Social media marketing for small businesses can be a cost effective marketing channel or a waste of time and money. Proper preparation and execution can mean the difference between winning and losing at social media marketing for small businesses.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is quite simply using social media to create awareness for your business. It’s the process of maintaining an active presence on social media. You need to regularly publish content. You can’t set and forget social media marketing. Answering questions and engaging with followers is also a must.
Customers expect your business to be present on social media channels. Social Media Marketing is about getting conversations started with your audience and engaging them regularly. These conversations can drive sales and find out what people want. You should be as interactive as possible with your customers and respond quickly to all queries or complaints.
Customer retention is a metric that is often overlooked. I can’t overstate the importance of customer satisfaction’s role in marketing. Social media marketing can be a double edged sword. If you’ve got poor customer service, it could ignite word-of-mouth marketing in reverse. A dissatisfied customer with the gift of storytelling or song can tell literally millions of people about your terrible product/service if their effort is entertaining enough to go viral.
How to plan a social media strategy
Social media marketing should be an integral part of your small business marketing strategy.
Define your target audience
The first step is to narrowly define your target audience. Don’t try to target everyone. Targeting everyone gets the same result as targeting no one.
An example of a poorly defined target market is working women with children. This audience is too broadly defined to allow any meaningful conversation via social media. This audience includes teen mothers working part time to middle aged CEO’s. How do you create content that will appeal to everyone in that audience? The short answer is, you can’t. Your post on how to juggle home work and a baby will be overlooked by everyone else in that target market.
You must tightly target your audience to succeed in social media marketing.
Create your social media strategy
The next step is to create a plan. Decide on the social networks that make sense. Choose 1 social network to focus upon. Start by posting three or more general posts each week. Do this for two months. Check your audience engagement. If you need to make a change, make one at a time. Be sure to MEASURE the results. If you change too much, you’ll back to square one. If you’re not measuring, then you’re not marketing.
Once you’ve tightly targeted your audience and then tested your marketing message, the next step is to set your objective.
Set your social media marketing objectives
What do you hope to achieve with social media marketing? Having a solid plan in place will help ensure that your campaigns are effective.
Here are some common social media marketing objectives:
- Increase brand awareness
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate new leads
- Increase sales
- Increase newsletter sign ups
- Boost customer engagement
- Build a community around your business
- Provide effective social customer service
- Increase earned media mentions in the press (a.k.a. PR)
Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses Overview
1. Define what success looks like. What do you want to achieve with your social media marketing? Do you want to attract new customers? Do you want to connect with current customers? Keep these objectives in mind as you set specific goals for your social media activity.
2. Know your audience: Who are you trying to reach with your social media marketing? What are their needs and wants? What kind of content will they engage with? Keep your target audience in mind as you set social media goals.
3. Set realistic goals: Start small and build up from there. Trying to do too much is a recipe for burnout.
4. Be specific: Vague goals are difficult to measure. That makes them difficult to achieve. Set social media marketing goals that are specific and measurable..
5. Set a timeframe: All goals should have a deadline attached to them. This will help you stay on track and motivated to achieve your goal.
Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses
6. Make it measurable: How will you know if you’ve achieved your goal? Your goals must measurable to track your progress.
7. Keep it flexible: Life happens! Be prepared to adjust your goals as necessary.
8. Get input from others: Don’t go at it alone! Get input from your team and other stakeholders to help you come up with achievable social media goals.
9. Celebrate your successes: Make sure to take time to reflect on your successes. What have you learned along the way?
10. Keep learning: The world of social media is constantly changing. Knowledge is power.
Social media marketing can be a great way to promote your business. It allows you to communicate with current and potential customers. Social media can be used to learn more about their needs. It can create a community of followers interested in what you have to offer. With the right strategy and execution, social media can help your business reach new heights.
Have you had success with social media marketing? Share your story in the comments below!