9 Steps Roadmap To Effective Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses
Effective Social Media Marketing is the most powerful tool for promotion today. Social media marketing is no longer optional. It is a necessary segment of small businesses.
However, many small companies harbor a myth that social media will not benefit their companies. They go by the concept that “Our customers know who we are, and they know where to find us.”
It is great to have an established and steady customer base. But it is not enough. An added support of social media helps to market the small business, and expand the customer base. It enables the business to get more money from the existing customers, while at the same time acquire new ones.
In these days of social media power, not having an effective social media support is a definite disadvantage for the business.
When using Social Media to boost business, it is important to understand the various aspects of an effective social media marketing strategy to promote business.
Increasing Social Media Traffic
It is important to keep pace with the latest social media trends, and apply them for the betterment of the small business.
It may seem to some, that the lack of a social media presence does not have much of an impact on the business. However, eventually the negative impact is felt, as the business slows down.
For small business owners, skeptical of the social media or struggling with social media, following these marketing tips and strategies is a great help towards sustainable growth.
1. Social Media Profiles on Multiple Platforms
Gone are the days of monopoly of only Facebook or Twitter. Today there are innumerable social media platforms that are very popular, and have a great outreach and influence. It is a smart move to have a social media presence on multiple platforms.
Some of the social media channels, most popular with small businesses are:-
- Facebook 86%
- Instagram 48%
- YouTube 46%
- Twitter 44%
- LinkedIn 31%
- Snapchat 25%
Facebook tops the list for small businesses.
Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are used by less than half of small businesses to market their brands.
LinkedIn and Snapchat cater to less than one-third of the small businesses.
Each social media platform caters to a specific profile or audience. Before creating a profile on all the channels, it is important to understand the target market.
LinkedIn is beneficial for B2B companies. 80% of leads generated by B2B brands come from LinkedIn.
If the target audience is Generation Z, then Snapchat is the answer. 71% of Gen Z use Snapchat at least six times each day, and more than half of this generation uses Snapchat over 11 times daily.
For Baby Boomer generation, Facebook profile is a safe bet. Facebook boasts of nearly 1.5 billion daily active users. All target audience has an active presence on Facebook.
Facebook is the fastest growing social network. Hence a Facebook business page and Facebook presence is imperative.
After a Facebook page has been created, other channels, suitable for the brand and marketing strategy, need to be looked into. A YouTube channel is a lucrative option.
The uploaded video content in YouTube is easy to repurpose for other marketing channels. These videos are a great way to keep post content alive on other platforms, when running low on ideas.
2. Defining Marketing Goals
Posting content on social media requires thought and strategy. Without reason or purpose, the post content is worthless. Hence, it is imperative to identify the marketing goals.
Some of the top goals important for small businesses to target in their social media strategies can be defined as the following –
- Generate Leads 70%
- Build brand Awareness 53%
- Engage Customers 50%
The purpose of using social media are varied and does not end with only Lead Generation, brand awareness, and customer engagement. A business may be using social media to provide better customer service or to directly drive sales.
Hence it is important to clearly define the purpose before posting content on social media. Once the purpose of the social media campaign is decided, creating content for social media post is much easier and more effective.
Establishing the purpose of the campaign content helps to create an effective post, and achieve the requisite goals.
3. Regular Posting of Content on a Daily Basis
The next step after profile creation is to keep the profile active on all the multiple platforms, by making sure that all those accounts are alive.
Nobody follows a brand that doesn’t post content. Hence, if the most recent post in the brand page is three weeks old, then the brand loses audience and new followers are not acquired, and the existing followers invariably stop navigating to the page. It is important to post new content every day, which appears on the follower’s homepages and timelines, thereby keeping the business profile alive.
Frequency of the posting on social media by small businesses is worth observing, as in the graph:
As is obvious, over half of small businesses post on a daily basis.
Social Media campaigns are an opportunity to stand out from the competitors. If the competition is posting only once a week, or just a handful of times per month, then the brand can easily make a lasting impression on their followers by posting content daily.
Each time new content is posted, the followers are reminded that the brand exists. Whenever a follower needs or wants something of what the brand is offering, then they will think of the company, as opposed to any other small business in their area.
Content creation for daily posting is not easy. One of the major reasons why small businesses do not post content daily is because they do not know what to post. A quick reference to the marketing goals is helpful.
If the marketing goal is to promote new products for sale on the ecommerce site, then the post content must be a promotional offer for those products.
Repurposing of the previously published content is also helpful. For instance, an instructional guide or tutorial on “how to use a product” has been published to the YouTube page, earlier on. The same video, or snippets of that video, can be reposted on the other social media distribution channels of the brand.
New content from the website can also be posted. Links to your most recently published posts also make for good content. It is also important for the brand to respond to the customers promptly. Direct messages as well as comments are also equivalent to posting content daily. .
A survey reveals that 48% of consumers say that when a company is responsive on social media, it prompts them to make a purchase.
4. A Reason for Consumers to Follow The Brand
Social media is a game of followers. A successful social media marketing strategy for the small business, needs to be backed with lots of followers. Without followers, there is no audience to see the content.
With a good social media followership, it is easier for the brand to convert followers into customers, as consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media, than from any other source.
Primary reasons that generate interest in the audience, for the small businesses, on social media platforms, and thereby increase followership, are –
- Curiosity about the products or services amongst the followers.
- Exclusive promotions offered to the audience.
- Entertaining content by the brand.
- Need to reach a customer service representative.
- Incentive offered by the business.
- Friends or family follow the brand, hence the interest in the new follower.
Creating content that is worth following, is very important. Good content followed by prompt and quality communication is the key to getting more followers. And more followers ultimately increases the chances of driving more sales.
Running a contest. Promoting flash sales and discounts is a great way to increase followers. However, posting too many promotions, causes people to unfollow. Research says that 46% of consumers unfollow brands that post too much promotional content.
This is because there is a difference between posting daily and spamming the followers.
Posting several times per day makes the posts flood the timelines and homepages of the followers, which is most annoying and nobody wants to see that. Hence, if content is posted daily, and multiple times per day, sharing ephemeral content is a good idea.
5. Relationships with Social Influencers
Content is not the only way to increase followers. Connecting with Social Influencers adds value to the brand and its social media presence.Social Influencers are not only celebrities and athletes. Also, partnering with a celebrity often does not fit within the marketing budget of a small business.
However, influencer marketing is undoubtedly the fastest growing method for customer acquisition in the digital world.Almost 67% of brands, have allocated investment towards increasing their influencer marketing budgets.
Even small businesses can capitalize on influencer marketing, and implement on the influencer strategy at an affordable budget. There are social influencers who are much more cost-efficient than a celebrity. Partnering with micro influencers to increase the product credibility, is of great advantage.
These micro influencers may not have millions of followers, but, at a nominal cost, they can post content about the brand, to a bigger audience. Oft times, offering free products instead of money, in exchange for a post about the brand, also is a workable solution for both parties.
Micro influencers usually have stronger engagement metrics with their followers, because they are regular people. An average citizen often does not relate to the lives of Kanye West and the Kardashians, or other celebrities.
But they definitely relate to someone with a regular job, living in the same dynamics and with similar struggles as the audience themselves. Hence, engaging with micro influencers is a most effective strategy.
Opting for Social Influencers who live within the area or region of the small business, increases the likelihood of their followers being interested in supporting the brand.
6. Automation Tools Increase Efficiency and Are Time-Efficient
Small business owners need to take on multiple roles. Depending on the size of the business, the owner has to handle the majority of the company’s responsibilities.
The responsibility of social media content manager is an added responsibility. And therefore, eats into precious time amidst all other responsibilities. Hiring someone is expensive and may not be something that the business can afford.
Automation tools and resources are a blessing in this situation, as they help solve this problem and manage the social media. There are many time saving social media marketing tools.
Automation makes it possible to schedule posts in advance. With automation tools, the dates and times for the posts to be uploaded in the future, can be set in advance. Automation tools are also highly beneficial because of their ability to respond to messages in a prompt and timely manner.
There is software available that sends all messages to one inbox from where replies can be sent out directly, through the software, to the respective social media profiles. This saves up on time as it reduces the burden of checking each social media platform individually for these messages. These automation tools are highly recommended for small businesses, for whom time to effectively manage the social media profiles, is difficult to get.
7. Encourage user-generated content
The type of content one should post is important, and should not be treated casually.User Generated Content (UGC) is something that can never go wrong.
It is a fact that User-Generated Content has a direct correlation with the consumer’s buying decision. Also, UGC helps to build brand awareness.
For instance, running a contest on Instagram where participants have to post pictures, featuring them using one of the brand’s products, is a great UGC. It helps the small business to get an exposure to a wider audience. People who enter the contest have their own followers, and these followers see the brand product, and thus the product gets promoted to an audience that is beyond the brand’s own followers.
UGC also helps boost the credibility of the product. A whopping 92% of consumers say that they trust a referral, if it comes from someone they know.
Hence, UGC is a great way to get more followers with a potential of turning the new followers into buyers. This is a great way to get promotions and boos business.
8. Ephemeral Content & Its Advantage
Ephemeral content is a content that stays alive for a short period of time, like 24 hours. It is different from a regular post that stays permanently in the profile page. The “story” feature on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are great ephemeral content for social media. Twitter recently added it on their platform too.Instagram story is a great tool to promote the business.
Uploading too many posts, several times per day, is detrimental to the brand publicity. Here the ephemeral content comes in handy. Several postings can be done in the “story”. It makes for interesting read, and does not spam the timelines of the followers. Also, it allows the interested followers to connect via direct message, over the shared story
9. Live Video Stream Broadcast
Broadcasting live video content on social media platforms is also a great social media promotion for small businesses. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram, all have options to do this. These statistics about Facebook Live are a great insight into Live Media Content:
The live stream boosts the engagement metrics. It gives a more authentic interaction with the audience. The live broadcast can show case many different aspects of the brand. However, one of the most impactful and popular live broadcast streams for small businesses is a “behind the scenes look”.
Followers love to know all that happens behind closed doors of the business. They love the inside story. Giving the followers a tour of the production facility, office, and introducing them to the staff is a great way to connect and promote the brand.
Being privy to the inside story of the business makes the followers feel special and makes them feel as if they are seeing something that’s exclusive. It helps them to form a closer bond with brand. Also, a live video is a great distribution method for product demonstrations, events, or Q&A sessions.
A live audience is able to comment on the stream in real time. Acknowledging those comments and responding to the followers is an absolute must do
Social media is most necessary for small businesses to stay afloat, thrive and be relevant in today’s day and age of technology and globalization.A Facebook profile alone is not enough to maximize the social media marketing arena.
Profiles on multiple platforms, as long as the target audience is active on those channels, is a must. Content must be posted on a regular basis. Also, all the posts should be related to the marketing goals and all marketing goals need to be clearly established.
The social media brand profiles must be appealing to consumers. Running campaigns designed to get more followers, is most advantageous. Collaborating with social influencers to promote the business is a great boost to the business.
User-Generated Content is a great way to promote the business.Ephemeral content and live broadcasts are great add-ons to the social media marketing strategy.Using automation tools helps to manage time and all the social media pages efficiently.
Following the tips and suggestions outlined above are helpful in taking the social media marketing strategy of the small business, to the next level, and reaping in a golden harvest for the business.