If you own a small business, you know you need to meet your customers and prospective customers where they are. And increasingly, where they are is on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.
That’s especially true in Australia, where more than 60% of the population, about 18 million Aussies in total, are active monthly users on Facebook. The same number are on YouTube, with more than 9 million sharing photos on Instagram, and more than 5 million on both Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social Media: not about funny cats anymore
And here’s the thing: a lot of those people on social media sites are there looking for information about products and services, the kind your business sells.
For example, a recent consumer survey found that almost 75% of Facebook users go to the social media giant “for professional purposes,” and more than 70% of Twitter hashtags are from B2C and B2B businesses connecting with consumers.
Consumers know the benefits of social media to help them find businesses and make purchasing decisions. So do marketers.
In a recent Statista survey of marketers worldwide, for example, 87% said they increased website traffic, 74% reported boosting lead generation and 72% said they increased sales by leveraging social media marketing.
Here’s how HubSpot sums up the value of a smart social media marketing strategy:
“Social media is everywhere. For many people, social media is used daily for entertainment, socialisation, and even news consumption… Additionally, over the last two decades, it has risen as one of the primary marketing channels. With over 40% of the world’s population on social media, it’s critical your business devise an effective social media strategy to reach your intended audience.”
The operative word is “STRATEGY”
When effectively executed, a social media marketing strategy can help your small business achieve many of its principal marketing goals. However it’s not enough to run a few ads or post some content on Facebook. To reap the benefits of social media marketing, in other words, you need a comprehensive strategy. This is a strategy that leverages both organic and sponsored placements. It has realistic, measurable goals, thoroughly understands your target audience and is carefully aligned with specific marketing objectives.
Every small business is different, with different customers and different marketing challenges. The lion’s share will succeed if they use best practice social media marketing strategies, like the following 4:
1. Set realistic goals
Your business can’t be successful if you don’t know what success looks like. Before launching your social media campaigns, you need to establish specific goals. Those goals need to be both measurable and realistic.
For example, a goal to “increase revenues” isn’t measurable because there’s no metric associated with it. In the same way, a goal to “double revenues in 6 months” probably isn’t realistic. Setting measurable, realistic goals will enable you to continually measure progress and fine tune your marketing plan. This will increase the likelihood of your success.
2. Understand your customers
If your business sells refrigerators, you need to identify the consumers looking for refrigerators (or content about refrigerators) on social media sites. You also need to know as much as about them as possible:
- purchasing habits
This way you can craft messages that answer their questions and solve their problems in ways they can understand.
Fortunately, social media sites provide a wealth of tools (like Facebook’s Custom Audiences) to help you find the most likely customers for your business.
You should also group likely customers into so-called “buyer personas“—these are fictionalised representatives of key audience segments.
3. Create a calendar
When it comes to success with social media marketing, timing and personalisation are everything. You need to establish from the outset precisely when you’ll post content, and to which audience segment you’ll post it. Creating a social media calendar is the best way to achieve this.
Your calendar should include the times and dates each piece of content will be posted on each social media site.
This will help you ensure the right customers get the right content at the right time, and that you neither overwhelm them with too much content nor lose their interest by not posting enough.
4. Measure results
Successful social media marketing isn’t a one-off deal. Your strategy isn’t going to be perfect right out of the starting gates.
Measure results will help you find out which aspects of your marketing strategy are working: which need a few tweaks and which should probably be nixed.
Testing and measurement of results (preferably using a robust analytics platform like Google Analytics) will ensure continual improvement of your social media strategy and progress towards achieving your principal marketing goals.
A smart social media marketing strategy can help your business increase lead generation and site traffic, boost conversions and improve sales but it can also be both complicated and confusing. Fortunately, there are experienced marketing agencies who can give you the advice and guidance you need to succeed.
To learn more about the ways our growth consulting, branding, design and marketing services can help you achieve your top marketing goals – and help your business grow – contact us today.