Social media has come a long way from being a place to post pictures, videos, statuses, and memes. Many social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat offer value to businesses and advertisers. These platforms have offered small businesses a level playing field, placing them in a stronger position to compete with larger competitors. This blog explores how small businesses can make use of social media platforms to build awareness, earn revenues, and drive growth.
What Is the Importance of Social Media for Small Businesses
Social media offers significant value to small and medium-sized businesses. Entrepreneurs have to wear many hats, at least in the early stages of their businesses. There can be any number of reasons for this. Maybe you’re running an online business from your garage on your home Wi-Fi. If you haven’t found a competent person to add to your team. Maybe you’re learning as you go. Or maybe you’re just running on a tight budget for now.
In many cases, social media duties would also fall to you as the entrepreneur and leader of your organization. It pays to learn about social media, even on a rudimentary level, because it opens up access to a much larger market that directly impacts your sales revenue and profits. Remember that digital consumers are much more likely to purchase from brands that they follow on social media. That is why a modern business of any size and nature cannot afford to neglect or be ignorant about social media.
Defining Your Social Media Objectives
The first step to any strategy involving social media for small businesses (or even larger enterprises) is to first set the social goals you want to achieve. Many social media strategies often fail simply because the managers were unable to clearly and correctly define their social goals. Why is this important? For one thing, having a goal is how you measure the success of your social media strategy. For another, having a goal lets you experiment with different variables to better achieve that goal.
You can choose your goal based on your marketing funnel. The time for creating social posts in bulk and scheduling them for publishing is long gone. In fact, being overly promotional can actually deter consumers from interacting with your brand on social media, considering how touchy people are about aesthetics and internet safety. Of course, building brand awareness and reach are still essential. But you still need to engage with them at every step of the marketing funnel from awareness to advocacy.
You can also set goals based on what your competitors are doing. Remember, many other brands probably face the same social challenges as you. That means you can study their tactics and see if their goals align with your own. These could be increasing website clicks, driving brand engagement, or improving community engagement.
Understanding Social Analytics
Setting goals and objectives is a crucial step. But it is equally critical to track and monitor your progress towards successfully achieving those goals. While consumers enjoy features like Social TV, businesses use other features. Social media analytics offer the data you need to measure your progress and are by far the most used feature by brands on social platforms. Here are just a few metrics that you commonly see on social media analytics:
- Engagement rates
Analytics are not just limited to social media. Every platform that allows brands to advertise their products will offer some form of measurement to the advertiser. That’s why you see ads on the free version of YouTube. On the other hand, no ads is a popular Netflix fact, since there are no advertisers on the platform as yet. Ergo, no analytics.
Useful Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
You now understand the value that social media can offer to your small business. You also have a better idea of why it is critical to set goals and measure performance. Now it is time for some actionable tips that you can apply to your own small business and its social media strategy:
- Identify your audience.
- Use engagement to build relationships with members of your audience.
- Constantly search social media for new opportunities and markets.
- Put together a social media calendar for at least 3 weeks.
- Identify the optimal times to post your social content.
- Research appropriate hashtags to use and expand your reach.
- Carry out social media audits to determine your social presence.
- Place great emphasis on high-quality visuals as opposed to just text.
- Videos usually generate the most engagement.
- Min in paid campaigns with your organic efforts.
Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter recipe for social media success. And you can’t just give a platform like Facebook an earful if your expectations aren’t met as you would to the helpful folk at Cox customer care. Luckily, the more you experiment with social media strategies, the more likely you are to find one that works. Good luck!