Want to know how to use Social Media Marketing for a small business?

Trust me, having a social media presence can be hard because I know it can be time consuming and most times you may not know what to post, when to post and where to post. For these reasons, my blog will be the solution for this; here are some tips and hints to focus on when you want to have a successful social media presence as a small business or start-up.

Understanding Social Media Marketing

Social Media is a tool to help users connect with other users to build temporary or permanent meaningful relationships. Businesses use social media to interact with customers to build and maintain relationships to influence brand loyalty. Moreover, social media is basically a platform for discussion. The maximum result of using social media is to help your customers since they are the most important ingredient for success. Developing a trustworthy relationship with your customers on social media will result in the possibility of those customers visiting your store in person or become frequent buyers.

To achieve success on social media you (the business) need to understand their (the customer) perspective- shifting your marketing focus from yourself to the customers. Typically, people nowadays seem to be always busy and stressed out so what would make them see your social media post? Here, you need to research to find out what social media they are on when they are “busy” and willing to interact with you. After you have discovered what social media platform your busy customers are on, you need to decide what kind of content to publish such as blogs, videos, forums or visuals to generate conversations. After recognizing your customer’s needs you will easily understand how to connect with them on different social media channels.

Social  Media is all about CONSISTENCY and LONG-TERM COMMITMENT.

Social Listening is very important as you can see what your customers are discussing or having an issue understanding a certain topic or business. This will help your business as you can easily respond to negative/positive comments made about your business or simply address an issue or question. Developing or using a CMS system is very useful for this since it allows you to manage all your social media activities on one dashboard to keep your posts organized and consistent. According to Waxman, a good CMS
simplifies the way you can manage your social media marketing programs (2016). Additionally, Google Alerts is a good alternative as it notifies you when there is an update on a specific topic that way you can readily see what they are saying about your business using key words. Here I have provided a video on how to use Google Alerts:

Source: Google Alerts

Developing your Strategy

Aiming towards a goal is good for a business since it directs the business in the best direction to achieve its goals; goals essentially help businesses to develop a business strategy. In the definition of SMART, the M means that the goals should be measurable, so after you have identified your goal you need to measure how to achieve them.

Image result for definition of smart in a business

Source: SMART Goal

Focusing on the number of likes, shares or views you get on social media does not determine the success of your goal. According to Waxman, likes aren’t effective goals because they’re too ephemeral (2016). He provided an example that subscription can be used to reach the business’ goals. Monitoring the number of subscriptions your business will get from just signing up for discounts is more of a goal than viewing the number of likes your business gets.

A good marketing plan allows you to get the future desired result(s) which is your business’ goals. To decide if your goal is measurable you need to set out time-based objectives for the business to acquire the goal. Your objectives should not be too simple nor too complex to attain. Having more than one business strategy is good but it can redirect you from the goal. A good business strategy is direct and coherent. Including different methods in the strategy supports the direction the business should go; different methods include: social media updates, videos, photos and blog posts. Remember every business plan requires a budget, time and a measurement of success.

Skills in photography, video production and design is a good asset to have for people to manage your business on social media. Having a social media team can be costly depending on your budget but if you have organized a social media team you should include a brilliant writer to construct and update blog posts and correspond with customers. Someone who enjoys researching “stalking” is ideal for the team since they can find ideas and information about influencers to help promote your business.

What do I mean by an influencer? An influencer is a marketing term used to describe a blogger or someone with the drive to see your business succeed by engaging in social media progression or even a reporter who’s very active on the different social media platforms. Overall, having someone with good customer service is vital since they will always readily correspond and help customers with concerns on the social site.

As a small business you might consider hiring a small agency, however, keep in mind that whoever you hire they should understand your business’ goal as they will be the face of the business on social media. For the best results, your social media team needs to line up with your business’ goals.

How to Publish Shareable Content

Always stepping into the position of the customer will give you an idea on how to help them, this will aid you to develop a great content for social media. Begin with writing down questions that you or customers might ask then sample the questions under different themes and prepare a short (2 lines) answer for each. This will help you decide what platform will work best for the different themes and then you can add this content to your calendar. For example, if Pepsico wants to introduce new flavors to their Pepsi line to the public they could have different blog post on what inspired the new flavour and encorage customers to reply with their ideas of a new flavour.

Follow the 2 Fs and the simple S: find, filter and share. Finding substantial information, filtering to make them relevant then share them to your social media platforms. The best content reveals what the business is all about and why they are relevant to the customer’s needs.

Developing a reciprocal behaviour with customers is the best relationship to have since it will be based on trust. As the bible says, “do unto others as you would want them to do unto you”. The best advantage of social media is that it can be tracked. Using Google Analytics dashboard can be used to measure how effective your online presence on social media is. This will identify which of your content is reaching your customers and whether or not your business needs to adjust; this measurement takes in depth planning. This is how Google Analytics operates:

Source: Google Analytics

Social media provides the opportunity for a conversation, a two-way street, that develops viral marketing. After creating different headlines you can use a method called A/B email test to test how effective each headline is. The A/B test is only used to compare two options to see which is more effective.

Image result for a/b testingSource: A/B Testing

Using Twitter for A/B testing is useful because you can tweet the headlines out with a trackable link. If none of the headlines are getting the desired attention, then you need to come up with a better headline to grab customer’s attention. Nevertheless, when you do get the attention from your customers you need to listen to what they have to say about your headline.

My Future

Thank God for Lynda! This tutorial session was what I needed to get information about how to use social media for a small business since I would like to have one myself in the near future. Interacting with customers is especially important for a small business since you need loyal customers to get your business going and spreading the word about your business to generate sales and awareness. However, since it will be a new business, hiring an expert with writing skills is a bit too expensive so I will have to develop the right attitude to write and be consistent with post and conversations with customers.

Reference

Waxman, M. (2016, August 8). Social Media Marketing for small business. Retrieved from https://www.lynda.com/Facebook-tutorials/How-conduct-AB-test/471976/518643-4.html?autoplay=true

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