As a business owner, you need to be involved in social media. As a business owner, it’s important to stay up-to-date on social media marketing tips. Social media is a great way to connect with customers and promote your business.
There are 4.2 billion people who use social media regularly, which is almost double the amount of people who used it 5 years ago. On average, those people spend 2 hours and 25 minutes every day on social media platforms.
Those nearly 2.5 hours offer an incredible opportunity for businesses to:
- build brand awareness
- develop customer relationships
- and even make sales directly within social platforms.
The importance of social media for small businesses
If you’re a one-person marketing team, or if you manage all aspects of your business, you understand how important it is to wear many hats. With so many things to do to keep your business running, social media marketing is essential for promoting your brand on social platforms.
Social media is used by more than half of the world’s population, according to a recent analysis.
Since last year, 424 million new users have joined social media.
Social media provides an opportunity for small businesses to connect with their audience, build brand awareness, and create brand loyalty. Additionally, social media can be used as a lead generation platform by creating content that prospects and customers will find valuable. Ultimately, this will result in a higher level of affinity for the small business brand.
If you’re looking to market your business on social media in 2022, here are some tips to help you get started.
- Start with a plan
A good business plan is the foundation of any successful business strategy. While you can get some social tools for free, using them still takes time and effort, which is an investment in your business.
If you do not have a plan, you will not have a clear goal for what you are trying to achieve. This also means that you will not be able to measure if you are getting a return on your investment.
Make sure to set aside time to create a social media plan that will help you achieve your business goals. Having a plan ensures that your social media activities are focused and effective.
Here are some strategic social media tips from our guide to creating a social media marketing plan:
Set social media goals and objectives
Your goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely in order to be successful.
It is important to set goals based on things that will actually have an impact on your business, rather than setting goals that may be difficult to measure the success of. For example, rather than aiming to get a certain number of likes, it would be more beneficial to set a goal to acquire customers or increase your conversion rate.
Research the competition
What techniques are your competitors using on social media? You can learn a lot by observing what others are doing, without copying them.
Competitive analysis involves research in order to determine what strategies other businesses are using in order to be successful. This can help you to learn what is working and what is not working for other businesses in your industry.
Conduct a social media audit
If you are already using social media, it is now time to look back at your existing efforts and see how they are working.
It’s important to not only look at what your online competitors are doing, but also to look at other businesses in different industries for inspiration.
If you want to find examples of businesses succeeding through social media, you can go to the business section of most social media websites. There you will find case studies that can be useful to you.
Keep an eye on your favorite brands to see what makes you want to click, follow, or buy from them.
Create a social media calendar
A social media calendar helps you to plan what content you will post on which social media platform and when you will post it.
If you want your content to be successful, start with the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of your content should be focused on informing, educating, or entertaining your audience. The other twenty percent can be used to promote your brand or sell your products.
- Decide which platforms are right for you
Do not assume that your audience spends their time online in one particular place.
If you are targeting Gen Z, you should not only focus on Instagram and TikTok, but also on Facebook, as nearly a quarter of Facebook users are aged 18 to 24.
If you are looking to target baby boomers, you should focus on Facebook and Pinterest. These are the two social media platforms where boomers are most active. Additionally, the 65 and older age group is Facebook’s fastest-growing audience.
Even if you think TikTok marketing is not right for your brand, well-established brands with an audience outside of Gen Z are still experimenting with the platform.
TikTok was downloaded 56 million times in December 2020.
To ensure that you are using social media for business effectively, you will need to do some research to understand how your specific audience spends their online time.
You don’t have to choose between different social platforms. You can use them all to reach different audiences or to meet different business goals.
The average internet user has 8.4 social media accounts, so you can connect with them on different platforms for different purposes. You can use social media to connect with people for different reasons such as networking, marketing, or simply staying in touch with friends and family.
Facebook can be used to build an audience and generate leads, while Twitter can be used for customer service.
- Know your audience
Using social media for business is effective because you can target your audience specifically. First, however, you need to understand who your audience is.
You can begin to understand your customer base better by gathering data on your current customers and then using social media analytics. This will give you insights into who is buying from you and interacting with you online.
After you have determined who your target audience is, you can develop buyer personas. This will enable you to comprehend the most effective ways to communicate with your target audience.
- Expand your audience
After you have a better understanding of who your target audience is, you can go back and take another look at your social media strategy. Try to find ways to reach more people who are just like them.
For example, when lockdown measures led more people to look for ways to fill their time at home, The Great Courses Plus adjusted its Facebook advertising strategy to expand its audience quickly.
The company offered a longer free trial and advertised it to a large audience in the United States. Then, they used lookalike audiences to reach new audiences in Canada, the UK, and Australia who were similar to their most loyal customers.
The expanded audience strategy led to an increase of over 10 times the average monthly subscriptions.
Social media can also help you reach new potential customers who are already in your geographic area for your local business. For example, Hootsuite geo-search streams can help you monitor and respond to local conversations about your business.
- Build relationships
Social media marketing is beneficial for small businesses because it allows them to communicate directly with their customers and followers. This communication can help build relationships over time, rather than just asking for sales.
Social media can be used to make a sale.
More than 44% of internet users use social networks to research brands, which includes getting to know who the brand is and what they stand for.
It’s a good idea to engage with people who interact with your organic content or ads, as this builds trust and creates a loyal following. As fans share and like your content, you’ll get better placement in social media algorithms and gain new, free exposure.
The average Facebook users has over 1,000 potential Newsfeed posts available to them at any one time. However, Facebook uses engagement signals to help predict which of those posts users are most likely to see. When you establish relationships with your followers, they are more likely to see your posts on their Newsfeed.
Building strong relationships with your customers is not only beneficial in acquiring new customers, but also in retaining them.
Hootsuite’s Social Transformation survey found that 69% of respondents said social media helped maintain customer relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Twitter data, 70% of people say it is important for bands to help boost positivity during this time.
So how do you build relationships, beyond responding to follower comments on your posts? Try these strategies:
Create a Facebook Group
Facebook groups can help build community and brand loyalty.
You can join the New York Times Podcast Club Facebook Group to discuss podcasts with other likeminded people. The group has over 37,000 members and is a great way to get recommendations and find new shows to listen to.
The goal of the program is to keep members engaged by having them listen to selected podcasts each week.
Connect with other entrepreneurs and influencers in your niche
You may think that your business is too small to work with influencers, but even micro-influencers and nano-influencers with as few as 1,000 followers can be effective in establishing brand trust.
A bonus of using bigger models is that they are often well within the budget range of smaller brands.
The lingerie brand Lively promoted their bralettes and skincare products by partnering with influencers, including those with a small targeted following.
The company found that ad creative from influencers that was promoted on the influencers’ own profiles had a 75% higher conversion rate and 50% higher return on ad spend.
Mention followers in your posts and Stories
There are many benefits to collecting user-generated content (UGC) through contests and branded hashtags. Not only is it a great way to source high-quality material for your social media feed, but UGC can also serve as a powerful form of social proof.
When you share your followers’ content on your social media platforms and tag them, it helps you develop relationships with some of your most dedicated fans.
When a fan tags you in an Instagram Story, you will receive a notification in your direct messages. Be sure to share it with your followers too – it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Use the social platforms’ built-in interactive tools
There are many ways to interact with your followers using features such as Twitter polls and interactive stickers in Instagram stories.
An example of this would be Panera Bread’s relationship-building campaign this summer to promote their new coffee subscription. They said that if 500,000 people voted Yes in their Twitter poll, they would give away free coffee all summer.
The poll got more than 588,000 responses.
“We want to know if our customers would value a coffee subscription program,” said Kelli Nicholson, Panera Bread’s Director of Brand Marketing. She told Twitter that the campaign was an important way to evaluate this.
- Determine your social media posting frequency
To make the most of your social media presence, choose a few platforms where your audience is most engaged, and commit to regularly posting there. You can use social media management tools like Hootsuite to help you schedule posts, reply to comments, and engage with your audience frequently.
You don’t want to post too often and become a nuisance, but you also don’t want to post so infrequently that your audience forgets you exist. Small business owners often worry about how often they should publish on social media. It depends on the social media platforms you use to communicate with your audience. You don’t want to post too often and become a nuisance, but you also don’t want to post so infrequently that your audience forgets you exist.
According to a study performed by the Statista Research Department in 2021, here are the experts’ recommendations on how frequently you should post on social media:
If you want to increase your connection and engagement on Instagram, post stories regularly.
Aim to publish on Facebook once a day.
Twitter: Post multiple times a day when you have an online audience.
It is important to post on LinkedIn at least once a week to take advantage of its business networking capabilities.
After you’ve decided how often you’ll post, stick to that number to see how your audience reacts. Check in every so often to see what sort of feedback you’re getting and how engaged your audience is.
- Create a social media content calendar
A social media calendar can help you keep track of your upcoming posts on social media platforms. Creating a social media calendar can involve using a spreadsheet, Google calendar, or interactive dashboard to organize your posts. This can help you ensure that you are timely and consistent with your social media postings.
For each post, a social media calendar usually includes a combination of the following elements:
- It will go live on the specified date and time.
- The social media account and network where it will be shared
- The links and tags are required for copy and creative assets (photos or videos).
A social media content calendar takes a lot of the guesswork out of social media posting and having one will provide many benefits for your small business, such as:
- Helps you focus on goals and spot gaps: Your social media posting should have a goal in mind. If you are posting just to post, then you will never know if your social media is working.
- Social media content calendars save time for small businesses: Content calendars may appear to be a good idea, but as a business owner, you may believe you don’t have time for them. But creating a content calendar takes less time than posting individual social posts on a daily basis. You’d get into a rhythm if you sat down and did this for a few hours.
- Create content with higher quality: If you are creating a content calendar, you are prioritizing your marketing and social media strategy. This will result in higher-quality posts.
- Reduces mistakes: A content calendar will help you avoid major mistakes that can occur when you do social media at the last minute. You’ll be able to spot problems because you’ll have more time to review your content. It’s also a lot easier to tweak and adjust to changes in your small business.