The internet has redefined how people do business. Efforts for traditional marketing have been replaced with modern ones that drive better results in shorter amount of time. Then followed the marketing shift to social media platforms which allow business owners to target customers more precisely and communicate with them to build their brand and trust.
Social media marketing is beneficial to all sizes and kinds of businesses. Although there is a misconception that spending for extra services leads to better results, the truth remains that there is a lot you can be doing with out having to spend a lot of money. So, whether or not you have the budget to spend for paid ads on social networks, here are five steps on how you can hit it big in your social media strategy:
Step 1 - Determine the best social media platforms.
Hundreds of social media platforms exist nowadays, from global ones to user-specific networks. As a small or medium-sized business owner, it will only consume your time if you use every available free platform there is. If you do not have analytics on your customers, then opt for the famous ones such us Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
However, before creating a business account on these platforms, determine if it is applicable to your goal. Are you connecting with customers or other businesses in your industry? What kind of content are you planning to share? What kind of business are you? The answers to these fundamental questions will determine your best pick.
As Stephanie Shkolnik, Digitaria social media director, puts it, “businesses should identify specific social networks based on their business/brand goals and target audiences.” Hence, if you want to talk to other businesses, then LinkedIn is appropriate. If you are running a restaurant or clothes shop, then choose Pinterest and Instagram. If you are in a specific field such as medical or health, then look for a site specifically made for your industry. Facebook, the top social media platform nowadays, is great for connecting with customers.
Step 2 - Allocate a social media budget.
“It's quite difficult to break through if you're not putting money behind your efforts,” says Carrot Creative director RG Logan. This belief specially applies to Facebook, which lets businesses pay for ads. Most businesses go to the site only to advertise, which is understandable given that paid posts receive more boost in terms of reach and impact. According to the site, unpaid promotions or average posts are by only 16% of the page's followers.
If you cannot afford to pay platform handlers to advertise your services or products, then resort to free methods that still drive considerable results. However, these methods need more focus and time: add social media widgets on your site, put URLs on cards and email signatures, and publish flyers with your social pages. Another tip here is to show your businesses personality. It shouldn’t be all about the products and services you sell.
The important aspect is to keep an intact group of followers and provide them your best service and content that will have them engaging with you and sharing with others.
Step 3 - Focus on content marketing.
Providing content still matters—greatly. Now that you are on social media, do not bombard your customers with hard-sell promotions. Give them quality content that they would like to discuss and share. Educate them about how your products will solve their problems. Once you are able to deliver good content, your customers will be more confident in trying your products or services. The game is sowing the seeds and reaping tomorrow.
Step 4 - Be available all the time.
Being online for your customers comes with many advantages. Study your customers and suppliers when they are likely to be online. For instance, if you cater to employees, then it would be unwise to post updates during their working hours. Instead, post during lunch breaks, at night, or during weekends—crucial times when they are not busy in the office.
Online availability also equates to being responsive. If you are building your reputation, then gain the respect of customers by responding to their comments and considering their suggestions. Do not be selective; accept negative criticisms.
Step 5 - Target emotions.
It is not enough to only get the attention of your customers. In order to get massive returns on your investment, target their emotions. You are selling to humans, so give them content they can relate to. Prick their interest with timely posts that are still relevant to your product or services.
“Focus on emotional analytics as well as numerical ones. Pushing out content that is strong, conversational, and that especially evokes an emotional response will build stronger engagement and audience growth.” In short, provide “feel-good,” personable content - Erica Domesek of P.S.
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