Last updated on June 17th, 2019
Amongst all means and platforms of business promotion, social media is the most preferred. It is not only effective to drive more customers but cost-effective as well for small to medium businesses. A business can win audience by consistently registering its presence on different social channels. However, you need to come up with a clear social media promotion strategy for reaching out to more potential customers.
Social media is a vast field having dozens of new and old social media channels, each of them useful in its own way for business promotion. Nevertheless, exploring the entire gamut of social channels in a proper way is not an easy task for small businesses. Many of them are overwhelmed by the very thought of creating a specific plan for each of these channels.
But small businesses should not feel overwhelmed when using social media. We are used to seeing millions of followers of successful media people. For a small business, generating such massive numbers of followers at once is not easy. But they need not worry about building a solid base of huge number of followers. This is a gradual process that takes its own time.
Even with your small budget, you can reach out to millions of people if you can explore social media well. Remember that the world of social channels is fast expanding. According to a report, over 2.46 billion people are currently using different the social networks. There are over 243.6 million monthly active users of social networks in the US alone, and are expected to reach to 257.4 million by 2023.
These stats show the vast opportunities a small business has at hand when it comes to engaging with potential customers. All small businesses need to do is to follow these guidelines to explore social media to their advantage.
Ultimate Guide To Using Social Media For Small Business
01. Set Your Goals Carefully
First, set your goals. You must be sure about what you want to achieve from your social media posts. With an upfront social media marketing plan, you have your goals and objectives define clearly. You should set the goals about the number of customers you want to acquire, raising your conversion rate, etc.
You need to research your competition. Find out how your business rivals exploring social media. Learn from their strategies. You can use competitive analysis and social listening strategies to have some insight into what is working well for your competitors.
Most importantly, have a social media calendar so that you submit your posts at the right time. Use the 80-20 rule. This rule says that 80 percent of your posts should be educative, informative, or entertaining, while 20 percent can be to promote your brand.
02. Make The Right Choice Of Social Platforms
Not all social media channels are equally important for all types of businesses. For example, professionals usually prefer exploring LinkedIn. Note that there are mainly 6 types of social media:
i. Social Networking Sites – Facebook and LinkedIn, etc.
ii. Bookmarking Sites – StumbleUpon and Delicious
iii. Social News Sites – Digg and Reddit
iv. Media Sharing Sites – YouTube and Flickr
v. Microblogging Site – Twitter
vi. Blog Comments And Forums – There are plenty of them.
Therefore, choose a bunch of channels that you think are best to drive potential customers your way. But do not go by your instinct. According to a study, about 82% of millennials use Facebook. Now, if you assume that they use Instagram and Snapchat more, then that will be your wrong assumption. Therefore, first, have some information about which social media channels your type of audience likes to spend more time on.
Remember that demographics data matters a lot for a successful social media campaign. This data helps you in making the right strategy to reach different audiences.
03. Find Out Your Target Audience
Before you know how to create strategies to drive customers, know who your target customers are. You can do that by compiling data on your existing buyers. Then do some social media analytics to draw a picture of who is showing interest and buying your product or service. Once you know the characteristics of your ideal customer, use a Facebook lookalike audience tool to find users whose interests are similar to those of your existing followers.
You should research your audience’s online behavior to know what their preferences are in terms of products or services. This data matters a lot in determining your content strategy. Then, know your audience size as well. You can use the Facebook Ads Manager to have an estimate of the audience size. Overall, you need to create a fictional account of who is your customer and pinpoint his educational, financial, social, and cultural backgrounds. Such precise details will let you have a clear picture of who is likely to buy your products.
Once you’re aware of your target customers, you can then create your social media page design considering the customer. The designer will then incorporate the elements that represent various backgrounds that your ideal customer comes from. That helps in engaging your audience with your business.
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04. Build Relationships With Your Followers And Customers
One of the significant advantages of social media for small business is that it lets them build a one-to-one relationship with customers. In fact, most companies are using Twitter and Facebook, especially to have a personal rapport with followers and customers over time. According to a report, on customers insight: Twitter followers, of the people who follow small and medium businesses on Twitter, 93 percent plan to buy from those businesses.
Similarly, you should explore Facebook Groups to build your community of followers so that they can be turned into your loyal customers. You can launch your own groups and invite people who are concerned about an issue related to your business. For example, if you offer products or services for weight loss, then create a group of people who are active in dealing with this problem. They can share their experiences with the group members. In the long run, they all become a tool for your brand promotion. This is because they show how your solutions are working well for them.
However, make it a point that you reply to any queries people post on your channel. You should contact them whenever they engage with your ads or content. This measure helps in building relationships right from the start when people first come in contact with your business.
Social media is also useful to build relationships with influencers and entrepreneurs of your field. But do not be overwhelmed by the thought that influencers may not be interested in your small business. Just start with micro influencers in your niche who have around 10,000 followers. Then, gradually move up to the more prominent influencers as your business grows.
05. Reach Out To New Audiences
Generally, an enterprise starts by targeting a smaller set of population, which is also known as an original market niche. But once you have fully explored this niche and won them as your loyal customers, a wise business move is to expand your reach to other demographics. That is how businesses grow. For example, you offered nutritional supplements to bodybuilders originally to a small section of them. Now that you are an established name in the market, you would like to sell the supplements to general people who look for fitness supplements.
At that stage, social media can help you expand your customer base. One of the best ways to ensure this is to increase your ad spends on Facebook and other social media channels. More spending on ads will result in a massive increase in your followers.
In order to reach out to a broader audience base, make relevant changes in your content. Now, your social posts should be such that they have a mass appeal. Also, you need to design your social media page, particularly keeping your audience in mind. Your Facebook cover design for your business can include some elements that your target audience can identify with.
06. Use A Variety Of Visual Elements
Visuals are a great way to send out a message to people without putting them under any stress of reading a lengthy text. When the attention span of most people in the modern age is decreasing, visuals are a key to engage your audience. After all, not everyone has the time to read your blogs or Facebook posts. But most of them may be more than willing to see visuals and even share them. This is because the text is something you have to make some effort to read. But you see visuals with no effort. All you need to do is to post engaging and relevant visual posts.
But besides visuals being naturally appealing, there is another compelling reason to include them in your social media posts. Now, people expect a variety of visuals in the posts. They are now almost addicted to seeing videos, GIFs, etc. on the Twitter and Facebook pages. That should prompt you to incorporate some really engaging videos, photos, GIFs and infographics.
Moreover, visuals on social media posts are also a key driving force for customers to visit a place. A majority of millennials decide on buying something or planning to visit based on a video or an image posted by their peers. In fact, the sharing of videos and images on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest are common. These are visuals-based networks.
Know that visuals are amongst the most effective user-generated content. According to reports, 60% of consumers say that user-generated content is a key for them to make a buying decision. This is because such content evokes trust and authenticity. Reports have revealed that more than 86% of consumers believe that authenticity is a key to deciding what brands they will support.
Do not worry about your small budget for photography. You can still use high-quality stock photos for free in your social media posts. Here is a select list of free stock photo sites that let you explore and get relevant quality photos for your posts.
07. Create Posts That Offer Value
One of the mistakes that most small businesses make is that they want to be present on all social media channels. For many of them, it becomes an overwhelming experience. After all, maintaining a consistent presence on dozens of social channels is not easy. You have to post the right amount of visual and text-based content everyday on all the channels. That puts too much burden on the limited resources of small businesses.
Therefore, instead of randomly posting clichéd content on all the channels, rely more on quality. Create high-quality content for a few channels only. Ask your social media professionals to generate quality content for a couple of channels that are relevant to your business. Just pick a few channels that you think are useful for engaging your audience. Then, post a carefully and strategically created images, videos, infographics, etc. on them.
Make sure that your social media posts offer some value to the visitors. Do not make the mistake of creating content for pitching and selling your products or services. You should never give the impression that the post intends to force a product on consumers. Instead, a better approach is to create posts that offer some solutions to the issues related to your product, services, or industry. Educate them on various aspects of an issue.
So, we will suggest that you use just one or two social channels. But explore them well. After you have gained significant experience and mastered the use of those few channels, you can then start posting on more of them.
08. Use The Right Tools To Boost Productivity
Since you need to register your business’s presence daily, creating a lot of posts becomes a daunting task. If you run many social channel accounts, then the task becomes even more challenging to handle. Therefore, take advantage of social media tools to simplify and automate your daily work.
You can access the tools for a wide range of essential works. Here are the tasks you can accomplish with particular tools.
a. Analytics Tools:
Analysis of how your social media campaign is performing and getting reports is essential to improve. You can access all such information right away by using an analytics tool. For example, Brandwatch is the tool to generate detailed reports. Hootsuite Insights lets you know about your conversion rate. It helps you assess how many visitors are actually are buying or taking your call to action. Google Analytics is another such tool.
b. Graphics Tools:
You will post many attractive graphics. But tools such as VSCO, Piktochart, and Canva are a great help in creating and editing photos and graphics. There is no need for you to hire a freelance graphic designer as you can create graphics on a DIY basis using the tools.
c. Management Tools:
Social media is all about engaging an audience. For businesses, the audience is their customers. But there are tools such as Oktopost, Buffer, Hootsuite, and Agorapulse that help you track your social media engagement. These tools are useful for centralizing all your messages in your one dashboard.
d. Content Curation Tools:
Coming up with a good amount of new content every day is also overwhelming for businesses with small means. Here, tools like BuzzSumo and Pocket can rescue you out of the trouble. These tools are especially useful in sharing of quality content from many other sites with their credit given in your posts. Just use these tools to curate content and make it sharable for your followers.
09. Listen And Respond To What Others Say For Your Business
You are not the sole person talking about your own business. As the social media presence of your company and the business itself grows, people and other sites also take note of what you do. You need to know about it. This is known as social listening.
Social listening is about knowing what others are saying about your business, company, products, or services on social media. You must respond to them. So, visit forums, and other social sites to find out what people are chatting around about your business. You should promptly clear any confusion, if any, online. Remember that social listening is also another way to social engagement.
Social Listening Matters To Small Businesses In Many Ways
i. It Helps In Customer Engagement: By listening to what your audience is saying online, you can engage them in conversation with our brand.
ii. Revisit Your Strategy: If you know what your customers have to say in real time, you can tweak your strategy right away. Just know what your customers like the most or dislike about our products and then revisit your strategy to make quick improvements.
iii. Compare With Your Competitors: Social listening is also a good way to know what people are saying about your competitors. That lets you know about your position in the market vs. your competitors.
iv. Create New Sales Leads: When you know what people are discussing, you can join it by offering your helpful suggestions. This way, you can make new connections with people and generate new sales leads.
v. Find Out The Influencers: By lending ears to what others are saying on social media, you have a sense of who the prominent influencers in your industry are. You can then contact them for brand promotion.
10. Schedule Your Content
Sometimes, we tend to create many posts when we have more free time. But posting all of them at once is not a good strategy. Instead, you should engage people with one or two posts daily. But sometimes we all miss posting content. This means you missed some opportunities for engaging people.
To deal with that situation, you should create a social content schedule. Put in place the calendar of content. Then, you can create some social media posts in advance. After that, just use the scheduling tools that will automatically post the content per day or per week. This way you can save your valuable time for other tasks.
11. Track What Works Best For You
While you create engaging posts and do hard work to boost your social media presence, equally important is to track your performance. Continuously posting your content without knowing how it is performing to engage your visitors is meaningless. But by monitoring it wisely, you can improve your strategy and results.
By using A\B testing of your performance so far, you can make some changes to your strategy. Make sure that you find out what is lacking and improve. If you find that there are some design errors in your social media page, then hire graphic design services of an experienced professional to address the issues.
So, these are the key points you should take note of when using social media to give a boost to your small business in your niche market. Pay attention to each of them by devoting your time and resources. Most importantly, go on improving your performance all the time.
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Social media channels are excellent platforms for business promotion and engaging a target audience. But you need to explore them to your advantage. You must be clear about who is your ideal customers, market niche, and a competitor to formulate the right promotional strategy. Build relationships with your audience with creative visual content and use tools to make the social media promotion job easier. Most importantly, track your performance regularly.