Learn Why Small Businesses Need Social Media
Did you know that the average daily time spent on social is about 142 minutes per day? That means it’s very likely that your target market is hanging out on a social platform like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If you’re struggling to get noticed online, it might be worthwhile to learn how to market your business on social media.
Many businesses have already been taking advantage of social media, and it doesn’t seem like that trend is stopping anytime soon. If you’re not already on there, then you’re seriously missing out.
However, it takes more than just making a random post on Facebook to win with social media. You need some kind of strategy in place.
Before we go over any general concepts regarding social media, it would be helpful to think of our efforts in a 4-part cycle. This was originally formulated by Digital Marketer, but I’ll be giving my own adaptation.
The Social Cycle - How To Market Your Business On Social Media
The social cycle is a type of social media promotion strategy that is made up of 4 stages: Listening, Influencing, Networking, and Selling. Each one of these components is necessary to having a holistic approach towards social media marketing.
Let’s tackle each piece one-by-one.
Social Listening acts as the foundation for the other 3 parts. Without this, your social media strategy will be ill-informed and poorly executed.
As the name implies, you’re listening to your target market on social media. You’re paying attention to what they’re talking about, and what they’re saying about you.
More often than not, people will turn to social media to get in contact with a company. They may voice their frustrations or provide valuable feedback that you can incorporate into your business.
You can think of social media like a hotline that’s on 24/7. You need to be there to answer it, or else it’s going to create a bad impression in the eyes of your audience.
When you’re doing your listening, there’s 5 things you should be looking out for.
Here they are:
- Your brand - Watch for mentions of your company name, products or service, or any other identifying information.
- Topics - Pay attention to topics relevant in your industry. For example, if you sell cars, then you should be paying attention to topics in the car industry.
- Your competitors - What’s being said about them? And are they talking about you?
- Influencers - Pay attention to thought leaders and other influencers in your industry.
- Public-facing people - Listen for mentions of leaders or influencers in your company. For example, if you worked for Amazon, you’d be listening to mentions of Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of the company.
At this point, we should have a pretty good idea of what’s going on around us. This is where we switch and decide to be a bit more proactive with your social media marketing efforts.
In this stage of the social cycle, our focus is on shaping the thoughts, opinions, and attitudes of our target market. We do that by sharing videos, podcasts, blog posts, or any form of content that will help inform our audience.
We have a few main goals when it comes to this part of the cycle. Firstly, we want to increase engagement with our brand or content. This can take the form of post reactions, link clicks, comments, or shares.
Also, we want to create conversations around topics that are related to our business. This also helps to build a “know, like and trust” factor around our business. Simply put, people only do business with people (or brands) they know, like, and trust.
Lastly, we want to generate awareness of our products or offers. It’s no use having a great product if no one knows it exists.
In this stage, we’re continuing to be proactive, just like we were in the previous stage. Instead of sharing content, we’re going to be focused on connecting with like-minded influencers and authorities in your niche.
Networking is a vital part of any business. No man (or business) is an island and it helps to connect with other brands or businesses that have similar goals that you have.
An easy way to network with other businesses is by sharing their content. This can be a win-win situation for both yourself and the brand who’s content you’re sharing. You can share content that you haven’t already covered to help your audience and the brand gets some extra reach from you sharing their content.
Networking, whether offline or online, is a long-term strategy. Don’t expect to see results overnight. If you make it a consistent habit to share valuable content from other businesses, this might pave the way for partnerships in the future.
We’ve finally arrived at the final stage of the Social Cycle. If you’ve done everything up to this point, you’re finally ready to start promoting your products and services on social media.
To promote on social media, you’re going to need some type of funnel to get things going. A funnel is a representation of the journey of your target market. This is how they go from being a strange to becoming a customer.
For example, let’s say you were advertising on Facebook. You could have an ad that promotes a particular blog post on your website. When they land on your website, you can embed an optin form into your post to get them to sign up as a lead. Once they sign up as a lead, you can follow-up via email or Facebook retargeting to get them to buy your product.
Each stage brings them a step closer towards becoming a customer. Once they become your customer, you can keep selling to them again and again. If your product is really good, your customers may become your biggest evangelists.
Social Media Marketing Tips For Beginners
Now that we’ve gone over the broad overview of social media marketing, we can now cover some general tips that may be useful.
Choose The Right Social Media Platform
There are a variety of different social media platforms out there like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, to name a few. This doesn’t mean that you need to be on all of them. In fact, spreading yourself too thin can have the opposite effect.
You want to focus on platforms that your target market is already located. For most niches, that would be Facebook. If your niche is big on visuals like restaurants or the arts, then you should also consider Instagram.
Most niches should look into YouTube as well. It’s one of the largest video sharing sites and has over a billion users with every type of video you can think off. Also, internet traffic has been favoring video for quite some time. It’s estimated that 80% of all internet traffic will be attributed to videos in 2020.
Create A Calendar - How To Market Your Business On Social Media
Marketing on social media should be just one part of your overall marketing strategy. At the same time, you don’t want to leave things up to chance either.
In order to make sure you’re on track, a calendar might prove very useful. If you plan ahead of time what posts you’re going to be doing, you save yourself from worrying about it later.
This also helps with being consistent on social media, which is a critical component to having any sort of success with it. For example, if you’re just posting once in a blue moon, it’s going to take a long time for you to get any traction on social media.
On the other hand, if you’re posting consistently, then it’s more likely that people will pay attention to you. They will continue to come back to your social media profiles to see your latest updates and will help to build that “know, like and trust” factor between you and your audience.
Build A Community - How To Market Your Business On Social Media
You can’t spell social media without “social” and it seems that most businesses forget about that. At the end of the day, people don’t go on social media to buy stuff. They go on social media to share their life, connect with friends and families, and watch some funny cat videos.
If you’re going to invest time in social media, then you need to be sociable. There’s a way to do self promotion on social media without being spammy. And one of the best ways you can do that is by creating a community around your business.
If you’ve been through the social cycle, you should already have an idea what interests your target market. Why not build a group around it? You can create groups on Facebook for free and there’s no limit to the amount of members you can have.
You can even connect your Facebook Page with your Facebook group and interact as your Facebook Page. This will help to further establish your brand in the mind of your target market.
Share Quality Content - How To Market Your Business On Social Media
Sharing helpful and useful content goes a long way towards building authority with your audience. People want to be in the know and they tend to follow people that can point them in the right direction.
The best part is that you don’t have to be the expert. You can share other people’s content and still gain the benefit of building trust with your audience. It is highly recommended that you write your own content and share it on social media as well.
Make a list of top blogs in your niche as a reference. Then, make it a habit to share an article or two each week from this list. This also goes hand-in-hand with Social Networking, where the goal is to build connections with other brands in your industry.
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