to small businesses is that it allows you to talk directly to your followers. Over time, you will build relationships that will last longer.
Your posts should range between informative, promotional, and inspirational, but also try to include a call to action in every post. Encourage your audience to engage with your brand as much as possible.
Ask questions, gather their opinions, and debate about things that will provoke emotions. No matter the industry you’re in, there’s a certain part of your product or service that’s attached to a feeling or reaction you want your client to have and experience.
Engaging back with your audience is an excellent idea. Making your clients feel involved will help you to create brand loyalty. This will help build trust and support for your followers. As users like to like and share your content, your account will also grow in social algorithms, resulting in more free exposure. When you establish relationships with your followers, they are more likely to see your posts.
Nourishing customer relationships will help you build a loyal community, that will over time lead to more sales, organic marketing and help you keep track of their needs. Gaining new customers is great, but don’t underestimate the value of retaining current customers.
Determine the best platforms and use them!
Don’t make guesses about where your audience spends most of their time online. Do your research. Then – pick just one main social platform and put your focus there. As for the other channels, by all means – open up accounts, but dominate on your primal one.
You have to make sure that you’re using social media for your business efficiently, and for this, you’ll need to do some research of your own. This way you will be able to understand and learn how your target audience spends their time online.
Determining your social media platforms is not an all-or-nothing approach. You can easily combine various social media channels to meet different business goals or reach different target audiences. Try to master one or two social platforms and learn to operate on them really well, at least to start with, and then you can start expanding your efforts based on what you built.
Quality beats quantity, every time.
It can sometimes be overwhelming thinking you need to turn your small company into a media company producing high-quality videos, mesmerizing pictures, or lengthy blogs, just to keep up with all the platforms. Well, we are here to tell you that you don’t need to do it all.
It is much more powerful to create good content on a few platforms than it is to spread yourselves too thin all across social media. Your social posts need to offer value. If you rely solely on selling and preaching- people will unlikely feel encouraged to follow you or interact with your content.
Be honest. Be true. Post excellent content. This is essential, and you can’t fake it.
Don’t forget, it’s quality first and quantity second. As long as you’re reaching your target audience, converting them into fans or followers, and getting them engaged with your content – you are pulling an effective social media strategy.
Keep track, review, and enhance!
To be frank, no one will get it right the first time. There are limitless ways to make social media work for you, but in the end, it comes down to determining what your clients want.
Getting started is your first step. Try as many different things as possible. Then, along the way you can fine-tune your tactics and enhance your results.
Once you get an idea of how your strategy is performing, it’s time to begin looking for ways to enhance. Practicing A/B testing can help you make small changes that over time will boost your success and bring you great results.
Social media tools will help you to reach new potential customers, better connect with your audience, and overall increase awareness of your brand.
To sum up
It’s never too late, but you have to start somewhere. The essence of effective social media marketing revolves around producing high-quality content in a constant way. It is paramount that you find your own rhythm that works for both your business and your audience, in order to continue giving value to your customers, in an informative and entertaining way.
Join in on conversations, don’t be afraid of errors- learn with them, and nurture your current customers- they are the loyal ones.
Social media is a crucial and defining part of your business. Period. You have to make sure that you have a powerful and well-researched plan in place. Building your online presence will present your brand as more accessible and reliable, and at the end of the day- that’s the idea, right?