If you go back ten years back, the idea of social media marketing for business was not very popular. But with the rise of social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, & Instagram, companies have seen the value in these social platforms.
The popularity of social media influencers & content creators has now opened up several opportunities in social media marketing for small businesses. Many influencers have developed legit ways for brands & businesses to connect with their customers & generate more sales.
For small businesses & startups, in particular, social media marketing has opened a world of opportunities with influencer marketing, hashtags, community participation, comments, shares & likes.
Advantages Of Social Media For Small Businesses
Social media is essential for small businesses – we all have heard this a lot.
But 2020 has made social media a must-have. According to a report, 70% of small businesses are in financial crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the current situation, social media is seen as a survival tool for companies. It gives access to all demographics & offers free access to a vast audience of potential customers.
Social media is now an equal opportunity playground for every marketer these days. Whether you are in B2B or B2C marketing, the chances are that your marketing plan would center around a mix of social media channels.
There is a good reason for this – social media is where everyone comes for personal and business reasons. That’s why you need to go to social media platforms to reach the right audience.
Let’s have a look at some advantages of social media marketing for small businesses:
- Low cost of brand recognition
- Small-budget initiatives for brand awareness
- Targeted reach to desired demographics with paid ads
- Simplified Event promotions
- Community building
- Customer service options
What Are The Top Social Media Marketing Essentials For Small Businesses?
Crafting & building a social media marketing strategy from scratch for a small company requires a lot of hard work, effort & imagination. The main challenge is to execute a set of campaigns that bring in an overall impact on the business numbers.
The problem worsens when these campaigns are inter-connected and thus require significant investment in terms of requirements for campaign collateral and advertising budget.
Startups or small businesses rarely have a marketing team to deal with every platform and they are limited on resources & budget. They need to use their time, resources & budget strategically.
In many cases, small businesses try to imitate the processes used by big businesses. What they do not realize is that big businesses do not do the marketing themselves. They generally hire agencies and designate a budget (often in thousands per campaign).
Here is how things go wrong.
A small business tries to implement the social media marketing tactics used by the top competitors and discover that the cost of the campaign is simply too much for their resources. At this point, there are two choices for small businesses.
They can either try to find the budget for campaigns. Obviously, this is not possible. The other choice is to scale down the process, but things do not translate well, and the results are often discouraging.
If you’re a small business owner, you can still leverage social media to your advantage. Here are a few essentials you need to get started:
Know Your Goals
Many small business owners know how important social media is for their business, but they don’t know how to make it work. The reason is simple. You need to set your goals clearly and have a clear idea of your purpose in creating a social media strategy. Start with setting your goals SMART-ly to have time-bound and actionable goals.
However, note that setting SMART goals is just the first step and actually implementing the plans is what makes social media marketing for small business successful.
Don’t Overburden Yourself
Digital marketing requires a lot of stuff like videos, blogs, ads, banners, paid campaigns, infographics, etc. Keeping your profiles active is a lot of work at all the platforms where your business profiles are active.
Small business owners overburden themselves by doing all of this work. They try to follow every single tactic or tip they read online to make social media marketing work for them. And that, honestly, doesn’t work in the way they expect. So, our advice is: Begin with, the essentials first. Don’t jump onto every new bandwagon that comes your way. Take it bit by bit and try to focus on quality.
Know Your Customers’ Needs
The key to the success of any social media marketing campaign is knowing your audience’s needs. Don’t use social media to only promote your product or service. Know what your audience wants to see from your social profiles. As such, always posting product advertisements might not work. You need to publish content that solves customers’ problems.
In many cases, small businesses analyze the situation and conclude that the budget is better spent on running ad campaigns. This leaves limited resources for creating customer-focused content.
Our advice: Prioritize customer-focused content because, in the longer run, this will bring in more traffic and brand reputation.
Take part in online discussions to get to know the audience’s expectations & feedback. Connect with them and try to inspire them with your content. If a user posts a question about your product or services, answer it well and keep the discussion going.
While many small business owners engage in social media discussions, they overlook the importance of communication as a brand. In many cases, people on social media platforms recognize the owner but not the business.
Our advice: Communicate as a brand and not as an individual. This will bring the spotlight to the business and bring in more traffic to the business website.
Let me show you a simple example I recently saw on Twitter. This is how Hyundai’s sweet gesture made the day of one of their customer.
They actually respond to the customer & this is what happened next:
And this is how you should respond to your customers, communicate with them, listen to their problems & fix them if it’s possible using social media.
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8 Simple Tips for Using Social Media for Small Business
Here are eight simple & effective social media marketing tips for small businesses that can strengthen your online presence strong & increase growth.
Research the Competition
First of all, start with a plan.
Once you’re sure of what you want, take a step back & see what others are doing on social media. you might not believe it but your competitors are always the best source to take inspiration. You don’t have to copy exactly what they’re doing. A comprehensive analysis of your competitors can help you understand what’s working for other businesses like you.
A related tactic that works well, in this case, is to find where the competition failed. This gives you a list of things you DO NOT do, thereby saving a lot of effort and resources.
Conduct a Social Media Audit
If you’ve already put some effort into your social media platform, then it’s time to take a step back. First, let’s evaluate your existing efforts.
A social media audit is a process of reviewing your business’s goals, revenue & KPIs according to the activities you’ve performed through your social accounts. You need to measure the impact on the business’s growth, and how many new leads and customers you got from the efforts.
The audit gives you a clear picture of your current social media efforts & what you can do to improve the numbers.
Important tip: The audit process is not the end of the line. You need to make sure that the shortcomings discovered in the audit are addressed ASAP. If you overlook this all your subsequent social media marketing for small business would not end up as expected.
Set the Metrics That Actually Matter
Once you have a clear picture of your current social media effort, you need to understand what metrics matter to you the most. This will help you make better decisions that actually serve your business goals.
To find out more about vanity metrics, you can read more here: Social Media Metrics That Don’t Matter at All and What to Track Instead
An important aspect of choosing the matrics is the tracking of the chosen metrics. This means choosing the right tools and platforms for measuring the impact of the activities that affect the metrics.
Note that this could mean additional investment in analytics tools that generate reports on the metrics you are interested in.
Own Your Personality
Your followers might come to your social media profiles for the details of your products and services, but they’ll only stay if they like your style. Think of social media as the extension of your brand’s personality. Try to show your brand’s personality on social media to attract and retain visitors. Use humor, memes, colors, or whatever goes with your brand style.
Social media marketing for small business is a delicate process and the brand personality plays an essential role in attracting the audience to your campaigns. However, brand personality can evolve as the brand maturities, and you need to make room for this change.
Build Your Community with a Facebook Group
A great way to mark your presence on social media is by building your own community with the help of a Facebook group. You can create a private group for your customers where you can share exclusive deals & vouchers. You can also host exclusive (or pay-to-view) webinars or podcasts at this group.
This group can form the core of a loyal community can help you a lot. These loyal followers can share their feedback, give you ideas & motivate you to grow. You can also join other communities & take part there as well.
Many communities support small businesses & help them grow. You can find a lot of collaboration opportunities too in such groups.
Use User-Generated Content
You can collect a lot of user-generated content by arranging contests, launching branded hashtags, & asking for the feedback of the users. Ask your customers to tag you so you can share it on your stories as well. This will help you build a long-term relationship with some of your loyal customers. Another good way of generating user-generated content is to mention your followers on your social media accounts.
When using user-generated content, avoid the issue of plagiarism by keeping a careful check on what goes live from your official accounts. Remember, you do not have to repost or retweet everything.
Here’s an example of user-generated content used in social media marketing for small businesses:
Use Reports to Analyze Your Performance
If you have determined your metrics, you know the results you’re looking for. Use custom reports for all your social platforms to analyze the performance of your social media strategy.
When generating reports, it is important to avoid “data fatigue” that can happen because of too much data. This can hinder the decision-making process and make you lose sight of what’s important for your social media marketing for small business campaigns.
You can use Social Champ’s Analytics feature to understand your performance. Download reports with graphs & charts of the performance of your social posts to compare the weekly & monthly results.
Make a Proper Posting Schedule
Unfortunately, most small business owners think that social media works on a spray-and-pray strategy. You can’t take it seriously for one month & quit the next. For better reach & results, you need to have a proper posting schedule. Optimize it according to the time zone preferred by your target audience. Use a social media scheduling tool to maintain the frequency of the posts so that the posts get more reach and visibility.
Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses: A Life-Saver
Everyone knows that social media presence is essential for your business. But is it all about just showing up?
Social media marketing for small businesses is all about building your authenticity & customer success relationship. If managed correctly, social media can become your main marketing platform that can generate business revenue.
People want to see the real personality on social media, especially from small businesses. They need someone they can trust.
So, be creative, be honest & win more hearts through social media.
I wish you all the best!