Social Media Strategy for Small Business Owners: 5 Essential Tips
If you’re like me, you grew up in a time when social media was a novelty, used primarily by young adults for entertainment purposes. But as MySpace and Friendster gave way to Facebook and Instagram, and social media users started engaging with brands on these platforms, small businesses began to take notice — and for good reason! Today, nearly 75% of adults in America use social media. Of those people, more than half use social media to research products and services before making a purchase
When you consider these statistics, it’s clear: establishing an effective social media strategy is paramount to the success of your small business. Especially now—in the times of social distancing and working remotely—any competent marketing plan will include a solid social media strategy. So, if you’re wondering how should I start a social media campaign for my business, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are 5 essential tips to help small business owners build a successful social media strategy:
First, let’s talk about what should be in a social media strategy. As with any marketing effort, having a carefully thought-out plan is key to success. A social media strategy for small business owners should include a clear goal, a plan for reaching that goal, and a method for tracking, analyzing, and improving upon your results. If you have your strategy mapped out well, it will be easy to communicate it to the rest of your team. So, essential tip number 1 is:
1. Stop Focusing on Vanity Metrics, and Align Your Social Media Marketing Goals With Your Business Goals.
Your last post got 100 likes. Great! …or is it? If your analytics reports boast “vanity metrics” (stats that seem impressive, but don’t affect business growth or help steer future marketing decisions), you may be wasting your time.
An effective social media strategy for small business will contribute to reaching your business goals. Let’s say, for example, your goal is to increase revenue 5% by the end of the quarter. A like on a social media post will do nothing to move the needle. But, with proper tracking, a click on a link in your social media content that redirects a user to your website is a lead that can turn into a sale.
Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to establish a plan of execution. How do I market my small business on social media? These next tips will get you well on your way.
2. Be Selective About The Platforms You Utilize
Which social media is best for my small business? There’s no “one size fits all” solution. Understanding the different social media platforms and their demographics will help you fine-tune your social media strategy for small business and reach the right people with your message.
There are so many social media platforms available these days. Don’t worry, you don’t need to have a presence on all of them to increase your brand awareness. In fact, limiting your social media activity to just a few key platforms will produce a greater return. Let’s be realistic; you’re not likely to get a good ROI posting on Snapchat if your target audience is 65-year-old men.
Facebook and YouTube are social media juggernauts with 2.44 billion and 2 billion monthly active users, respectively. It makes sense for a small business owner who’s building an effective social media strategy to devote a fair portion of their resources to those platforms. And, if you’re targeting a very specific audience, it may be smart to also allocate time and money to a more niche social network, like Behance for creative professionals or Sermo for people in healthcare.
3. Take Cues from Brands Who Get It Right and Learn from Those Who Don’t
How do I market my small business on social media when there’s so much competition out there? One way to stand out is to conduct a competitive analysis. It can help you understand how your social media strategy stacks up against others in your industry. The goal, of course, is not to copy your competitors, but to recognize what’s effective and what falls flat. Use the knowledge you gain as a springboard for your own innovation.
Facebook provides two easy ways for you to get started with a competitive analysis. The first is the Facebook Ad Library. It was created in 2018 with the goal of increasing advertising transparency, and it allows you to see a list of the ads any page is running. The second is Facebook Audience Insights. Use it to help you find out which other brands your audience follows.
4. Create a Social Media Calendar and Schedule Your Posts Ahead of Time
Establishing a strong social media strategy for your small business takes work, and executing that strategy takes time. Use your resources wisely by planning and scheduling your posts in advance.
A social media calendar can help keep you organized and on track. It will also help you keep your business goals top of mind as you plan your content. Once you have the calendar set, use a social media automation tool, like Sprout Social, to help you schedule the posts. This enables you to post the right content at the right time, not just when you can fit it in while juggling other priorities. Find out when your target audience is most likely to be on social media and post your content then to reach the biggest possible audience. Sprout Social’s Optimal Times tool can help with this too.
5. Focus on Building Relationships
In planning the best social media marketing strategy for your small business, don’t overlook the social aspect of social media. You’re less likely to drive a return on investment using social media as a broadcasting system. If all of your content is about the sale, there’s very little motivation for people to follow you. Instead, share content that is authentic and demonstrates your small business’s human side. Provide value with your content. When you foster a true connection with your customers and fans of your brand, you will boost brand loyalty.
A unique benefit of social media marketing for small business is that it allows you to interact directly with your audience. Take advantage of that! When your followers engage with your content, listen. Respond. Ask questions. When you take the time to build trust and nurture your relationships with your audience, you’ll see it develop into sales over time.
With these tips, you should be well on your way to increasing your brand awareness and maximizing your digital success. For a deeper dive into social media marketing for small business, read about our social media strategy and management services. Then contact us at Paradigm Marketing and Design to schedule a consultation.