Considering 72% of adult Americans use some form of social media, it’s hard to ignore the fact that social media marketing is a great opportunity for businesses. Whether you’re looking to build brand awareness, develop relationships with potential customers, or directly sell to them, using social media effectively can help you achieve all of these goals.
Even if you’re a small business, there are some simple ways to market on social media. Here are 15 tips you can use, starting today.
1. Hone in on Your Audience
There’s no point in creating a social media marketing strategy if you don’t know who you’re targeting. Start by looking through data you already have on your customers — your website, newsletter or even social media analytics is a good place to start. Use the data to help you gain insights as to who is already interacting and buying from you online.
From there, you can create personas or other types of documents that will help you understand how your audience thinks and how your business can speak to them.
2. Evaluate Existing Efforts of Social Media Marketing
For small businesses who already use social media, it’s a good idea to take a look at your efforts so far. A social media audit will help you look at what is working (or not), any profiles you need to update or repurpose, and any additional opportunities to engage your audience.
3. Decide on The Right Platforms
Being effective with your marketing means targeting your audience where they usually spend their time. Do some research to see where they hang out. Making assumptions could harm you. Maybe you believe your potential customers love Facebook, when in fact they spend more of their time on Instagram.
If you decide to be on different social media platforms, consider using them differently — think about reaching different business goals or targeting different audiences.
4. Set the Right Social Media Marketing Goals
Setting goals that are relevant and specific will help you to measure whether or not your efforts are working. Consider metrics that will really move the needle on your business.
For example, you may want to measure email newsletter signups instead of how many likes you get on a post. Having newsletter signups can help lead to more sales, whereas with likes there’s really no indication on whether a follower will become a customer.
5. Redefine Your Audience Strategy
One of the best ways to grow your social media presence is to look for ways to reach more people that are similar to your existing customers and followers.
For instance, you can target existing followers and ask them to share your profile with a friend as part of a contest to win a prize. Or you can search for conversations online about local events or businesses and try to reach potential customers that way.
6. Connect With Influencers
Whatever your budget is, there is a way to grow your business with the help of influencers. Instead of looking for people with massive followings, look for ones that have a super engaged audience.
Micro- or nano-influencers — those who may have as little as 1,000 engaged followers — may be the perfect fit. They’re small enough to have an engaged audience, and they tend to be more careful about which businesses they work with.
If you decide to work with a micro-influencer, be clear on your content and social media goal before embarking on a new campaign.
7. Mention Followers in Posts
Mentioning followers in posts is a great way to engage with your audience and to have them feel seen. Not only will that potentially create more engaged followers, but it can also serve as social proof for your brand. Plus, it also gives you additional content to post on social media.
Don’t forget to tag your followers whenever you share their content. Creating a hashtag can also make it easy for you to find content that followers share about your business.
8. Take Advantage of Interactive Tools
Each social media platform has its own interactive tools to encourage engagement with followers. Take some time to experiment with them — ranging from polls to questionnaires — to see what encourages your audience to interact with you.
9. Post Different Formats
Variety is the spice of life — your audience may even love your social media platforms for it. To keep from being too repetitive, consider using different post formats. For instance, if you normally post images, try a short video, text-only, or a GIF.
That way, you can see which formats are the most successful once you’ve gathered enough data.
10. Focus on Quality
The truth is that there are so many different options for small businesses. Aside from all the social media platforms, there are also a vast amount of choices in how to market a business. Instead of trying to do it all, focus on creating quality content and engaging with your audience. It’s better to focus your efforts on one or two platforms than all of them.
Don’t forget that whatever you post, you’ll need to offer some sort of value. You don’t need to pitch and sell your products or services in every single post.
11. Keep an Eye on Social Media Marketing Trends
Paying attention to what’s trending is a good idea to understand what your audience might be looking for and helps you create relevant content. As in, what worked for you last year may not this year, so it’s smart to keep an eye on what’s happening.
That being said, don’t obsess over trends — there’s no need to look at everything that goes viral online. See it as a way to gather relevant data to help you inform your marketing efforts.
12. Look to Other Accounts For Inspiration
Seeing how others in your industry are using social media is helpful for research purposes. As in, what’s working for them? What types of content are they creating that engages their followers the best?
It’s fine to use all of these insights as inspiration when creating your own strategy, but don’t copy them. After all, your business is unique, and standing out will help you create a great brand.
13. Use a Social Media Marketing Scheduler
Having some sort of automation in place will help you to batch your posts and work more efficiently. Instead of spending hours a day, you can block time for creating your social media content. That way, you can focus on other tasks and even schedule in time to make sure you’re really interacting with your audience.
14. Curate Content
There’s no need to constantly create original content. Instead, consider curating content — think articles that are helpful, or even funny memes. Don’t forget to tag or give credit to the person that created it. You can use a tool like Pocket to help save and organize online content you want to share on your social media feeds.
15. Don’t Forget Social Media Marketing Analytics
It’s equally important to track and refine your social media marketing strategy as it is to do your initial research. That way, you can continually see what’s working and what’s not so you can work towards improving your results.
Most social media scheduling tools tend to show analytics. If not, consider investing money for one to help you track metrics that you’re currently focusing on. Once you have these insights, you can experiment with different options that can increase your chances of success.
Implementing a well-defined social media marketing strategy will help you connect and grow your audience over time. That way, you can increase brand awareness, which will lead to more sales. It’s fine to start small and then expand your marketing efforts, whatever makes the most sense for your small business and marketing budget.