Mastering Social Media Marketing for Small Business

Whatever the size of your enterprise, you need to leverage social media platforms to build your customer base, increase loyalty and engagement and boost business through organic brand advocacy. If you’ve tried social media marketing before and it hasn’t given you a good return on your investment, it could be because you’ve been doing it wrong.

The following seven keys will unlock the door to marketing success on social media for you.

1) There’s an App for That: Use It

Take advantage of the huge range of social media management applications. Often, these apps have both free and premium versions. You can try an app out at no cost before you decide it’s the one to work best for your business.

Several apps offer a specific function or segue with a single social medium, such as Unsplash, which helps you find perfect marketing images fast and SocialDrift, designed to automate interactions on Instagram. Others offer a complete suite of multi-platform tools allowing you to manage all your accounts in one place. Buffer and Hootsuite are good general apps with which to get started.

A common mistake and cause of social media marketing failure is to under-use social media management apps. The key to success is to invest a little time to explore their full functionality.

The best social media management apps offer much more than scheduling., for example, helps streamline research, analysis, content creation, and engagement across 20 of the most popular social media platforms from a central dashboard.

2) Automate but Don’t Become an Automaton

Post-scheduling and delivery, sharing thought-leadership content, responding to messages, following and unfollowing, and syndicating your brand’s content are among the many things you can automate across your social media.

And there’s every reason that you should. What’s the point in wasting your precious time doing repetitive, logic-based tasks you can farm out to a set of smart algorithms?

But the key is to avoid becoming an automaton. Subscribers, followers, fans, prospects, and customers will soon disengage if they sense robots run your brand. So, automate as much of the dog-work as you can, but make sure you also engage at a personal level.

It’s social media. Be social.

If you can afford it, use a full or part-time social media manager and task them with the role of direct public engagement. If you can’t, dedicate a couple of hours a week, or ten minutes a day, and do it yourself.

3) Analyze Your Pants Off

To develop a powerful and profit-boosting social media marketing campaign you must analyze every action you take and every result you get. You can’t do this by guesswork and intuition. An effective social media marketing campaign is a long-term, data-driven strategy which you tweak in the light of what you learn from the analysis.

But you can put your slide rule and log tables away. Remember all those social media marketing apps? The best come loaded with powerful analytical tools. Use them.

You can track who engages with, shares, and responds to your content, which campaign elements boost following and which lead to sales, and much more.

Analyze the pants off your campaign and then use the information to improve. If you stick with it for the long-term, you’ll develop a rinse-and-repeat workflow. The result is a laser-targeted, responsive and effective marketing campaign that brings results.

4) Make Them Love You

Social media marketing campaigns which fall flat are often based on uninspiring advertisement-style posts, lack of engagement, predictability, and a failure to listen. Think of social media as a big networking party. You want to be the life and soul of that party. Or at the least, you don’t want to be the desperate guy boring to death anyone he can lure into a corner.

On social media, you must make them love you. And here’s how:

Social Media Marketing

Make Your Profile Stand Out

In the same way, you wouldn’t turn up to a black-tie event in jeans and a sweater and you wouldn’t go to a beach party in a tux, make sure your profile presents your brand in a way appropriate to your target audience. And be creative. Use images, taglines, and design to stand out from the crowd while signaling familiarity.

Engage, Share, Value Others, and Listen

Don’t be the awkward guy in the kitchen who doesn’t know how to strike up a conversation. And don’t be the loud-mouth braggart who only talks about himself. Engage with your audience on social media, share their best content, show an interest in others.

Listen to what they have to say (and then use that information to target your next campaign).

Everybody Loves a (Good) Party Trick

Offer your followers high-value opportunities for engagement. Think of competitions, quizzes, dedicated hashtags, Q&As, live discussions, and seminars. And now and then, throw them a curve ball, make them laugh, or surprise them with the information they’d never have guessed.

5) Invite People to Help Build the Brand They Want

Did you ever hear of the “Do Us A Flavor” contest? Well, over 14 million people did. And they all entered Frito-Lay’s social media campaign to develop a new flavor for their potato chips. That’s engagement and brand awareness building in action.

Inviting your followers to help you make brand and product decisions like which color they prefer, the logo and the name is a powerful tool to leverage on your social media. Frito-Lay’s original contest was so successful it’s become an annual event. Doritos, Pepsi, and Oreo are other big brands which have all followed suit.

6) Take Social Responsibility Seriously

Nick Cave sang “people, they ain’t no good”, but that’s a hard statement to prove on social media, despite the few who use it for unsavory purposes. There’s massive public engagement with good causes, crowdfunding, and charitable giving across all social media platforms. That’s an opportunity for you to contribute value to society and build your brand.

Several effective methods you can try:

One-for-one Campaigns

With this strategy, you offer a product or service based on donating to a cause for each sale. Studies show that between two similar products, people prefer the one that offers them the “feel-good factor” of a donation to a cause they believe in. You can tie this in with your engagement strategy by running a poll among your followers to decide which charity to support.

Donations in Kind or Percentage of Profits

When you make donations in-kind or give a regular percentage of profits to social causes, you don’t link the donations to sales, but make it part of your ongoing social responsibility strategy. Choose a cause close to the hearts of your followers and state what you’re doing up front on all your social media profiles.

Elective Donation Matching

A proven way to boost sales and engagement is to let your customers choose where they want the donation element of their purchase to go. The trick here is to offer a limited but diverse range of opportunities. The side benefit of this strategy is that it offers useful data. Analyzing your customer’s preferences offers you insights you can use to fine-tune your next campaign.

7) Play It Again, Sam

It’s old news to most marketers that you must expose a prospect at least seven times to a product or brand message before they’ll act. Whatever the precision of that statement, don’t be afraid to reiterate your campaigns and messages. Social media moves fast and effective outreach depends on repetition to get the message across.

Your research and analytics will tell you what your audience loves and what they love to share and advocate for. Once you know what that is, don’t innovate, iterate.

Give the people what they love and keep on giving it to them as long as they love it.

In time you’ll build up a raft of effective strategies and develop a “rinse and repeat” approach which saves time, guarantees results, and boosts profits and brand awareness. A good story is always worth repeating.

13 Proven Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Social media platforms may change with time, but social media itself is here to stay. In America alone, almost 70% of the population engages with social media.

That figure is only likely to grow.

That’s a huge pool of marketing potential. It’s attractive to small and medium-sized business owners as barriers to entry are low. Social media accounts are free. Use these seven keys to master your social media marketing and reap the rewards for years to come.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Kevin A. Nye

I am a dynamic and seasoned operations executive with over 20 years of rich experience in leading diverse teams and driving organizational growth across multiple sectors. Possessing a strong track record in strategic planning and execution, I excel in transforming challenges into opportunities. Having served in roles in Supply Chain, Operations, and Regional management, I was previously the Chief Operating Officer of a regional steel company, Director of Operations for a third-generation family-owned citrus packing company, and served on the Boards of Directors of Sunkist Growers and Fruit Growers Supply.

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