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Social media is the way of the future – but sometimes it is hard to keep up. If you are a small business owner, knowing how to leverage social media is essential in the 21st century. In order to build success, it’s important to know how to navigate all of the latest social media tools. 

Getting started with social media doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult. With these 7 simple tips, small businesses can expand their customer base, increase brand awareness, and start driving sales. Taking the time to read the best social media marketing books can also help you get well on your way to becoming an expert.

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Have a Solid Plan

If you don’t have a detailed plan, you’ll have no clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish, nor will you be able to measure the results. 

Start by setting up clear objectives. You have to make sure that these objectives are based on metrics that’ll have a tangible impact on your brand. For instance, instead of simply increasing the number of likes, aim to increase your conversion rates.

Next, take a look at what your competition is doing. This doesn’t mean you should imitate your competitors, but knowing how they’re using their social media and engaging with the audience can give you an idea of what is working and what is not for other businesses in your niche. 

Finally, create a social media calendar. This will help you stay organized and deliver the right content to the right network at the right time. When creating your content calendar, follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the content you create should aim to educate, entertain, or inform your target audience, while the remaining 20% should serve to sell your product/service or promote your brand.

Start Small

Many small business owners think they have to be present on all social networks, producing blogs, podcasts, and videos on a regular basis. This is a mistake as spreading yourself thin can only dilute your efforts. 

The best way is to start small, with only one or two key networks, learning them really well, and then growing from there. After all, quality should always come before quantity. As long as you are reaching people who are interested, turning them into fans, and getting them engaged, you can rest assured that your social media strategy is effective!

Identify Your Target Audience

Social media allows highly-specific targeting, which is one of the main reasons why it’s so effective for businesses. But in order to be able to target your audience, you first need to know who they are.

Begin by collecting data on your existing customers. Then, combine this information with data obtained from social media analytics in order to build a picture of who is engaging with you and buying your products.

Once you identify your audience and get an understanding of who they are, you can review your social media strategy and adjust it in order to be able to reach more people like them.

Share Attractive Visuals

Visuals on socials have the power to drive action. Over 50% of Gen Z and millennial internet users base their most fashionable purchases on images they saw on social platforms.

Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram are visual-first networks, so if your content isn’t visually appealing, users won’t stop scrolling in order to read what you have to say. 

The good news is, every business can use images and videos to tell a compelling story. If you don’t know where to begin, consider showcasing your company culture through images from the office. You can also use images of your customers to demonstrate how they use your products or services.

Stay Engaged

One of the greatest advantages of social media is that it allows businesses to talk to their followers and customers directly and nurture relationships with them. Over 40% of online shoppers use social platforms to research new products and brands. 

When someone engages with your ads or organic content, you should engage back. This will help establish trust and build relationships that could turn into sales.

You could also use social media to build relationships with industry influencers and other entrepreneurs in your field. When it comes to leveraging influencer marketing, opt for micro-influencers (those that have around 10k followers). These influencers are often within the budget range of small businesses and are perfect to help you build brand trust. 

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Pay to Play

Boosting your social media posts is a marketing technique that can help increase the number of people that see your content. The concept is very simple: you pay to have your posts appear as sponsored content on non-followers’ timelines in order to gain more exposure. The more you pay, the more people see your posts.

According to experts, boosting a post to your existing social media followers has a greater ROI than trying to reach people who have never heard of your brand. 

Measure and Adjust

As you execute your social media marketing strategy, it is important to monitor in order to see what’s working and what isn’t. Rely on social media analytics to get an idea of whether your social efforts are yielding results and track the metrics that matter the most to you.

Then, you can adjust and refine your efforts in order to improve your results. Use A/B testing to make small changes that increase your success over time.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the size of your business, social media can help you to connect with your target audience, expand your customer base, and boost your brand awareness. If the possibilities seem overwhelming, remember that you don’t have to do it all. Start small, using 1-2 social networks, and build your social media efforts over time.

Ultimately, the best social media marketing strategies are the ones that you can do consistently and that work for your target customers. 

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