The Truth About Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
Social media marketing is no longer a new or groundbreaking tactic for businesses. The tools are evolving and new ones are entering the scene. Regardless, social media marketing is a staple for most businesses.
As a small business owner, you might be wondering how you can fit social media marketing on your to-do list. A social media marketing plan needs:
a marketing strategy
It can seem daunting but can definitely be worth the work. You don’t need to hire for this role or create accounts on every platform available to be successful. There are many benefits to social media marketing for small businesses
Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses
You can reach a large audience. Around seven in ten Americans use social media, according to Pew Research. The majority of the country is using some form of social media to connect, engage and share with others. The platforms provide access to a huge audience in a very simple way.
It’s a fun way to shape your brand. Social media gives you the opportunity to use content to build and share your brand. It is a direct-to-customer form of brand marketing. Is your tone with customers fun and light? Use social media to make puns about an upcoming promotion. If your tone is formal, take to the social media channels to share Friday Facts about your products.
You can increase website traffic. If executed right, social media marketing will drive an audience to your website. Promoting blog posts or updated website information on your social channels is a good way to do this. It gives your audience a clear path to your website.
Followers will keep you top of mind. Most social media users log into their social channels at least once a day. If you are regularly posting or start social media campaigns then you’re bound to reach them. You can stay top of mind so when they do need your services they will think of you first.
You can have valuable engagement. Putting your business on social media will help you stay close to your audience. You can engage with them in a way that’s not possible offline via comments, likes and direct messages. A great example of this is an answering service through social media. Your followers will get a quick answer and feel valued.
These five benefits are a few examples of why you might want to use social media marketing. However, even though there are benefits to social networks, not every channel is right for you.
Questions to Help Evaluate Channels/Opportunities
Before developing a social media marketing plan, you need to evaluate your opportunities. This will save you time, energy and resources in the long run. Use these questions to make an informed decision about what tools (if any) are right for your business.
Do we have the time and resources? Social media marketing and management take time and effort if you want it to have an actual impact. You need to be realistic if you, or someone on your team, have the time to keep up with it as a social media manager. If not, are you able to clear up some time for an individual?
What is your budget? Creating a social media account does not cost anything. However, if you want to do marketing then you need to set aside some dollars. Social media marketing is possible on a tight budget, but you do need to maximize each dollar spent. So you want to do the marketing where you’ll best reach your audience.
Where is my audience? For the best ROI, you want to put the most effort forth on the most relevant channel. Most people are on many channels, but not every channel is appropriate for all types of marketing. There are many details to dig into for each channel, but at-a-glance, use this as a (very truncated) guide:
Facebook, Instagram: To reach individual consumers making buying decisions for themselves (ie. retail)
LinkedIn: To reach individuals or businesses looking for professional services (ie. employment)
Twitter: To reach individuals with news or information (ie. new blog post)
What can I share on social? Social media for small businesses is about being transparent. You are giving your customers an inside look into your business. If you have certain business areas that are sensitive, social media may not be the right platform for you.
Ask yourself these questions before you get started. And if you do feel social media marketing is the right answer for your business, then gear up for a fun, new world!
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