It’s a challenge for many small business owners to market their business, especially when it comes to strategy and budget. Whether you are a well-established brand with a large budget, or a start-up with limited manpower, spending your marketing dollars effectively is a must. You need to make sure that whatever marketing mediums you choose are reaching the most people possible. That’s why making social media work for your business is crucial.
Social media provides a free platform to market your business, and you likely already have a personal or business social media account. But with so many different social media platforms, along with their ever-changing algorithms, how can you ensure each post gets the exposure it deserves? Many business owners feel frustrated with social media, either because they don’t know what kind of content to post, or they have posted in the past with little return. The good news is, with a little bit of knowledge about social media, you can create a winning strategy for your brand, with the little out-of-pocket cost!
Step 1: Branding Guidelines
The first step to making social media work for your business is to create branding guidelines. Brand guidelines include things like your logo, colors, primary and secondary fonts, and the “feel” of your brand. The look and feel of your brand are paramount to your marketing success because it sets your brand apart from your competition. You want customers to see your ads and immediately recognize who you are. Your branding guidelines can even go so far as to include your vision, mission, and how each marketing piece makes the consumer feel. Do you want to be perceived as serious, carefree, colorful, or funny? Your branding guidelines help you and/or your marketing team to ensure that every advertising campaign properly reflects your brand. Think of your favorite brands, like Apple, Coca-Cola, or Microsoft. What do these brands all have in common? A strategic, well-put-together design with consistency throughout each campaign helps to represent the brand while making their product easily recognizable, whether on social media, TV, print, or packaging. When you’re creating your social media profiles, your branding should be consistent. This holds true whether you are on two platforms or many platforms.
Step 2: What’s Your Target Demographic?
The second step to making social media work for your business is to decide what your target demographic is and which platforms will help you to reach that demographic. Each social media platform has slightly different demographics, the most popular of which we will go into in more detail.
- Facebook is still the most popular social media platform, with over 50% of consumers looking to Facebook before deciding to do business with a new (to them) company (com).
- Facebook reaches nearly every demographic and age group, from 18-year olds to 65+.
- Facebook changes their algorithm frequently with the goal of enhancing the user experience, which has hinders businesses ’ reach on their posts within this platform.
- Instagram is a highly-visual platform, giving you the opportunity to showcase the beauty of your products, storefront, and brand.
- Instagram Stories help you to show your followers behind-the-scenes and the daily life of your brand, but this feature is often underutilized by businesses.
- Instagram users aren’t only millennials, with your posts reaching everyone from teens up to mid-forties.
- LinkedIn is a business-centric platform, giving you the opportunity to create a page for your business that is separate from your personal LinkedIn profile. You can also create Showcase Pages that highlight services or products you offer!
- Your employees can link to your business profile, providing more reach and engagement as you grow.
- The largest demographic for this platform are professionals from the age of 18-49, with 45% of LinkedIn users making over $75K/year.
- Twitter has become a fast-paced, news-worthy platform, with snippets of up-to-the-minute information being shared and retweeted daily.
- The more you post on Twitter, the more followers you will gain. The most popular Twitter profiles tweet every 15 minutes on average!
- Twitter users largest demographic range in age from 18-29, with 30% of Twitter users making over $75K/year.
- Pinterest may be the last place you would think to post for business and actually doesn’t consider itself a “social media platform”. This is because they want to be an idea-sharing platform, where people get inspired to go out and “do”.
- Pinterest boasts mostly female users, which makes it a valuable tool for businesses that wish to target women. Not to mention, women make the majority of purchase decisions in a household!
- Creating original pins and re-pinning other relevant pins helps your boards to stay relevant and gain organic followers.
Step 3: Quality and Consistency
The third, and most important, step to making social media work for your business is posting quality content consistently. These go hand in hand because gorgeous content that is only posted once a month will do you as much good as subpar content being posted multiple times each day. Many businesses start their social media profiles feeling excited about all the opportunities social media presents, and then quickly fizzle out if their posts reach only a few people or if they don’t see an immediate increase in sales. It’s hard to stay motivated without a return on your investment! Instead of spending your time running your business, you’re creating posts, responding to comments, engaging with other pages, and trying to figure out what works best. When there is so much pressure to make every single post stellar, it can seem overwhelming to create a lasting strategy. Even if you are creating amazing content, your business owner’s schedule takes precedence. You already have so much on your plate that social media tends to get pushed down to the bottom each day. Suddenly, you haven’t posted in a few days, a week, or even a month! The simple fact about social media is that consistent amazing content posts make your followers look forward to seeing you every day. Fans will be more willing to share your posts, and you are creating an image that will eventually create lifelong brand advocates.
In short, the goal of any marketing campaign, including social media, is to drive sales, book new appointments, and increase website traffic while ultimately building your brand. Social media gives you a unique opportunity to truly connect with your customers. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. Remember, even if you aren’t using social media, your current, and potential customers are! Creating a winning social media strategy by incorporating these 3 tips will help you to keep marketing costs low while reaching the most customers possible.
A guest blog is written by Morgana LeBold, owner of Red Door Consulting. Red Door Consulting helps businesses to grow using social media marketing, nationwide.