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Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses

Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses

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Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses

Four necessary actions you can take to harness the power of social media. Encourage growth online and generate leads.

Are you struggling with social media and connecting to online customers? Do you know how to find customers and engage with them? Does your business even use social media? It can be difficult and frustrating trying to navigate online customers and grab attention. In today’s market social media has exploded as a source of customers who give you access directly to them. Small businesses, however, can overreach or be ineffective when it comes to advertising. It’s important that you be competitive with your products online. 

You may be wondering whether social media is really worth the hassle, and we believe it is. The best part of social media is its feature to bring customers to a specific product of their needs. Your company can use analytics and key phrases to track down new customers. Even if your industry relies heavily on word of mouth, companies are using their social media presence to establish a relationship with the customer. Better yet, you can build a loyal following that can act as a brand advocate for you. The key is starting off small and knowing who your target is.

Start using these 4 tactics in your company social media and the clicks will start to turn into leads. Start letting your social media become a tool to generate more value for your products and services. You will begin to smother the competition. 

Find Where Your Audience Is

When using a social media platform, one of the first things to consider is where your customers are located. An older customer is typically on Facebook, and younger customers tend to stick to Instagram and Twitter. You should idealize the perfect customer for your business by asking some simple questions:

  1. What gender is your customer?
  2. What age range is your customer?
  3. How much does your ideal customer earn?
  4. Where is your customer located? (physically how close are they)
  5. What are they interested in that your company can offer?
  6. What problems can your company solve for them?

You should also be thinking about the best time of the day to reach a customer when posting content. For instance, if you are thinking of a customer who has kids should you be posting content after 6 pm? No, you shouldn’t because that customer is probably busy getting their child into bed. Simple customer profiles like this can help you narrow down your scope of social media. Also, it is better to post during the work week than it is during the weeked. It is because during the weekend customers are either spending time with their family or busy with a special activity. It is critical for small businesses as yours to be targeting local members of your community. 

A COMPANY DOES NOT HAVE TO ENGAGE ON EVERY PLATFORM. NOR DO YOU NEED TO JUMP TO ANY NEW SOCIAL MEDIA THAT COMES UP. UNDERSTANDING A PLATFORM IS KEY TO SUCCESS.

How would a customer in your area get to your service? You can use social media to localize your content. Share and post content that is affecting your area. This will help you establish authority on google and gain traction by starting small. Know the best time to post on social media for your customers, not Friday night during a football game.

Another piece of the puzzle to consider is how you are going to get someone’s attention. Platforms operate differently and reward you for different things. A viral word post on Facebook does not guarantee success on Instagram. Noticeably, Twitter forces your company to be more precise and accurate with limited characters. You should incorporate pictures into your post that will be eye-catching. Your image should be tailored to your potential customer. You can use free images from pixabay to accompany your posts or you can use tasteful photos of products and services. Again, this depends on the platform. Instagram is a great tool to share highly stylized photos or videos of your product. 

Branding is where you first must start when considering a post. How does your social media post further your goal? You don’t need social media that only garners likes and views but actual purchases. You need exact branding, steady posting, and a stable content schedule to stand out on your platform. Exposure can be great but you can also measure a marketing campaign by the number of dollars spent vs. how many sales were made. You will also want to calendar your posts out.

For instance, you can do this on a month by month basis or three months. Make sure that it is consistent though. People who resell clothes online do this often by having specific dates of the month for “watch parties” in which they show off clothes. These repeating watch parties allow customers to prepare for the sale and they can even have Facebook notify them every time there is a watch party. It sets clear expectations between customer and seller.

One last thing about the example above. Most of the time those customers are responded to in real time about purchases or questions. This happens either during the video or right after in the comments of Facebook. Customers love this responsiveness. If you can implement this in the future it can help you lock down customers faster. Set time aside or have a dedicated employee ready to respond to customers.

Content is King

You need to have a social media strategy going forward when you post. The content of your post should be tailored to your strategy. What is your strategy though? Since you are going to go through multiple marketing campaigns it’s also good to have different goals. Goals such as trying to gain more followers, customers to purchase more products, sign up for an email list, respond to a call to action, or broadcast an inspiring story.  

Let’s say you want to gain more followers on one of your platforms. You could create a social media post saying that if you got ten members to join your company Facebook page you could get five dollars off their next purchase. Or maybe you could do a drawing or raffle that will be aired on your Instagram story. Find creative ways to incorporate social media into showing what you are best at. For example, maybe you sell t-shirts and hold a contest on your Facebook for the best design. You can start to build a community around that contest and even use it as a way to show local support for the artist in your area. You can then build your branding around that identity, that your company is a center of community art for local customers.  

Another common tactic is to find the single best thing your company is good at and then showcasing that in social media. You can take this in a number of ways. You could compare this item or service to your competitors or you could show how the process is done. This can help you establish authority and a relationship with a customer. Whatever content you put out, it should be inviting to customers. It should draw them in and make them curious. Not clickbait but something of real value and worth. Customers often report that clickbait feels worthless and are less likely to trust a small business in the future.

Most importantly, you should position your customer at the heart of your company story. When you position your customers on social media as the hero of their own story they feel as if you are helping them rather than just selling them a product. You can do this by positioning your language as “helping you.” Telling inspiring stories about how you have helped customers, but also telling personal stories of your co-workers. When dealing with small business customers like to know they are helping someone like themselves. Local following is key to thriving and growing as a business.

As mentioned earlier, your social media should set clear expectations on what your customers will experience when interacting with your business. That means your social media presence should state the ways to contact a business, who they will be interacting with, and how long processes should take. This uniformity throughout all of your social media platforms will send a clear and concise message about how your business conducts itself.

Research Your Competition and Test Your Social Media

If you have not already, you should audit your social media. How is your standing on your best platform? What is your position on your worst platform? How many followers do you have and what is your response rate? If you are just starting out on social media, take a look at your statistics three months from now. This will help you take immediate stock of your local clientele and those in other locations. Not only that, but you can tailor your social media goal to what you are working with at the moment.

With a limited customer base, competition can be fierce online. You are going to need to look at what your competition is doing online and find out what they do best. Are they good at crafting interesting posts? Do they have a clever call to actions that get users commenting on a post? Do their website and social media work seamlessly together? You DO NOT want to copy them, but you do want to be competitive. Find out what is working for them and see how you can beat or match their marketing power. 

You should study posts that get the most engagement or have great calls to action. Also, study their faults so you can have a competitive advantage. Begin your test of social media services in areas where your opponents are weak in. This should be an ongoing process that you study every couple of months. It helps you stay competitive and makes sure you are not left behind. 

During the course of your business you will want to try out new tactics during the year. This could be a holiday marketing campaign or marketing for a special event. How do you know your strategy is working? How do you better your strategy for next year? Testing your effectiveness based on your specific social media campaign goal is vital for adapting to the market.  

There are a couple ways to execute this. The simplest method is to have your customer fill out a survey that you put on social media. However, you will need to incentivise the customer to take the survey. You could have your potential customer be put in a drawing, hand out coupons, or turn it into a competition. 

Questions should be specific to the goals of your marketing campaign. They should also be simple. We recommend a couple of “Yes/No” questions at the end of the survey and letting the customer answer the open ended questions first. For instance, your questions could look something like this.

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  1. How many times did you see this ad?
  2. What social media platform do you most use?
  3. Did the social media ad help you make a purchase?
  4. Did you like the ad the first time you saw it?
  5. Where can we improve our product on social media?
  6. Would you shop with us again?
  7. Was our website easy?

Again, your survey should be personalized. You also want to optimize it to be taken on mobile as most users view social media on their phone. If you have an email list you can also send out surveys to existing customers. We highly recommend this as a pool of loyal customers can give you an in depth look at your consumer base. 

Another important aspect is to test your social media platforms against each other. Does instagram get more likes and shares, but Facebook leads to more purchases? These are key insights that can allow you to make an informed decision on where to spend most of your energy. You should be compiling this data in a spreadsheet so you can track over time.

Platforms like when you share and interact with others. If you are just starting out it may be good to use the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the time you share content to inform your customers or entertain them. This can be done by sharing local news stories about your town or events going on. You can also share interesting content related to your industry. 20 percent of the time you directly try to sell the product to the customer. This rule can help you gain followers and not seem like “just another company trying to sell me something.” Get creative with it, make a post about how your company is helping the community or how important your industry is. 

If you do not have time to invest in this process consider hiring a marketing firm that runs your social media platform. An expert can provide you with the tools and send you the feedback from the survey so you can worry more about other things.

Social Media Analytics

Our final tip is to be looking at your social media analytics on each site. Each social media platform offers different analytics to measure different rates of activity. For example, Twitter automatically recommends including a picture or GIF when a company posts. Why is that? Twitter’s platform relies heavily on going viral and content that has funny messages along with a photo. Companies can use simple tricks such as that to start to gain traction. This isn’t just related to humor as you can post pictures of your products or services to gain traction. 

Social media analytics can measure how many likes a post gets, how many clicked or saw your article, how much time they watched a video, who bought a product, and how your target audience responds.  There are other useful tools such as GeoTagging in which you can search a hashtag or phrase from anywhere in the world. If you want to know what customers are saying in your area on Twitter or Instagram, you can. This can be useful if you are testing a marketing campaign in a specific area. You can also use GeoTagging if you are launching an exclusive item in a certain location. Apps like Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social can help you keep track of all your social media activity. It takes a lot of the hassle out of posting on multiple platforms. 

If a post is doing well locally you may want to boost it with an ad. Using something such as Facebook Pixel can help you break into markets and track how well a product is doing.  You may choose different strategies for an ad based on the product. You could blast an ad to a large audience but only for a short time as it could be a limited offer. The important thing though is to keep track of your analytics, but also use them to drive engagement with your followers. You will also want to categorize your engagement by month throughout the year. The more data you can gather the more prepared you can be for future months. It’s that consistency you can build upon.

On some platforms you can break down your influence by city, this is extremely helpful for small businesses as you can heavily target your area. All of your marketing metrics should focus on how you are completing your social media goal. When an ad is done make sure to take a look at the types of people who looked at your post. You can find a whole new demographic. Again, the most important thing about analytics is the data you can put to use. Always be tracking how your business and social media platforms change over time. You can also hire out your social media presences to a company that can track that for you.

What Are You Looking For?

Now that you have read our tips on how to become better at social media you may be wondering how you can implement all of those things. However, we have a solution for you. At Dock Line Magazine we have the knowledge, tools, and staff to give you outstanding  social media. We believe that our marketing company can drive the results you want for your business. You just need to worry about the rest of your business. Schedule today for a consultation on how we can help you.

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