Social Media Management 101 for Small Businesses
Social media represents many things to many people. It entertains, educates, and informs. What can’t be overlooked is that it is a powerful marketing tool, particularly for businesses on a small budget. Shares, brand mentions, and influencer endorsements can take a new product or small business from relative obscurity to a viral sensation in days.
While overnight successes do happen, most small businesses find that gaining a following creates organic brand awareness, driving foot traffic to brick and mortar stores and increasing attendance at events. Social media marketing has unparalleled potential for growth that has little to do with expensive ad spend, particularly compared to many other techniques. It is an ideal strategy for advertising on a budget.
Here we’ll explore methods, tools, and software that can help your small business successfully manage social media strategies without breaking the bank.
How To Set Social Media Goals
Setting the right goals ensures that you reach your audience effectively by establishing objectives that are actionable and relevant to your brand. Your goals can and should incorporate other aspects of your advertising. Incorporating complementary platforms, such as pairing social media with radio ads, strengthens the performance of your strategy. Radio stations can also use their own or their on-air personalities’ social media accounts to further promote your brand for further effect.
All your goals should align with your overarching marketing strategy. For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, focus your goals on increased reach and brand recognition. If your marketing strategy is brand differentiation, instead focus on increasing your brand’s value to customers by highlighting superior performance or customer benefits compared to your competitors. Beginning a social media marketing campaign without clear goals makes it almost impossible to know what metrics to track, much less how to tell if you’ve been successful.
Choosing the Proper Channels And Tools
Once you’ve identified your target customer, it is essential to be strategic in the social media channels you choose so that your ads reach them. One way to optimize your marketing spend is by identifying the channels where your competitors are advertising. When you have the right channel in mind, the next step is finding ways to engage your target customers. Customer engagement tools can be invaluable for making two-way communication easier.
Engagement management software makes generated content more dynamic and relevant. It allows you to track and centralize your messages to personalize your interactions with your customers. The more contextually relevant your messages, the deeper the relationship you create since engaged customers are five times more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
Automating Social Media For Success
Having a consistent social media presence is one way to keep your brand top of mind and inspire your customers’ trust. Automation allows you to create several posts at once then publish them over time. Social media software like HubSpot or Hootsuite enables you to schedule and automate your posts while you focus on running your business. This software helps you stand apart, since 80% of companies that used automation tools saw an increase in leads, while 77% realized an increase in conversions.
Automation tools offer a variety of benefits, including:
- Enhanced time management
- Increased customer engagement
- 24-hour support using chatbots
- Accelerated customer response time
- Automated reporting
- Easily curated content
Don’t let the term automation fool you. Successful marketing still requires human interaction. Its biggest strength is in increasing efficiency, so you have the time to market your brand in a way that resonates with your customers.
Tracking Your Performance
Most businesses are familiar with using website analytics to monitor performance. The same is true for tracking the performance and success of social media marketing. Social analytics allow companies to collect social media data to identify useful patterns. Analytics provides insight that helps businesses to:
- Create more relevant and engaging content
- Identify the days and times your target customer reads content
- Collect keywords your customers use to search for specific content on social media
- Track brand mentions
- Locate influencers
- Compare your competitors’ performance for valuable insight
When you consider that over 3.6 billion global social media users are interacting in multiple ways across various networks, it is easy to see that social analytics software is a vital tool for understanding your success. Tracking your performance allows you to adjust your strategy if it isn’t working or capitalize on existing successes. You’ll also be able to get additional information to know when to make your posts for increased visibility, and on which platforms. For instance, LinkedIn users are likely to see posts earlier in the day, whereas Instagram users are more active in the evenings. Analyzing the data across multiple channels allows businesses to understand what is and is not working so that they can make adjustments to increase engagement, strengthen their strategy, and, ultimately, achieve their goals.
Social Media: A Cost-Effective Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses
Small businesses can sometimes struggle with how best to allocate their limited marketing dollars for maximum return. Social media is a perfect marketing platform for small businesses. The key is strategic planning and the use of specialized software. From setting clear, relevant, and achievable goals to choosing the right platform to reach your target customers to automating your posts for a consistent social media presence, automation, analytics, and engagement software can supercharge your marketing efforts for an impressive return on your investment.
Social media is a strong strategy that complements the rest of your marketing goals. However, if social media marketing is too daunting to handle in-house, remember that you can also hire a digital partner to outsource your social media strategy. Leveraging an experienced digital partner allows you to concentrate on running your business with the assurance that your social media strategy is performing optimally to help achieve your business goals.