Finding and carrying out the best social media marketing strategies for your small business is fundamental to its vitality and longevity. In this day and age, everyone is online, and you can do a lot of effective marketing via social media channels without it costing a cent.
In this article, I’ll answer the most common questions:
- How do you know what you’re doing is effective?
- Can you be sure that you spend your time and effort well?
- Where do you even begin?
We will go over what social media marketing strategies are, the differences between them and traditional forms of advertising, step by step how to get started, and social media tips and tricks to elevate your marketing campaign to the next level.
What are Social Media Marketing Strategies?
Social media marketing strategies are the actions you can take through social media channels to accomplish a set goal. Moreover, you can define any goals you want. It is one of the newer ways to give your business more exposure, and it has taken the digital marketing world by storm.
Strategies can range from using multiple platforms or only using a particular medium to gain a more extensive following or to get more conversions. A more specific example would be if your goal were to get more people to sign up for your newsletter, and you made posts on LinkedIn or Facebook to advertise it.
Social Media Marketing vs Advertising
What is the difference between social media marketing and traditional advertisement? For one thing, you typically pay for ads, while posting content on social media sites doesn’t have to cost anything.
Traditional advertisements follow the pay per click model, or you purchase one to run for a defined time. To create content on social media sites, all you need is to create a page or an account, and you can start posting away.
Another difference is that social media marketing tends to be more interactive. A traditional ad will get you views and conversions, but it can be limited in how your consumers engage with the business, which can be harmful.
When you regularly create content and can react to your consumer’s content and do fun or exciting things to stand out, your audience will take notice and become more familiar with it. This familiarity can lead to more trust and build a better repertoire.
The last difference is that their purposes usually differ. While they can be aligned, meaning that the ultimate goal is to have those conversions, one is more of a short-term strategy while the other is long-term.
Traditional ads tend to only last for a specific duration. At the same time, social media content stays active as long as your page or profile is online.
Is There a Clear Winner?
One is not necessarily better than the other, but you should use them in tandem.
There are successful campaigns that exist solely based on advertisements and some that are successful without using traditional ads and owe it all to their social media accounts. But whatever the case may be, it would be best to use both.
For instance, a small business would benefit from using pay per click ads, since you would only pay per interaction, and a social media content campaign, which would give the brand more exposure.
This way, you get the benefits of both without necessarily diluting either of their value.
Why Your Small Business Needs Social Media
Your small business needs social media content because it is one of the most accessible and inexpensive ways to give your brand more exposure.
As said before, it usually will not cost you anything to make an account of Facebook or Instagram. While there are upgrades available on some accounts, such as LinkedIn, it does not mean you have to use it to be successful.
After you create an account or profile, you can post as much content as you want. Often, specific platforms will include analytics.
For instance, when you make a business page on LinkedIn and publish content, you will see what groups of people have looked at it. That will give you insight into your clients and help you make better marketing decisions moving forward, ultimately leading to a higher rate of conversion.
That is how social media can be a marketing and analytics tool, all for little to no cost.
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How Do You Begin?
So after learning why your small business needs social media marketing, you decide to give it a try. But there are so many platforms to use, where do you even start?
Step One: Identify Your Audience
To figure out what platform to choose, you must identify your target audience. It means finding the key characteristics of your demographic. Some examples of this may be age group, gender, race, education level, geographic location, income level, and job title, among other more distinct classifiers.
By narrowing down your audience, you will better target them and not waste resources on marketing towards people not interested in what you’re selling.
You can find this information through surveys, looking at past sales records, or using some other analytics tool. Again, knowing your key demographic will increase the accuracy of your campaign and decrease the chance of wasting financial resources on ineffective social media marketing strategies.
Step Two: Choose Your Platform(s)
Once you know the demographic, you will now be able to choose the best platform(s) for your small business. It won’t cost you much to have a presence on multiple social media platforms, so at first, you may want to try them all.
That could mean creating a page on the biggest ones:
- Twitter, etc.
In doing so, you can measure the levels of engagement and see which one works best.
However, if you’ve already done market research and have a good idea of who your customers are, then you can pick the select few that will yield the best results. For instance, if you know that your demographic is young people or Gen-Z, you will most likely want to use Instagram and Tiktok.
Step Three: Planning Out and Implementing Your Content Strategy
Now, you will want to decide what sort of content to put out; and the sky’s the limit here! That will be easier if you already have a blog or a website from which you can pull inspiration.
Having long-form articles is the best for extracting smaller pieces of content and making them into posts for your social media pages.
When crafting your posts, make sure they reflect your brand, are personalized and are designed to maximize engagement for a higher chance at virality! That is your chance to be creative and attract the right customers with the right messaging.
In addition to text, you can also create videos, pictures, or anything else you can think of to stand out!
Many times, companies will only use text-based posts, even though the market for it is supersaturated. Since there aren’t many making video content, you will have a better chance of dominating that space and gaining a following.
Another thing you can do is make a podcast. A podcast could be an excellent way to stand out above the crowd as it is a relatively new medium that is rising in popularity, and it can help grow your brand.
Finally, you will want to make sure that you follow a content schedule. Essentially, you want to be putting out content following a plan to establish a routine.
This way, your audience will know when to expect a post, and also you can better hold yourself accountable. You will also want to make sure you’re posting when your audience is most active, to garner the most engagement and views possible.
Step Four: Analyze and Evaluate
The last step is to analyze how well your content did and then evaluate it.
- Was it successful?
- Did it hurt your goals?
- Or, conversely, why did it not lead to high engagements?
- Why didn’t the campaign do well?
These are all questions you should seek to find the answers to using Google Analytics or any tool built into the social media platform. After doing so, adjust your strategy accordingly.
For example, imagine that you posted content on LinkedIn and Facebook, except it did much better on the former. Using LinkedIn’s dashboard, you can clue in on the kind of people looking at your content to figure out why that might be the case. In the end, you may decide to use LinkedIn or to change your strategy on Facebook.
Final Social Media Tips and Tricks
Whether you’re on the fence about social media marketing vs. advertisements, you should understand why and how small businesses can benefit from social media. Their affordability and ability to increase access and offer insights into your target audience make it an essential marketing tool in your arsenal.
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The following are some social media tips and tricks to better your campaign:
- Interact directly with your audience by liking or responding to their comments
- Use influencers by forming partnerships or tagging them
- Encourage your customers to leave reviews through a call to action statement
- Host giveaways for prizes in exchange for more engagement
Now you have just learned the best practices for social media marketing strategies for your small business! If you did everything in the guide and have done all the social media tips and tricks but still aren’t seeing success, contact a digital marketing firm.