Social media is a great marketing tool, and with the right approach, your business can gain a lot of great exposure. But it will be hard to get all of the advantages when you first start off because you probably won’t have the following that those bigger businesses already do. That’s why social media marketing (SMM) is so important for small businesses because there are still ways to get more market share.
This article will teach you social media marketing 101 and explain how small business owners can succeed with social media marketing in 2022 and beyond.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
SMM is the process of using social media platforms to promote and sell your products, services, and brand as a whole. It’s a form of digital marketing that uses social media channels for advertising your business in order to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, generate leads for your sales team, and build customer loyalty.
In the simplest terms, it’s all about connecting with people by sharing valuable content that helps them feel like they know you better. With so many dynamic ways to reach out and engage with customers on social media today, it’s essential for businesses, both new and old, to have an active presence on these platforms if they want to stay competitive and grow their following with each passing year.
Start with a Plan
A clear SMM plan will help you achieve your business goals and act as a guide on how to execute your strategy. Having a documented strategy is essential because you can refer to it at all times to ensure that everything is going smoothly.
To start with your social media marketing plan, think about why you are doing it and what your goals are. You should think about the real reason why you are using social media and how these platforms can help you achieve your business goals.
The next step would be defining your target audience, researching your competitors, defining your USP (unique selling point), setting objectives, thinking about which platforms will be best for your business, creating a content calendar, and creating a budget.
Take Advantage of Social Media Insights
So, you’ve started a social media account for your business, and now it’s time to get the word out. But what if you don’t know who to target? Not to worry! Social media insights are there to help. This is data generated by social media sites that provides information on how users interact with content posted on their sites. You can use this data to optimize your content and make sure it’s reaching the right audience.
To get started analyzing your social media insights, first take a look at where most of your followers are located and find out which age group they fall under. Next, look at what kind of content they respond best to, if they like videos or photos more, and if they prefer long-form content over short posts.
Once you have an idea of the kind of audience you’re targeting, figure out when the best time for you to post new content is (is it during work hours? On weekends?) so that you have maximum engagement with your audience when you do post something new.
Build a Community Around Your Brand
Your social media accounts are powerful tools for building a community around your brand. As you start out, it’s important to be strategic in how you approach this community. Remember that the goal is not just to secure followers. Those followers will quickly “unfollow” your brand if they feel like they are being treated as a means of generating profit instead of being valued as individuals with unique needs and desires.
It’s important to build up trust, so think about how you can create a connection between your brand and the people who follow you. Ideally, your audience should feel like they’re engaging with a person rather than an impersonal entity that only cares about making money.
Communicate with your audience
Be sure to make yourself available through direct messages or other means of contacting you privately (like an email address or phone number). Encourage customers to interact with each other by holding discussions on Facebook or Twitter, where different members of the community can easily contribute their thoughts and opinions or ask questions about the products or services provided by your business.
If a member has a problem, respond promptly, and let them know that their voice matters; offer them solutions if necessary. You can also use polls or surveys to directly ask what followers would be interested in seeing from your company moving forward: New products? Special offers? Perhaps some sort of subscription service?
Build Relationships with Brand Influencers
As a small-business owner, you should be building relationships with brand influencers. Influencers have immense power to make or break a small business’s reputation on social media. For example, if you are running a cafe and an influencer who is known for their coffee posts about your cafe online, your potential customers will see it as an endorsement of your product.
The first step is to find influencers that are relevant to your brand and follow them on social media. Then engage with them, comment on their posts, and share their content. Next, create branded content that will appeal to the influencer and include them in your social media strategies by tagging or mentioning them in posts. Lastly, reach out directly and develop relationships with relevant influencers so they will want to work with you in the future.
Create Unique Content for Each Platform
As the saying goes, content is king. To create content that engages your audience, you’ll need to make sure it’s relevant, shareable, and consistent. You’ll also want to ensure that your content is optimized for each platform.
This means that each post should be tailored to the audience and voice of each platform individually. For instance, a tweet with a link to one of your blog posts will not perform as well as a Facebook post with a link because Twitter users are more likely to skim through posts than Facebook users.
Publish Regularly and Consistently
When it comes to social media marketing, there’s one thing that everyone should know: post regularly and consistently. The best social media marketers are the ones who follow this mantra. Posting regularly simply means that you post a certain number of times per week or per day. In addition to posting regularly, you also want to make sure that you’re publishing your posts at a consistent time every day or every week.
For example, if you have a company blog that you post on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon, then readers will be able to count on seeing new content from you on those days and at that time. On the other hand, if some weeks your blog posts go live at 11 a.m., other weeks it’s 1 p.m., and other weeks it’s 3 p.m., then your readers won’t know what to expect from you and they might start looking elsewhere for their information needs!
Regularity is important in part because it helps establish yourself as an authority within your industry; people will come to trust that they can rely on you as a source of information because they can count on seeing new content from you when they expect to see it. However, regularity is not the only thing that matters when it comes to posting frequency, quality matters just as much (if not more).
Sure, posting 10 fluff pieces in one week might seem like a good idea in the short term, but chances are those articles won’t be very helpful or informative; they probably won’t help increase traffic either!
Your goal should always be quality over quantity when creating content for your business blog or social media pages since quality pieces are much more likely than fluff pieces to attract customers who will bring value for years down the road rather than just bringing traffic once.
Create Shareable Content
One of the best ways to get people to share your content is to make it shareable. This might seem obvious, but many brands forget that people have very little interest in sharing content that is uninteresting or irrelevant.
By creating content your audience will want to share, you increase the likelihood that they’ll spread your message for you. Your audience might not always be in the mood for a blatant advertisement, but if you create something interesting or entertaining, they may still be inclined to share it with their friends and followers.
Remember: your company page isn’t the only place where people can find and interact with your marketing messages. You can also capture fans and customers by publishing content on Facebook and Twitter that users want to share with their networks.
Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to boost your SMM. UGC is content created by your fans and followers. It can showcase the features of your product or service in a relatable, authentic way that elicits trust from potential customers.
Make Your Posts Interactive
Social media is a great way to interact with your audience and get new followers, but it’s important to make sure you engage people. Some ways you can increase engagement on social media are:
- Share polls, ask questions and create call-to-action buttons.
- Host contests and giveaways.
- Use Instagram Stories and the Live feature on Facebook and Instagram.
- Use hashtags, titles, emojis, gifs, videos, images, quotes, etc.
Analyze and Review Your Results
The final step of your social media marketing strategy is to analyze and review your results. Now that you’ve launched your campaign on social media, it’s important to measure its results and understand how the campaign performed.
This will help you know if you need to adjust anything or whether your SMM strategy is working successfully. If so, you can use the data from this campaign to inform future strategies as well. It’s also a great way for you to show others in your organization just how effective social media can be for your business!
Stay current with your social media presence, embrace analytics, and continue to improve
The work is never really done.
Just remember, once you get into it, social media marketing for small businesses is an ongoing process. You’re never finished; the most successful companies continue to set goals for themselves and keep growing. So don’t think of this as some project where you finally reach a finish line; think of it as part of your overall business plan that will take time and effort but will also have countless benefits.
So, now that you understand it takes time to gain traction on social media, how do you know what’s worth your time? How do you know if something isn’t working or if something needs improvement? And when do you know when to stop working on a failing channel?
Fortunately, all these platforms come with analytics. Embrace them!
Social media marketing is a must for businesses that want to grow online. By creating an SMM plan, working with influencers, and taking advantage of the analytics tools available, businesses can build an engaged community and reach new heights.