Social media platforms are a great opportunity for businesses, big or small, to attract relevant customers, increase market reach, and develop their brands.
But small businesses falter in utilizing the social media features to their advantage. The biggest mistakes they make include, failing to identify who their customers are, which channels to target, and how to engage their audience. The majority of them are unaware of the native analytics or how to automate their post schedules.
Your marketing is a success when your audience is loving and engaging with your content on social media.
1. Start with a plan
It is easy to set up a profile and get started on social media. But before you jump on the bandwagon, invest time and effort in making a strategy.
The crucial aspect of any social media strategy is to set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. Some of the goal types are-
Increase brand awareness
Drive traffic to the website
Generate new leads
Boost brand engagement
Once you are clear about your goals, it is now time to figure out how you can achieve this through social media.
What is a SMART goal in social media?
A SMART goal is a structured strategy. If implemented properly, it can help small businesses succeed on social media platforms.
Specific- Plan your social media strategy specifically to meet the goal.
Measurable- Set a threshold for your goal so that you can measure it and analyze the results.
Achievable-Your strategy is to set a goal that is realistic and achievable.
Relevant- The objective should be relevant to your brand. Know why you are setting up the goal and if its fits into your business strategy.
Time-bound- Set specific timeframes to achieve your goals. Your strategies should be aimed at achieving the goal within those periods.
Define a planned strategy
Social media is not just about posting content. It is about putting together a strategy to achieve the goal. Some of them you can implement toward your goal are-
Using visual content regularly
Promoting content on different social media platforms
Posting user-generated content
Planning strategies involve some basic tasks such as understanding the audience, researching competitors, setting up a schedule, and conducting a social media audit. Research your audience and competitor platforms. You will get enough ideas to plan and implement.
2. Decide the right platform
Instagram and TikTok are popular social media channels. But is it right for your business? Every social media channel is different and you have to decide which is best for your business. Instagram is heavy on visual content, TikTok offers short-form visual content, LinkedIn is best for professional networking, Facebook is great for shopping enthusiasts, Twitter is good for short-form content, and YouTube is best for video blogging.
If yours is a B2B business, using Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest makes sense. Similarly, if you are targeting a young audience, everything is on Instagram and TikTok for you. Understand the user demographics for your products. Age, location, gender, and interests should be a consideration to help you decide on the right social media platforms for your business.
3. Optimize your social media profile
Just as you optimize your website for better visibility and higher ranking, the same holds true for social media profiles. Facebook, Instagram, or any other platform gives you ample features to make your social media profile strong and searchable. From contact information, website URL, keywords in the description, category type, and CTAs to pinning posts, read through the techniques and make sure you enforce them onto your profile to increase visibility and attract the right audience.
4. Know your audience
You are on social media for your audience. You post what your followers like to get more engagement.
Understanding the needs and interests of your audience is essential for an effective social media strategy. Collect data from your website about the interests and preferences of your customers. Create buyer personas to understand how to reach the audience.
5. Monitor trends
It is crucial for digital marketers and brands to stay in tune with changing trends on social media. Followers consume content that is relevant to the latest trends. For instance, memes, live streams, and podcasts are becoming popular and attracting a larger audience. Be open to changes in your strategies.
Accommodate and experiment to see if your audiences are lapping up the content. You never know which of your strategies will reward you.
6. Follow the competition
What’s the fun in business without competition! Follow your competitor’s actions on social media closely. If they are having more followers than you, it is time to study their strategies for follower engagement.
A competitive analysis will help you to identify points where you need improvement. More importantly, it will give you content creation ideas because your audience and your competitor’s audience are the same.
7. Post varied content
Don’t bore your followers by posting the same content each day. Bring variations in it. Undeniably, content is the king! Good content engages the audience and attracts new followers.
Share some behind-the-scenes videos, trending memes, team photos, or community event snippets. The idea is to get as real as possible and make a personal connection with the followers. Don’t keep it too professional. Show them your human side to make them more relatable.
8. Use the hashtag feature
No one dare discredit the importance of hashtags! They are everywhere on social media, and for a reason.
Hashtag helps you to increase visibility and reach the target audience. When using hashtags on social media platforms such as Instagram, mix general and specific hashtags. Niche hashtags do not get volume but attract the right audience. Using general hashtags gets you a good number of impressions but they aren’t too specific to your brand.
9. Make good use of social media features
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest are all similar yet different. Each has its own USP and they offer a number of features to users for brand promotion. Reels, Stories, Feeds, short videos, carousel images, filters, hashtags, location, and tagging, use features that accentuate your goal.
10. Create more visual content
In the United States, 85 percent of internet users consume video material on a monthly basis on any of their devices. In fact, users spend close to 7 hours a week watching online videos. Social media platforms give you a good opportunity to create, post, and share visual content to increase customer engagement. Don’t limit visual content to product videos. Create a mix of short and long videos on product reviews, testimonials, instructions, live streams, unboxing products, expert interviews, and many more. Repurpose lengthy videos by creating snippets and posting them on social media.
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11. Respond to user comments
Respond to comments and direct messages to increase follower engagement. People curious to know about your products comment on posts or message you directly on your profile. Always respond to your followers in a timely manner.
Set aside a few hours in a day or two to look into user comments. It will help you build trust and increase your community engagement.
Some useful tips to build relationships on social media-
Respond to DMs and comments as soon as possible.
Retweet or repost relevant content
Use social media for customer service inquiries
Look into complaints and reviews.
12. Post consistently
It’s of no use if you put 2-3 posts a day and do not check your profile for weeks together after that. Be Consistent in posting content. Interact with your followers continuously for increased brand awareness. Social media algorithms reward accounts that engage their followers on a regular basis. You may not get results at first. It takes weeks or months before you start gaining a steady stream of followers.
13. Try sponsored advertisements
Other than the organic reach, social media is also a good platform to promote your brand through paid advertisement or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. The social media channels such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are making advertising accessible to small businesses. The benefit of sponsored ads is that brands can plan their spending based on budget. Targeting and retargeting are other advantages to reaching a niche audience. Again, the paid ad strategy has to be based on your marketing goal. Is it to increase website traffic, convert leads, get more followers, or sell products? Influencer-generated content and display ads are all examples of paid social media.
14. Use CTAs
Call To Action (CTA) buttons is like telling viewers what you expect them to do.
Call To Action (CTA) buttons and links are important to generate leads through social media. For example, Swipe Up, Tap to Shop, Visit the Link in the Bio, and Visit our Website are social media CTAs to guide users to the landing page or sign-up page on your e-commerce store.
15. Post at the best time
It is proved that posting at certain times of the day leads to better engagement. But these are general timings and the best way forward is to experiment by posting at different times of the day and analyze which time slot works for you.
8:00 am on Mondays and Thursdays for Twitter
9:00 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for LinkedIn
11:00 am on Wednesdays for Instagram
8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Facebook.
10:00 am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in general for any social media.
As you start posting consistently and analyze the results, you will be able to derive your posting schedule to fit your specific audience behavior.
16. Ask for customer feedback
If you’re in business, you know the value of customer feedback. They help you to know what’s on your customers’ minds.
Encourage customers to leave their feedback and suggestions on your products or services. It will help you understand user needs. You can work on improving your products from a customer’s perspective.
17. hare user-generated content (UGC)
Customers are your brand advocates. They give you genuine feedback on products. Share customer testimonials on your social media account as social proof. People trust products when they are referred to by customers rather than the brand.
18. Create a social media calendar
Digital marketers or brand managers always have their hands full. But social media demands time. The best solution is to plan posts and schedule them with the help of third-party social media scheduling and automation tools. Tools such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Sprinklr enable brands to create posts and schedule them ahead of time. You can also integrate various social media platforms into one tool to align your content strategy. You can also use automated chatbots to respond to user queries and route only the necessary ones to you.
19. Analyze results
As you keep putting efforts into implementing your social media strategy, it is equally necessary to track what works and what doesn’t. It’s time for the results!
Every social media platform provides data to give you a picture of the results of your efforts. These metrics are the lifeline for small businesses to test their strategies, analyze the data, and rework the ones that aren’t giving the desired results. Make different sets of A/B campaigns and study which works best for your audience.
20. Conduct a social media audit
As you keep channelizing your efforts on social media, it is necessary to conduct an audit periodically to evaluate the brand’s profile pages and strategies. Completing an audit answers several questions about the relationship between your brand and the audience. It is also an opportunity to determine which techniques are successful and which ones need to be revised. The results will help small businesses in planning future strategies and campaigns.
No matter the size of your business, social tools can help you connect with your audience, reach new customers, and increase brand awareness. If the possibilities seem overwhelming, start small and then scale your campaigns as you understand the nuances of the individual social media platforms.
Work on these social media strategies while making sure branding is consistent to make your online marketing effective. Extend your efforts and audience as you discover what works. Indeed, social media is a great asset for small businesses wishing to improve their online presence and reputation.
1. What social media should a small business use?
You have to use social media platforms that are the best fit for your business. For instance, if you’re a B2B brand, you’ll find better results on LinkedIn and Twitter. If your product appeals to women, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok should be your top choices.
So, ask yourself-
Who are my ideal customers?
What’s my goal through social media marketing?
Your goal may be to sell, connect, or build brand awareness. You find the best social media based on your goal and use its features to achieve it.
2. How can I make my social media more positive?
Social media platforms when used constructively can help in brand growth for small businesses. Here are some ways to make your social media platform more positive-
Engage in thoughtful conversation with your followers
Post or share inspiring, informative, and educational stories
Create a balance by posting consistently and being transparent.
Use social media to raise brand awareness. It is a boon for small businesses to reach a wider audience.
3. What are the types of social media marketing?
The different types of social media marketing are-
Content creation & marketing
Advertising on social media
Reviews & feedback
Contributing to forums
If you want to raise brand awareness, don’t just focus on daily posts. Look for more creative ways to gain followers and engage with them. Find which of these types works best for your brand to optimize the results.
4. Which is the most used social media today?
The top social media marketing platforms used today are-
5. What is the best social media for business?
The best social media for business is where your followers are. If you are targeting a younger audience, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are the best. If you are connecting with professionals, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Reddit will help you in business. YouTube is good if you are looking at an audience that loves the long-form of visual content. So, it all depends on your business type and the audience demographics.