Social Media and Small Business: Tips You Need to Know
As a smaller business, plumbing the depths of the complicated social media marketing field can be distinctly intimidating. With a limited budget, and small staff numbers, how do you build your brand profile and get your name out where it counts? With these top tips for social media marketing for small business under your belt, the path to social success will look a lot smoother.
Over 4.2 billion people actively engage with social media daily, a number that’s doubled in less than five years. Each of those users spends over 2 hours a day on social media channels. There’s never been a better opportunity to build meaningful customer relationships, get your brand in the spotlight, and drive sales.
photo credit: Yan Krukov
No Plan, No Can Do
Social media seems like an easy arena to conquer. However, as with everything else in business, leaping in without a plan is the easiest way to doom your business to failure. Remember, even free social media options require you to invest time and energy, so it’s critical you have a focused plan to make the most of it.
You should be focusing on arenas that will deliver a clear return on that investment. You don’t want to aim for a platform because it’s ‘cool’, but rather because your target market hangs out there and you can meaningfully engage with them through it. Start out with some clear goals built around what will have a real impact on your brand, and construct them using the SMART system. If you already have a social media presence, now’s the time to check in with what they’re achieving for you and what is yielding the best results.
It’s always a good idea to keep on top of what the competition is doing, too. While directly copying them would be a no-no, knowing how they’re reaching customers, where it’s delivering, and learning from their mistakes is a fantastic way to hit the ground running.
Use the Right Channels
One of the worst social media marketing mistakes a small business can do is chasing trendy over what’s relevant to your consumers. Where are your audience spending their time? It doesn’t matter if Gen Z is all about TikTok if you’re selling to retirees!
Don’t just assume based on what you feel or the media says, either. Instead, turn to meaningful metrics that give real demographic information on who’s using networks, how they engage with them, and what’s working for marketing there. Don’t forget to add your own market research to this, either! It’s good to have a range of social media channels for your brand, but you also don’t want to split your efforts too far and end up wasting them. If your analytics tell you your customers are focusing on specific channels, use that to your advantage.
Know Who Buys Your Brand
Talking about which, without meaningful data under your belt, you lose the greatest feature of social marketing- the ability to micro-target those who are most interested in what you offer. Start by meaningfully compiling both your target market, and the niche target audiences within it.
Make sure you’re using the on-platform metrics and analysis to bring in further data, and dig deep. What does your audience like? What do they look like? Do they come from specific demographics and locations? This will help you keep your budget lean and your focus tight. Don’t neglect the power of buyer personas for this, either.
Build Relationships Where It Counts
Modern marketing has veered away from the older ‘hard sell’ model. You shouldn’t be beating customers over the head with products alone. You want to build meaningful relationships that establish your brand as a key part of their lifestyle, too.
Who are you as a brand? What do you stand for? Are you regularly engaging with the people who engage with you? Fans sharing and liking content, or commenting on it, is one of the best ways to rise in social algorithms, get organic traction, and gain exposure.
Don’t forget to onboard relevant authorities within your brand niche, either. Whether you’re building meaningful relationships on specialist social media sites (Vampr, for example, connects musicians globally) or seeking out influencers in your genre. Micro-influencers and nano-influencers have become an increasingly important part of the social media marketing landscape, and are often well within the budget of even the smallest companies.
Likewise, when followers generate content you can use, be it through brand hashtags or contests, you can give them a shout-out and generate goodwill.
First up, don’t take this one as an invitation to jump on every viral meme. This can backfire as easily as it can work for you. But you should be paying attention to what is trending, especially within your business niche, and making it work smartly for you. This can help you create content that’s on the ball, relevant, and interesting to your followers.
In the same vein, but thinking broadly, make sure you’re addressing customer’s needs realistically. Insurance products, for example, should be encouraging their market to update as major life stages come- having a baby, say, or retirement. Always look to create content that’s compelling for the interests of your audience.
Create Content Over Genres
Once you’ve found the right social platforms to use, don’t get hung up on one content format. Video is booming, but there’s still a ton of space for written word, infographics, and still imagery. Again, make sure you have analytics and metrics in place to track what’s resonating well with your followers, too.
A/B testing is a technique where you run two pieces of content, or two ads with different copy, against each other and measure their overall performance. When you have a clear winner, refine, test, and tweak against another piece until you find your winning formats.
Overall, social media marketing is an incredibly worthwhile route, even for the smallest of businesses. The keys lie in knowing your market, tracking your efforts through metrics and data analytics, and building meaningful relationships that help boost your brand’s bottom line.