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Social media is one of the best and most cost-effective ways for small businesses to market their goods and services. Harnessing the power of word-of-mouth recommendations through social sharing can really help drive more traffic to your business, resulting in increased revenue!
There are a few things to take into consideration when developing a small business marketing plan and you will find them listed below. If you would like
Know Your Demographic
Before you start anything related to social media, you need to understand the demographic(s) of your target customer. Start by imagining your ideal customer or avatar. Where does he/she live? What do they do for a living? Where do they shop? Do they have kids? What are their biggest needs? You get the picture! The more detailed you can be when developing your customer persona, the more targeted you can be in your social media marketing.
For example, if your demographic is 35-45 year-old moms, you will likely find them on Facebook and/or Instagram so that’s where you should focus your marketing efforts. You can then look at the Facebook pages of brands they like and see what kind of content is posted and how they respond. You can also ask people you know that fit the demographic what kind of content they most like to see on social media or what they find valuable. A little detective work can go a LONG way on social media.
Be Strategic When Choosing Social Media Platforms
I once heard an analogy in which social media was compared to peanut butter– if you spread it too thin, it loses the flavor! When you are investing your time and money in social media, it makes sense to figure out which social media platforms should be your focus (see above). If your demographic is in their 50s-60s, Facebook (or TripAdvisor depending on your business) is really the only place you need to be. I wouldn’t waste time on Instagram and Twitter. If they are millennials, make sure you’re on Instagram! If you want to see a breakdown of each social media platform with its associated demographics, you can click HERE.
One of the biggest mistakes I see small businesses make is that they create a profile on every social media platform and then never post and engage with the community there. Your time and effort would be much better served by focusing on the one platform that is going to drive the majority of your business. Start with 1-2 platforms and grow your following and engagement there. If it’s successful, you can always add other platforms at a later time.
Have a Social Media Strategy Plan
You also want to ensure that you have a cohesive and consistent plan for your social media marketing. There’s no sense devoting a bunch of time posting random material to your social media channels or even worse, content that doesn’t relate at ALL to your target audience!
Make sure you develop a plan for what types of content you are going to share and when. It’s essential to know what your target audience likes to see and give them more of it! Share about 80% of high-value content you find from others and about 20% of your own content (articles, promotional messages, etc). Having a plan helps to make sure that you stay consistent with your branding across all social media platforms and that your social media community continues to grow.
Include High-Quality Images and Graphics with Your Posts
The internet is a VERY visual place now and people will scroll right by your content if you don’t have compelling visuals to go with your written content. Think of how you browse Facebook– what grabs your attention? It’s probably not the three paragraphs of text your friend’s friend wrote about their weekend! If you don’t have enough of your own visual content to share, you can always use high-quality stock photography.
There are a number of places to purchase stock photography and some great free sources as well. Here are some of my favorites:
Don’t be Afraid of Sharing Too Often
Social media algorithms control the posts that show up in your personal feed, so not everyone sees the same thing at the same time. That’s exactly why it’s important to share content more than you might think. Although you may have remembered sharing a helpful article you wrote last week, many of your followers may not have even seen it!
Even if they did, they are rarely bothered by seeing it in their feed again–they simply keep scrolling. Unless your content is time-sensitive (think holiday messaging), don’t be afraid to keep sharing it! We need to see brand messaging many times before we can actually recall it (depending on studies it can be as little as 7 times or as many as 30!).
Engage with Your Customers Regularly
If you want a really active and loyal social media community, you need to engage with them on a regular basis. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have visited a brand’s Facebook page or Instagram profile only to find content that is a year (or more!) old. In my opinion, if you aren’t willing to put the time in to regularly posting content, it’s better to not bother with it all.
To help keep up with regular posting, it’s helpful to have a content calendar– a spreadsheet (or app) that will help you decided when to schedule posts and what to share. One of the most important tools I use for my own business and for clients is
Use Social Media Advertising
Small businesses have such an advantage when it comes to social media advertising. The wealth of analytics assembled by social media platforms allows you to easily reach your target audience and you only pay for clicks through to your site or other call-to-action. You can set the budget for whatever you like and test out a variety of different types of ads to see what resonates best with your audience.
If you don’t have much of an advertising budget, I would definitely recommend reaching people where they are most of the time– on a device! Now take these 7 tips and start implementing them in your business’s social media! I would love to hear how they work out with your particular business, so feel free to comment below and let me know: