How To Promote Your Business on Social Media
Getting started with social media can feel overwhelming for small businesses. But you don’t need to rack up millions of followers or have a brilliant brand campaign to make effective use of these budget-friendly tools. Social media is one of the best ways to connect with your customers. If you don’t have a presence on the main networks, you’re missing out on an audience that’s ready and willing to connect with your brand. Here are a few techniques for promoting your business on social media:
- Start with a plan
Every good business strategy starts with a plan. Social media marketing for small business is no different. Without a plan, you have no way of knowing what you’re trying to achieve with your social media posts, and no way to measure whether you get there. Taking the time to create a social media plan right upfront will ensure that all your social efforts support specific business goals.
- Set social media goals and objectives: Create goals that follow the SMART framework—they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Base your goals on metrics that will have a real impact on your business, like acquiring customers, rather than simply racking up likes.
- Research the competition: What is your competition up to on social media? While you don’t want to copy them, learning from what others have done is a great way to reduce your learning curve. A competitive analysis and some social listening strategies can give you insight into what’s working and what’s not for other businesses like yours.
- Create a social media calendar: A social media calendar helps you post the right content to the right social channels at the right time. It should include a plan for your content mix. Try starting with the 80-20 rule: Use 80 percent of your content to inform, educate, or entertain your audience and 20 percent to promote your brand or sell your products.
- Know your audience
Using social media for your small business lets you micro-target your audience—but first you need to understand who your audience is. By compiling data on your current customers and then digging deeper with social media analytics, you can develop a solid picture of who’s buying from you and who’s already interacting with you online. Then you can revisit your social media plan to include ways to reach more people just like them.
- Build relationships
The unique benefit of social media compared to other marketing channels is that it allows you to talk directly to customers and followers. You can build relationships over time, rather than asking for a sale right upfront. Facebook Groups are another great way to build community and establish relationships and brand loyalty. When people engage with your organic content or ads, you can jump in and reply, helping to build trust and form the early stages of a rewarding customer relationships.
Using social channels, you can also build connections and relationships with other entrepreneurs and influencers in your niche. Consider that micro-influencers (starting with 10,000 followers) can be incredibly effective for establishing brand trust, and they are often not out of budget range for smaller brands.
- Share compelling visuals whenever you can
People have come to expect social posts to include a visual component. Twitter’s internal data, for example, shows that people are three times more likely to engage with Tweets that have visual elements like a video, photo, infographic, or GIF. Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, in particular, are visual-first networks. If your content doesn’t look good, no one will stop scrolling to read what you have to say. Every business can tell its story through photos and videos. Maybe you can showcase your company culture with images from inside your office.
- Focus on quality over quantity
The sheer number of social media marketing options for small businesses might seem overwhelming—but you don’t need to do it all. It’s much more important to create quality content on a couple of key channels where you can really connect with your audience than it is to have a presence on every single social network.
Above all, be sure that your social posts offer value. If all you do is pitch and sell, there’s very little motivation for people to follow you. Remember, social marketing is all about building relationships. Be human. Be honest. Provide great content. Reach out to your audience in the places where they’re already spending time online. Focus on using one or two social channels really well, at least to start. Once you’ve got those mastered, you can build from what you’ve learned and expand your efforts.