Social media can be what truly sets a business apart from the stereotype of the large, faceless corporation. It’s also why social media marketing can be such a powerful tool for any business. To successfully market through media platforms. A business needs to understand its customers and the basics of how well social media marketing works.
Start by choosing the right Social media platform
Social network platforms abound, so how do you choose the right one? Even the most tech-challenged small business owner has probably heard of the biggies: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Big corporations may have a marketer dedicated to each platform. But if you’re a small business owner it can be difficult to do it all.
Instead of spreading your efforts too thin over more platforms than you can manage, start by identifying the platform that’s the best fit for your business.
Here are the basics you should keep in mind:
- Choose the social media networks that is most likely to reach your target audience. This will be the one where your customers spend most of their social time online. It may be Facebook, Twitter, or an industry-specific platform.
- Be sure you understand the purpose of the platform. Is it a social meeting place for people likely to be interested in your product or service? A professional forum? The platform’s purpose will direct how you market on it.
- How much time will you need to invest in building your presence on this platform in order to have the greatest impact?
For many small businesses, social communication like Facebook is the most approachable platform, as well as the easiest to use.
Create your social communication profile
In the stone age of marketing, companies used to create paper media kits that told the story of their business. Marketers would customize the kit with different tidbits of information based on who they were sending it to at the time — customers, an industry journalist, vendors, investors, etc. but the bones remained the same. Your social utility profile is the modern version of that media kit.
Creating a solid, engaging, and personable profile is critical and if you’ll be working across multiple platforms, you should customize your profile for each. The basics that you include, however, should remain constant. Always include in your social media profile these essentials:
- Description of your company — Keep it concise yet creative. This should briefly explain who you are, what you do, where you’re located and the geographic area you serve.
- Hours of operation — Have you ever logged onto a really great-looking website full of impressive images and engaging copy that made you just want to rush out and go to that store or restaurant? What happened when you couldn’t find the hours of operation anywhere on the site? Did you take your business elsewhere? This is a very basic profile element that too often gets overlooked.
- Images — Include your social media logos and at least one image that’s representative of your business.
Remember, your social media profiles should be personable yet professional, informative yet friendly.
Quality content is king in Social media Marketing
Social media users may come to your page because they’ve found you through an online search, they’ve done business with you in the past, or someone recommended your small business to them. But in order to grow that initial contact into a vibrant, profitable online relationship, you need to continually offer quality content that will keep them coming back.
Keep these essential tips in mind to create content that’s king:
- You’re building your brand and relationships, not just selling products and services. Avoid too much salesmanship. It’s OK to use social media to alert people to special offers or sales, but if all you ever do is talk about yourself, they’ll soon grow bored.
- Social media is about having conversations. Remember, you’re not just on the social platform to tell customers about your business. You’re also there to hear what they think about it and what they want from you. Your content should encourage conversation and provide opportunities for commentary from your customers.
- Grammar and punctuation count. Read enough social media posts and you might begin to think that good English isn’t really necessary for online success. But your interactive multimedia activity speaks directly to who you are as a small business; poor grammar and punctuation, or dull and dreary writing, create an image that’s less than polished and professional.
- Imagine your mother reading it. Run your social media activity through the ultimate litmus test — would you be embarrassed to have your mother read it? If you post content that’s fun, engaging, informative, useful, and respectful, your mother will be proud of you. Never shame her by being discourteous to your customers, or by posting content that is embarrassingly dull or aggressively sales.
Now that you know the basics of quality content for social media
here are some ideas for the type of content that can help build your brand, engage your customers, and drive sales:
- New product information. If you’re offering a new product or launching a new service, that’s legitimate news you can share with your customers online. Remember to be concise and accurate in your description, and make sure to help readers understand how this new product or service can benefit them.
- Announce promotions. Everyone likes a deal, and most people like a deal, even more, when they feel it’s exclusive. Social media is a great way to offer exclusive promotions or to publicize special sales. For example, offering to email a discount coupon to everyone who shares today’s post rewards them for their part in your ongoing networking websites.
- Tips or advice. Just as people like a deal, they also want “news they can use.” Share the benefits of your expertise with your social media followers. For example, if you run a lawn care business, in spring share your expertise on what people should do now to help set up their lawns for a great summer. If you operate a dry cleaner, post stain-removal tips that people can use at home — and remind them at the end that you’re available to help with any laundry problems they can’t solve on their own.
- Customer surveys and feedback. People want to be heard, and this fundamental truth of human nature is one of the reasons why social media has experienced such phenomenal growth. Use your social media presence to solicit and gather valuable information and opinions from your customers. Conduct an online survey regarding how people use your product or service. Ask for feedback on a new product or for some guidance during product development. This approach not only gives you valuable insight into what your customers are thinking, but it also communicates to them that you care what they think.
Importance of social media:
The power of social media to reach vast numbers of consumers, yet still allow marketers to target specific demographic groups, is impressive. When you consider that social media marketing is also one of the lowest-cost forms of marketing, its value to small businesses can’t be overstated.
By the way, did I mention that all of this will help with your SEO?
Need help navigating all of this and want an expert in your corner? Contact us and we’ll make you shine!