Marketing is a head-to-head battle amongst various brands involved in similar kinds of businesses to emerge out on top as the best. It is clear that the ones that conquer the headspace of their target audience are usually the ones with the most amounts of resources – the top-tier businesses. Good marketing aims to make customers associate your brand name for a particular product or service over other competitor brands.
This is clearly not a simple feat given the vast number of advertisements a business’ target audience is already exposed to all the time. Does this mean the small businesses are out of the rat race? Absolutely not. Don’t fret, because we have your back and are ecstatic to present the ultimate guide for Social Media Marketing for small businesses.
Winning this battle might seem like a large obstacle to seeing high productivity and profits for your business. Thus, a small business’ best bet to getting recognized would most definitely be social media marketing and reaching a larger audience.
Social media marketing is the utilization of social media platforms such as websites and posts to endorse your business’ goods or services by creating a profile and advertising your business’ goods and services on that profile. Such Social media marketing plays a large part in establishing the primary connections between businesses and their customers and it is slowly increasing in its usage this year.
Understandably, small businesses run on limited funds and workforce and thus traditional methods of marketing and advertising might be quite harsh on the business treasury and might make it a lot harder to get the recognition they need to make their business flourish. Thus a better alternative is social media marketing which is a lot easier on the pocket and it almost always reaches a larger audience than traditional marketing methods like huge banners and stand posts.
This guide is created keeping in mind the troubles small business has to face and thus in this we aim to provide assistance in getting your business started with social media marketing and in the process cover the typical goals your business should have, develop realistic and practical strategies to increase productivity and profits in the near future and then judge the success your business is seeing. Additionally, we will help you out with bonus suggestions and sources to create a plan of action and implement your social media marketing tactics.
The Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing can aid small businesses in many different ways, such as in financing, help with new start-up plans, and help in growing and refining startups with their current methodologies, or even just for some small business advice.
Social media marketing has a number of benefits that are aside from being a cost-effective method of advertisement and is less time consuming such as:
It is highly interactive and engages with prospective customers in mutually intelligible ways.
Customers on a social media marketing platform can really engage with the content posted in many ways, such as by liking it, sharing it and commenting on the post. This is unlike a traditional billboard advertisement or even an advertisement that they might watch on television where there is little to no interaction and no scope to share it with others the customer might know. This limits the audience that gets to view your product or service.
On social media where people can share content, they are actually helping your business grow in terms of recognition by making it reach more possible customers.
As a small business, it also gives you the chance to interact with your customers by replying to their comments and replying to their queries in real-time which provides a way for direct interaction. This helps care for the brand’s reputation and this interaction helps develop the idea and name of your business in the minds of your potential customers.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) is associated with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
This is a highly useful feature of social media marketing because it can track the interests of people online and thus lead them to companies dealing with those interests. The concept of search engine optimization is to ensure that a business has a high ranking in the algorithms of many search engines. By doing this, it will make sure that a lot of traffic is sent your business’ way and also in increasing backlinks which ultimately move your business higher up on the ranking algorithms.
It helps in ensuring targeted marketing.
One of social media marketing’s unique features includes specificity. This means that a business organization can be as specific as they want with respect to who sees their advertisements, when and how they see them. They owe this to the advancing marketing technology that is available today on numerous social media platforms. This allows you to shape your content according to the target audience the business has in mind.
Your business’ content has the potential to go viral!
If your business account posts anything that aligns with the thoughts or opinions of a wide range of its audience on social media, the potential to go viral and reach even more people rises significantly. This would help it become recognized amongst the people it otherwise might not have and this gives small businesses the chance to intensify its shares in the market.
Since social media marketing has so many benefits to it, it is a great option for small businesses to find their spot and grow. It is very important for small businesses to be able to determine their goals for social media marketing.
Social Media Marketing Goals
To be successful in marketing, sure, a clear cut strategy must be laid out. But, before that, a business must have also defined their goals for which they have to know who they want their target audience to be. For this, a business must engage in research about those already interacting with them online or those who are interested in the relevant goods and services.
Now it’s time to set goals. Do this by developing Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and these KPIs have to be specific, relevant, realistic, measurable and pragmatic. Take care that they don’t become too wide or too vague. Some examples of good KPIs are to increase the number of times your business’ link is clicked, raising the number of impressions while reducing the charge per impression and increasing a particular type of interaction like the number of shares or comments your posts get. These will together, merge into a broad KPI for the larger good such as increasing your brand awareness and profits. These can take a while to really start reflecting but in the end, it will yield great results just by virtue of how technologically dependent the current generations are!
Creating a social media marketing strategy is the next and most crucial step to achieving your business’ future goals. One method to increase your KPI is to follow a predictable behavior with regard to your advertising frequency. Posting or sharing relevant business content in a regular fashion should allow your business to attain a particular KPI.
While creating your marketing goals for social media small businesses must also keep in mind their budget for the same. While most social media platforms are essentially free of cost, sometimes business organizations might have to shell out a little bit of money so as to get their content to reach a particular targeted audience. They usually will be charged according to the number of link clicks and site visits.
It is key to remember that a small budget kept away for social media marketing is a beneficial deal as long as the goals are realistic and achievable with that allotted budget.
Some popular social media marketing platforms for small businesses include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. Since your business’ budget will depend on the platform you choose to advertise your business, picking the most effective one is crucial.
Creating a calendar for your business’ social media marketing is very important not only to establish your spot in the ranking list but also to maintain it or get it to a higher rank. This is what makes business handling so competitive and thus the battle is continuous. If a business stops its advertisement after reaching a certain point it will inevitably go back to square one as it will start to fade away from the minds of the public.
Understandably, handling the regular posting is difficult for small businesses since they’ve only just started and have a million other things to focus on. Fortunately, most online marketing platforms have an option to schedule how often they want to post content.
Social Media Marketing Strategies
There are many kinds of content that can be found on social media marketing platforms. It’s time to put on your thinking caps because this is the part of the job that requires loads of creativity to make your content resonate with a wide audience. A few tips and tricks to be kept in mind while drafting your content are:
- Fishing out your competitors:
Do a little nitpicking and figure out why your competitors are doing so well. Check out the kind of content they post and the methods they use to market and advertise their goods and services. This will set a benchmark that your business will have to rise up to.
- Identifying keyword searches:
Picking out the most commonly used words and phrases that are searched on search engines, you will be able to determine what kind of content your target audience is looking for and thus address their interests.
- Learn from businesses that have good marketing campaigns:
Following established businesses that have mastered the art of online campaigning can provide small businesses with a lot of different ideas and approach methods. Another tip is to craft content that is theme-based such as a festival or an internationally recognized day that many show interest in.
- Don’t make it too monotonous:
Most customers don’t like too much information being shoved down their throats. They would most likely prefer advertisements that are short and crisp and that are appealing to the eye.
- Identifying the type of content and making it resonate:
A small business must focus on creating a connection to the public and that is usually done by taking up issues that are at peak level or basing your posts around a story. Making the posts attractive is crucial or else most people wouldn’t bother giving it a second glance. Add pictures; format and highlight text and most importantly, stick with what works best. Though this will take some time and will put you through many rounds of trial and error, it is important to know that your audience will remember the ones that are most appealing and this is the starting point of the growth of your business.
The different types of content that a small business can use to advertise on social media marketing are:
This kind of content can take many forms such as educational or witty blog posts that provide the readers with an insight to your business. If a customer has a positive public reaction to the posted content, interact with them and respond to them publicly to draw even more attention.
- Content Advertising Sales:
Everyone wants a good sale. So posting heads-up content about sales that are on their way can be highly beneficial. This also lets a small business offer product updates, announcements or promotional deals to your customers. A way to do this is also to add ‘hashtags’ which makes it easier to keep a track on your business’ posts both by you and your customers which will ultimately make your content look a lot more discoverable.
Social Media Marketing Metrics
After filtering out your strategies and finally finding out which works, it is just as important to continually judge the success of your social media marketing. This can be done by cross-checking and verifying whether the strategy you have finalized on is actually helping your small business reach its KPIs and this is generally done by maintaining a track record of the in-depth analysis of your business posts.
There are a few important metrics that are key to determining your success rate. These go over the journey of the buyer and show their transformation from a viewer of your posts to a customer when they obtain the required number of impressions so as to patronize your small business and help it grow substantially. Some of these important metrics are:
It is essentially the total number of people who have viewed a particular post that your small business posted on a social media marketing platform.
It is the number of times a post that your small business shared online was displayed to the audience, such as through a Newsfeed page on your social media marketing platform. Impliedly, the higher the number of impressions, the better. The best part about gaining impressions is that it is relatively easy to do as it is counted on a per-view base. The algorithms that social media marketing platforms use, determines the behavior of a user and based on which generates more impressions for them to view.
- Interaction and Engagement:
Engaging with your probable customers is when they interact with your business posts by liking it, sharing or commenting under it. Once a person receives a certain type of impression, it is very likely that another impression of a similar kind will be sent their way.
- Creating a name and brand recall:
Brand recall measures the link that the wide audience or public creates between a category of goods and/or services and the name or brand of your business. This is usually established anywhere between 3-7 days after coming across a given number of impressions which is usually around 6-7. This kind of data is usually obtained through surveys on social media marketing platforms. Brand recall is an extremely assuring method of indicating your marketing performance on social media. A good position to be in is a resulting score of 5% of the impressions being linked to a brand recall.
- Rate of Conversion:
This is essentially a measure of how many people who had successfully recalled your brand name, have upgraded to the position of customers for your business. Anything near 1% means your social media marketing is on the right path and any rate over 3% is great!
Outsourcing Your Social Media Marketing Campaigns
It is also important for businesses, especially smaller businesses, to outsource their marketing on social media. A good consideration can also be to work with a third party dealer who knows how to help you filter through the numerous options laid out before you as well as help you implement and manage your strategies for social media marketing. If not, small businesses can also try looking up social media marketing platform rankings on websites. Many websites have begun providing rank lists and a comparative study of all the rankings should be able to help you decide on what is best for the growth, development and success of your small business.
If you choose to work with a third party or a firm for social media marketing, it is crucial to lay down your definite budget as well the end goals you seek to achieve for your small business. This will enable them to efficiently determine and lay down what kind of assistance they will be able to provide for your small business.
Most social media marketing firms charge by the hour and thus it is always recommended to meet up with different social media marketing partners and figure out which firm is most likely to work best for your small business. Thus, it is important to check off on the list that the firm’s business values and implementation methodologies align with that of your small business and that they have a well-built record in business marketing in your small business’s industry.
This third party or firm should be able to tailor-make a package that is specifically suited to your small business and its end goals keeping in mind the said budget. Additionally, by virtue of their expertise in the field of social media marketing, they should be able to explicitly tell you how practical your end goals and budgeting for achieving the same are. Not to mention, they should provide for top-notch customer service and be able to assist you in any obstacles that may arise on your small business’s way to success. After all, a good portion of ensuring the growth of your small business and its recognition amongst larger and more developed businesses lies in their hands.
Irrespective of whether you plan on working with an external agency or firm or want to work alone, it is highly recommended to use social media marketing management tools for the growth of your small business. These management tools make it easier to achieve your goals by allowing you to comprehensively plan out everything. It allows you to manage, schedule and approve or disapprove of posts across multiple social media handles all at once. Additionally, they also provide a thorough in-depth analysis of your small business’s performance regarding social media marketing by maintaining a track record of the important metrics mentioned previously.
There are many management tools for social media marketing that are available in the market that will aid in your small business seeing huge profits in the future. A comparison of all the options should be able to tell you which one would work out best in your favor.
Thus, if you are running a small business and want it to see some success or are planning on a startup, social media marketing is the best option that is nearly hassle-free and easier on the pocket while being one of the more effective means of advertising. It is never too late to start and the best way you can realize that is by putting your content out there and awaiting the results.