Social media is easily the most accessible tool for small business online marketing. Social media marketing can also be extremely useful to gain sales and shape brands. By utilizing a social media strategy your business can share product information, interact with customers, and develop an explosive online following.
In fact, over 3/4 of small business owners have already established themselves on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These websites are crucial to advertising your business.
Social media marketing is a common tactic used by many companies to improve their brand recognition and start getting more traffic to their web sites. Over 80% of the United States population has at least one social networking profile. However, it usually doesn’t stop at one. Most people tend to jump from platform to platform, which is why small businesses that establish themselves on as many networks as possible will gain more traction among users. Social media is not only used to garner new customers, but also for returning customers to spread the word about your business. Social media makes it easy for people to connect and share experiences. Customers who are satisfied with your business will absolutely use social media to spread the word. This can work against you as well, so it’s important to be mindful of negative customer experiences as well.
So here’s how to make the most of social media for your business:
Learn to create attractive social media profiles. People don’t want their feeds cluttered with garbage. Users will be more likely to keep up with your small business’s social media if it fits their interests. Your social media presence should clearly show passion as the driver of your content. Personality will win points among social media users, so be sure to stay authentic.
Social media is about connection. Generate content that you love. Readers will find your content relevant to them, which means more follows and shares. More likely than not, if your social media content is authentic and passionate, users will have an easier time relating.
Manage your profiles effectively. Staying on top of all the major platforms is required for staying relevant on social media. But you also need to tailor each platform to the general identity of the social media website being used. Unlike Twitter, which should be used for short posts, Facebook is better suited for more in-depth information about your small business. If you just copy and paste the same social media identity onto each of the different platform, users will be disinterested.
Speaking of different social media platforms, beware of overextending yourself. Certain platforms will yield better returns than others, so it’s important to evaluate where your efforts should be focused. Different social media platforms generate different results depending on the type of business you run and your specific goals for social media. Snapchat has a much younger user demographic, so don’t waste your time creating a presence there if your small business targets seniors, for example.
Don’t overpromote your products. Social media users want to communicate and engage, so it’s important to stay on top of that. Understand and address the needs of your customers instead of only advertising products. By staying engaged with users, your business will learn customer preferences, maintain a loyal customer following, and build a wider userbase.
Post interesting content, don’t be afraid to go outside the box. Many businesses forget that text posts aren’t the only way to spread information about your business. In fact, posting pictures and videos are often more likely to entice users. Instagram and Twitter are the key social media platforms to post interesting or even funny images or videos. By showing that your small business has personality, users will be more likely to return.
Video content is an especially popular marketing strategy among social media profiles for businesses. Start creating videos and see what works in generating views. Instagram and Twitter are great platforms as their biggest demographics often seek out media content rather than simple text.
- Keep it short. Social media users tend to stay away from longer videos, so try to keep the timeframe within 90 seconds or less. Your small business should post videos that are concise and to the point, don’t add buffer content in your videos for the sake of adding time. Users expect videos to get the message across immediately.
- Make your videos look professional. Invest in lighting, sound, and camera equipment to produce high quality content. Your small business should avoid giving off an amateur impression, and users are more driven toward professional content.
- Animation is a welcomed video style and could add personality to your business. Your company isn’t required to produce animated videos, and some business are better suited for them than others. With the right stock video, background music, and editing software, animation can expand your social media video production array.
Social media services recognize the limitless business potential and are actively updating their platforms to include more business tools to expand sales. Facebook provides in-depth analytical tools for your business to go through the reach of your content. It shows statistics such as number of likes, where they come from, and what posts people are responding to.
Analytical tools are an essential resource for small business owners to go learn what works with their business, and what needs to change. Additionally, Facebook offers a wide variety of advertisement delivery methods for your products. This means it’s easier than ever to embed appealing ads within your business’s Facebook page. Likewise, Instagram recently added a feature to embed product links within posts, meaning a simple tap on any Instagram picture will reveal a link to buy your product.
Don’t be afraid to automate your social media presence:
Business owners have a number of tools at their disposal to help maintain scheduled social media posting. Tools like Buffer or Facebook’s scheduler can store pre-made posts that release over pre-planned days and times. Plan out the right moments for your business to post on social media platforms. It’s extremely easy to create an entire month’s worth of social media posts in only a few hours, so you can manage your businesses efficiency. Social media content should be produced in batches, in order to better maintain focus on all ends of your small business.
Ian is a student of Business at the Honors College at the University of Alabama.
Contact Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org
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