Learning how to market on social media can help you increase sales while promoting your brand. Social media marketing is an inexpensive yet effective way to reach more people across different platforms. You can attract a wider audience through social media by developing quality content.
Having a social media presence is necessary. Not only do your customers expect it, but it’s a great tool for learning more about your target audience and connecting with individuals online. With the use of organic social media marketing, you can get to know your followers and find better ways to promote your products and services.
However, you can also learn how to advertise a small business on social media with a limited budget to help your content reach more potential customers. Social media platforms have many options for reaching more customers; it’s just up to you to create engaging content that makes prospective customers want to learn more about your business and brand.
1. Identify your audience
Many businesses make the mistake of trying to reach everyone. But understanding and organizing your audience can help you send the right message to the right people and more effectively meet your marketing goals.
This begins with identifying your target audience. The details about who these people are should be based on the audience data you already have, as well as your market research.
To find your target audience:
- Compile data. In order to reach your target market, you need to know what they’re like. It’s important to know things like your audience members’ ages, locations, and engagement patterns to market effectively to them. While it may seem daunting to gather this information, customer relationship management software stores and sorts this data and makes it easy to put into action.
- Use social media analytics. Many platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, have built-in analytics that can tell you about your followers, including when they post, where they post, and other interests. Plus, these tools are free to use with business accounts.
- Check the competition. Understanding your competition will give you insights about how to talk to your audience. You can look at what your competitors are doing wrong to fill any gaps in your current strategy.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s important to keep up to date with their interests and to implement a social listening strategy to understand their wants and needs.
2. Define your goals and KPIs
To excel in social media marketing, it’s important to create goals that guide your efforts. The SMART goal strategy provides a helpful framework to create foundational goals and meet your overall objectives.
SMART stands for:
- Specific: In order to measure and meet goals, it’s important to be clear about precisely what you hope to achieve. This is especially important for getting your team onboard as you work collectively towards the goal. A specific social media goal, for example, might be to increase your Twitter followers by 20% this quarter.
- Measurable: You need to know definitively whether you’ve reached your goal or not. Measurement makes that possible. By using metrics to track your progress, you can also pivot your goals if need be. For instance, if you find that likes and follows don’t lead to website traffic, you can change the metric to something that will help you achieve your goal.
- Achievable: All goals should be within reach of your business. If you set goals that are unreasonable, you risk discouraging your employees and creating friction in your business plan. As you set specific, measurable goals, make sure to adjust if it seems like you aren’t reaching them.
- Relevant: Your social media marketing goals should ladder up to your larger business objectives. For example, if it’s your objective to build brand awareness, you could set a goal to get 100 social media followers to click through a post to a landing page that describes your offerings.
- Timely: To keep yourself accountable, goals should have a time limit. Instead of creating a goal for some undefined time in the near future, make sure to set a specific cadence to check in and ensure you’re staying on track.
Though social media marketing has many moving parts, SMART goals give you a starting point, as well as a means to check in and make changes as needed.
3. Allocate your resources wisely
For small businesses strapped for money and time, sometimes social media tasks get arbitrarily offloaded onto whoever is available. But social media management requires unique skills, like:
- Strategic thinking
- Organizational skills
- Branding expertise
If you have the means, hiring an expert to handle social media can pay off. But if you don’t have the budget for an on-staff social media manager, you can still invest in advertisements on social platforms, which can boost brand awareness and expand reach.
4. Use multiple platforms
Consider the multiple social media platforms your customers use daily. Ultimately, your strategy should allow you to reach as many people through social media as possible, and you can’t do that by focusing on only one platform.
Depending on your audience, many of them may use Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok throughout the day, giving you three opportunities to get your content in front of them. Social media apps to know include Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Twitter. However, investing in a strategy for all of these platforms isn’t necessary. Instead, consider the apps your customers are most likely to use.
5. Post relevant content regularly
Success on social media is a matter of posting compelling, engaging content consistently. Not only will this help make your business look dependable, but it also shows that you have timely knowledge to share and that you care to be in conversation with your audience.
Social media platforms change their algorithms over time, but the rule of posting regularly holds true: This practice helps your content show up in newsfeeds. By focusing on consistent, relevant content, you show the algorithms that your posts are worthy of showing up in various newsfeeds and ultimately, will attract followers to your page.
6. Interact with followers
Social media users enjoy interacting with brands, and as a result brands experience benefits like:
- Social proof of your business
- Expanded market reach
- Boosted brand awareness
The opportunity for a high return on investment (ROI) is huge—83% of customers value customer experience, and that includes social media interactions in which businesses make their audience feel seen, heard, and understood. Social media allows you to monitor conversations in real-time and answer questions or concerns from your audience promptly.
This can take many forms, like:
- Asking questions relevant to your offerings
- Creating a Facebook Group for your audience
- Using GIFs, videos, and emojis to spice up messages
- Utilizing platform tools, like Instagram Live to start discussions
A good strategy is to allow 1 hour a day to communicate with your audience on social media. However, if there are pressing concerns, you should always take the time to respond promptly.
7. Always maintain professionalism
It’s important to remember that as you post on social media, you are always representing your business. Posts are taken out of context all too often, which can lead to conflict and upset followers. If your social media responsibilities are allocated to other staff members, consider creating a social media policy to guide their posts and conversations.
Typically, a standard social media policy will include:
- Clear expectations about what to post
- Instructions on how to respond to negative posts
- Platform laws and rules to follow
- Brand considerations
- Security protocols
By investing in a social media policy, your business can be ready for any scenario. It’s important to remember that at the core of social media, you are implementing your customer service philosophy.
8. Reflect your brand identity
Brand identity is what helps people connect to your business and sets you apart from your competitors. This means that all marketing, including print, digital, and social media, should be consistent.
Brand consistency can be challenging for businesses, especially when you’re just getting started. But it’s important across channels, and that certainly includes social media. As you are posting, you’ll want to think about:
- How you talk to your customers, otherwise known as a brand voice
- Posting similar visuals across the various platforms
- Focusing on your unique selling point.
Not only will a consistent brand identity make it easier to know what to post, but it can also help increase brand loyalty.
9. Prioritize quality over quantity
Instead of posting multiple times a day on as many platforms as possible, you should focus on delivering consistent, quality posts. In fact, some social media sites may penalize your account and mark you as spam for too many low-quality posts. Additionally, posting could become overwhelming and problematic whoever handles your social media, whether that’s you or a teammate, and that could wind up hurting your strategy rather than helping.
To mitigate these risks, consider implementing a social media calendar. These calendars can help you plan posts in advance while ensuring you stay organized. Categories including when to post, post caption, post visual, and which platforms to post on can help marketers keep track of the various moving parts of social media.
Another way to prioritize quality posts is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this content help my followers?
- Is this original?
- Is this actionable, inspiring, or entertaining?
- Does the content have cited sources, if needed?
All of these questions can help you create quality content that will engage and attract followers. Learning about the top social media content to create for each platform is key to helping you reach more people online.
10. Measure your results
There are many factors that affect social media marketing, and that’s why it’s important to analyze and measure results. Analytics come in handy because they can help:
- Optimize campaigns
- Create new goals
- Assess tracking metrics
Before you start tracking, though, you should identify which metrics are most important to your marketing goals. The most common metrics are:
- Post clicks
- Video views
11. Develop a unique strategy
You might have the impulse to post on as many platforms as possible, but this could actually derail your social media marketing strategy. For example, if you’re trying to target people who are over 50 years of age, you’ll find that most of your audience is on Facebook, so it’s not as worthwhile to prioritize Instagram.
When creating a social media strategy, focus on:
- Where your audience is
- Where your competitors post
- What your metrics tell you
Additionally, you’ll want to think about how to best use each platform, based on what it was created for and the content that does best there:
- Facebook offers quality video streaming, like live video, as well as a high-functioning messaging platform that allows brands to interact with their followers one-on-one.
- Instagram supports more visually compelling posts and creative short videos.
- YouTube is best for longer informational or entertaining video content.
- Twitter allows for real-time conversations, news updates, and alerts.
- LinkedIn works well for long-form written content, like blog posts.
- Pinterest lets users discover content and relies on visuals to catch their attention.
Depending on your social media strategy, you may realize that you don’t have to use YouTube if your users are primarily on Facebook. Or if you find that you can say more with pictures than you can with words, Instagram might be more useful. Make sure to research the best strategy for each platform you use to get the most out of your marketing efforts. While there are many tips to grow your small business, social media can help you discover and retain new customers.
12. Partner with influencers and industry leaders
Partnering with influencers can help you take your social media marketing to the next level by leveraging their talents to help you grow your business. Influencers have their own personal branding and followers that trust their expertise. Working with influencers in your industry can help you build brand awareness and increase sales. Since influencers are real people, they’re more easily trusted by customers, allowing you to use that to your advantage.
13. Livestream occasionally
Live streaming can help boost your organic reach on social media. Because live streaming taps into your followers’ fear of missing out (FOMO), you can reach more people at a time. Live streaming also allows you to be more personal with your audience and give them insight into your business and its products to build trust.
14. Post at the best times
Creating quality content can ensure you reach more people and engage your audience. However, if your customers aren’t active on social media when you post, they likely won’t ever see your content. You can find the times when your audience is online by looking at your social media analytics. Many social media management tools also give you insight into the best times to post based on when your followers are typically online. You can also experiment by posting at different times of day to determine how it affects engagement and reach.
Benefits of marketing on social media
Every small business should invest in social media marketing to promote their business and boost online visibility. A few benefits of social media marketing include:
- Cost-effective. Social media marketing and advertising is cost-effective. If you want to post content organically, it may only cost you your time. However, advertising your business on social media is one of the most cost-effective advertising solutions available for small businesses. You can set a budget for as low as $1.00/day on Facebook.
- More exposure. Marketing your business on social media allows you to reach more people. Engaging content will likely be shared, helping you increase your online visibility.
- Boost brand awareness. Social media is a great tool for increasing brand awareness by boosting online visibility. However, if you want to take advantage of social media to raise brand awareness, consider creating advertisements that expand your reach.
- Drive traffic to business websites. Your social media marketing should drive traffic back to your website, where customers can complete actions like filling out forms or making purchases.
- Support customers quickly. Social media allows you to handle online customer service requests quickly and easily. When someone messages you directly on social media, you can answer their questions in real-time, giving them a fast response that improves their experience with your business.
- Increased credibility. Posting engaging and educational content can increase your credibility, helping new customers learn that you’re a thought leader they can trust.