Social Media for Small Business
How to build a social media strategy that delivers outcomes
Social media – you either love it or hate it (or love it AND hate it!!)
But what if we told you social media could help your business tap into new audiences, build brand awareness, help with lead generation and customer retention, and help you build trust and create great relationships with your target audiences?
Social media can be a powerful tool for small to medium businesses, but it takes a big commitment. Given the nature of social media, it requires lots of love and attention and a willingness to engage directly with your audience – but with a social media strategy and careful planning to streamline your activity it can become a manageable asset for your business. The key is to choose the social media strategy that’s best suited to your business, and focus only on a few social media channels – not all of them. It is better to do one or two really well then do all of them badly.
With this in mind, social media isn’t for all businesses. If your target audience isn’t hanging out there, you shouldn’t be either. It’s all about understanding who your target audience is, what their needs/wants are, and understanding and where you’re going to get the best return on investment for your marketing efforts.
With over 30 years of combined experience successfully growing our own businesses, we’ve narrowed down the formula for business success. It’s all about:
Strategy & Business Intelligence
In order to determine the most suitable social media strategy for your business we need to understand the overall business objectives and what output you need from social media to help you achieve your goals, whether that be:
- Awareness (grow following)
- Engagement with target audience so they become interested in your product
- Enhance relationship with existing customers
It’s also a good time to check out what your competitors are doing, and also your target audience to see what social channels they are active on. You want to focus on a select few rather than all the social channels.
Some of the more common ones we deal with for small business are:
Facebook is an excellent and cost-effective way to reach a large proportion of your target audience. There are 1.4 billion users on Facebook spanning all demographics and users tend to spend a decent amount of time per day on the site. It also has good targeting options to refine your activity and there are now also retargeting options to target people who have previously visited your website.
LinkedIn is the best option for B2B marketing given it is a professional networking site. It allows businesses to directly reach out to individuals within their network and beyond, and directly connect with people who are engaging with your content (via liking/commenting on your posts). LinkedIn can be especially successful when you have a strong content plan – it’s all about providing and sharing useful information to help your audience and also position yourself as an industry leader on a specific topic and provide informative resources. One of the key benefits of LinkedIn is the ability to target by interest and job function, which allows you to be very specific.
With one third of all online activity spent watching videos, there’s a good chance some of your target audience will be on YouTube. Video also has much higher engagement rates over text. Businesses can use YouTube to either share their own video content (which depending on the nature of the video can be produced at a cost-effective rate these days) or advertise on other business’ video content and channels.
One of the first steps in establishing the path forward for your social media strategy is to conduct a social media audit, which will assess all of your current social media profiles, including:
- Page / profile set up: How well do you represent your brand and image with your “about us” description, images and core messaging? How prominent is your call to action, how well are you regarded in your customer reviews, and what is your average response rate to comments/enquiries?
- Page / profile likes and followings: What is your current engagement like?
- Post frequency: How consistently are you posting/sharing information?
- Post types: What is the balance of engaging, informational, brand/product posts
- Post detail/structure: How much text do you have in your posts, and what is the style and tone?
- Fan reach & engagement: What is the % of engagement from fans?
- Traffic to website: Is your activity driving traffic to your website?
- Sales: Are your social channels driving sales? (this is an indication that you are reaching the right audience)
- Risk/reputation Management: What is the timeliness and manner in which you respond to positive and negative comments/posts?
Once your social media strategy is up and running, it needs to be continually optimised to improve over time and produce better outcomes. It’s all about planning, automating and identifying opportunities to maximise return.
Key steps in the process include:
- Content calendar: This is going to save a lot of time and effort in the long run. Your content should be relevant and complimentary to your overall marketing strategy but also specifically look at ways to build customer trust, loyalty and retention. Share content on broader topics but also specific to your company/products – for example look to share information on new ways to use your product.
- Automate posts: Use platforms such as Hootsuite to upload your posts in advance (week by week or month by month).
- Promote / boost posts: This is a good way to reach your fans and your fans’ network for minimal costs – ideal for blog posts which will drive traffic back to your website.
- Advertising Campaigns: Great way to target new audiences who aren’t specifically seeking you out
- Customer Retention Initiatives: The best way to promote customer retention on social media is to allow your customers to have a voice, respond immediately and address customer concerns publicly (not individual complaints though).
- Optimisation: This is about seeking to improve site engagement and conversion metrics (campaign, content and landing pages) to better drive conversions and sales
You know you need to review your social media strategy when:
- You’re getting no engagement!
- You’re posting sporadically
- You have a negative review sitting at the top of your reviews
- You haven’t updated photos since you first published the page
- You’ve got less than 100 fans
- You’ve never used it to reach new customers
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