Social media has proven to be a powerful tool when it comes to growing brand awareness. Besides promoting your small business, social media can help you meet several business goals.
- Attracts new customers: social media offers a place for your current customers to recommend your brand to their friends and family. Through leaving you positive reviews, tagging your business or sharing your posts on their feeds, your customers’ circle of friends and followers will eventually hear about your brand – and will be more likely to be interested in trying out your services too.
- Keeps costs down: posting on social media is free. Eventually, you might want to gain new followers and expand your reach by putting money behind your social posts, but there is no set amount – it’s all up to your marketing budget and how much you’d like to spend.
- Increases your sales: attracting more customers and potential prospects through social media helps you generate successful leads.
- Improves search engine ranking: social media presence can be a significant factor with Google and Bing. So, the more you engage with your customers and share content on your social media accounts, the higher your SEO ranking will be.
- Offers a great feedback source: social media enables businesses to gain valuable insights about customer behaviour and interests.
There are over 200 social media channels on the internet. However, a few of them stand out based on their popularity and the number of active users on these platforms.
• Facebook. Let’s put it this way, if Facebook were a country, it would be the largest country in the world. With an average of almost 2 billion active users a day, it's a no-brainer that businesses should have a Facebook presence. It’s great for sharing media content with your customers and updating them on any business changes, such as introducing new products, changing opening hours and upcoming offers. Users of this platform are between the ages of 20 and 65.
• Twitter. Whether you’re announcing a new product or an upcoming event, you can get your message out with just a few words. It’s also a free way to monitor conversations about your brand, listen to your customers’ likes and dislikes, what suggestions do they have for improvements?…
• Instagram. This platform is all about visuals. It’s perfect for showcasing the creative side of your business. Besides sharing videos and photos, Instagram has introduced “Instagram Stories” which allows businesses to share visual content for 24 hours (great for promotional announcements). Users of this platform are between the ages of 18 and 35, so, if you have a younger target audience, it’s better to reach them on this platform.
• Pinterest. It connects users together through shared interests like fashion, cooking, photography, crafting, wedding planning and more. It also allows users to save pins (media content which they find interesting) and add them to their customised boards. Users of this platform are between the ages of 18 and 50.
After reading the basics, how do you keep ahead of the social media marketing game? These simple tips and tricks will help you take your business advertising to the next level:
- Share content regularly: Depending on the platform you’re using, you can judge how often you need to share content with your customers. For example, too much posting on Facebook can overwhelm your audience. However, on Twitter, it can be appropriate to be post 3 or more pieces of content a day.
- Add consistent and valuable content: Share content that will be interesting to your target market and offers value to your customers. If your content is somehow irrelevant, your customers will be less likely share or like your posts. You need to pay attention to what types of posts resonate with your fan base. Is it promotions? Product inspiration? Finding out what type of content they’d like to see will help shape your posting strategy.
- Use hashtags: If you want your brand to gain better visibility, hashtags are a great tool. It allows users who are not following you, but share the same interests, to find you easily.
- Know your audience: you need to know who you’re targeting to pick the best platform for your business. Example: if you’re audience is under the age of 35, then Instagram will be your best friend. But if your audience is over the age of 40, then Facebook is more suitable for your small business. Also, over time, use social media to learn more about your audience beyond basic demographics. What are their interests, goals and challenges? Understanding your audience will help you serve them better.
- Engage with your customers: build a strong relationship with your customers by responding to their comments and concerns. It’s a great way to show your customers that you care about them. You’ll need to respond to both positive and negative comments in order to keep your customers satisfied. Also, always remember to remain calm and respond sympathetically and professionally when a negative comment pops up.
- Get inspired: you can get great ideas and inspiration from your customers. Based on their feedback, you can decide what kind of content they’d like to see more of on their social media feeds.
- Be active: We can’t stress this point enough. A strong social media presence helps you build brand loyalty and credibility.
Case Study: Social media as a key marketing strategy
Gemma Whates, Founder of All By Mama, an online marketplace for enterprising mums, discusses how social media was key to her early-stage marketing.