Although social media marketing cannot (and should not) replace traditional marketing strategies, it has the capacity to significantly impact the business of an organization because of its reach.
With traditional marketing platforms, you can reach only a limited number of people through TV advertisements or billboards, but social media has enabled businesses to market their products in every corner of the world.
Any business entity, be it small or big, now must have a social media marketing strategy in place if it hopes to remain competitive.
Before developing the social media strategy of your business, you must first have a crystal-clear business objective and a well-identified target audience.
You should have clear ideas on what your goals are, and most importantly, you should not cut your budget for traditional marketing.
In this article, we will talk about how to make an effective website, how to choose the right social media platforms, as well as how to select the right content to share with your audience.
Let’s start with developing your small business social strategy.
Determine your Business Objectives for Social Media
Before determining your business objectives for social media, you should keep in mind that these objectives must be realistic. You should also ask yourself a few questions first about what you really want:
- How do you want social media to help your business?
- Who and how will you reach your target audience?
After you have answered these questions, start coming up with your objectives and set them as immediate Key Result Areas (KRAs). Create a road map of how you want things to go so that even if you lose your focus, you can always refer back to your plan.
After you have defined your objectives and created a road map, you will be able to align and refine social media and your investment with business goals where it can have the greatest impact.
One thing you should remember, though: social strategy is not just about your organization, it’s about the customers, your employees, and your fans, too.
Build a simple yet effective and responsive website
Your website is an integral component of your online marketing strategy as this is where the potential and current customers are going to land after seeing any product or offer on your company’s page.
While designing or re-designing your website, these are the things that you should put on your checklist:
Invest your money in a website which not only looks simple and attractive but also shows the professionalism of your business. Don’t forget to have a straightforward navigation scheme on your website.
The “Contact Us” Section
Don’t hide the “Contact Us” section in the corner of the website. As much as possible, make it prominent.
Make sure as well to put every contact detail of your organization through which a customer can contact you, like an email address, a Helpline number, and your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, among others.
Regular Updates and Call to Action
Keep updating your website for new promotions, discounts, sales, and any other relevant information that your customers would appreciate knowing.
Use keywords, too, that users are most likely to search. Using the “Call to Action” button, for example, gives a clearer picture in a customer’s mind. However, it can be called anything else, like “Join NOW and get a 20% discount on their next purchase!”
With the increasing number of smartphone users nowadays, it’s no wonder that mobile searches is fast becoming the leading source of online searches.
If you want your website to take advantage of this traffic, create a mobile-specific website — or at least, use a responsive theme — which will be a slimmed down version of your desktop site and should show the key topics a user would be looking for.
For example, if you own a clothing store, you may consider creating a site that highlights the latest arrivals and remove information that is less important. A responsive design website also is a great way to go but make sure to have you develop (you should work with one) test it thoroughly.
Know your audience and choose social media platforms strategically
Have you figured out who your ideal customer is?
Do you know the people who are following your company?
Knowing the answer to these two questions can guide you into choosing what social media platform to focus on. After all, not all social media networks are made equal. Some are just better suited for others.
Here are the top ten social media figures from 2014.
Traditional marketing demographics are important but you have to get into a customer’s mind and develop a strategy according to it. No one can ignore the fact that social media activities are time-consuming and trying to manage all social media platforms is really hard.
Once you have the right followers, though, all that hard work will be worth it.
Start using Analytic tools — I’d advise using Google Analytics (I’ll explain how to use Google Analytics effectively in the next post) — as it will help in understanding the user behavior and how (and where) they are being referred from various social media platforms.
To begin with, start showing your social media presence by putting icons of social media platforms on your visiting cards, brochures, and any other document that is being published.
Create and share interesting digital content
Apart from the time social media marketing takes, finding relevant content is the much harder part.
You have to be very active on all social media platforms for audience-building. Posting only about sales will result in losing followers.
In sharing digital content, there are three things that you should keep in mind:
- share something that has an immediate impact on your community,
- share quality content,
- share stories about the people in your company.
Building a community takes time and the only way to do it is by sharing quality content, customer opinions, surveys and polls, among other things. Remember, though, customers don’t want to hear how great your company is or what your sales aree.
Be patient with Social Media Marketing
As I said, building a loyal community takes time by gaining the trust of followers and nurturing the company-customer relationship. This is not done by simply sharing whatever articles you have on hand; there has to be a strategy to target the right consumers.
For building a loyal community, you, as the business owner, have to respond to comments, even (or especially) the negative ones. You can also engage with followers by sharing experiences, responding to comments, and encouraging them to share photos.
Replying to both positive and negative feedback will show your customers that your company cares about its consumers. Sometimes, even a “Thank you” on a positive review can do wonders.
If you have been running traditional marketing campaigns, keep them, too. Social Media Marketing cannot replace traditional marketing, but rather enhance it. It is most effective when you keep online marketing and offline marketing integrated with each other.
To sum up, Social Media Marketing is not for everyone, you have to find that magical “sweet spot.” If done correctly and consistently, it can potentially set your business worlds apart from your competitors and because so many don’t do it, you don’t have to be spectacular to see results.
5 great resources you should check out: