As smartphones dominate the cell phone market it’s no surprise that the use of apps become more popular. People have become more glued to their phones as time passes. The number of social media users worldwide in 2019 is 3.484 billion, up 9% year-on-year. Social media usage has grown 58% among U.S. adults in the last 12 years. With that many users, it seems obvious that utilizing social media would benefit your business, right?
In 2015, 53% of small businesses actively used social media. In 2018, usage had grown to 77%. These companies are benefiting, whether its from reaching potential clients or maintaining relationships with current ones. Businesses who aren’t on social media aren’t just missing out on opportunities to grow, they’re missing out on opportunities to beat out the competition.
Okay, so what are these benefits?
Reach Potential Clients
Most obviously, you can reach potential clients. This sounds kind of general, what does it really mean? For one, using relevant hashtags makes your channel accessible to new people. By hashtagging a certain word or phrase, your post is now searchable by that topic, along with other people using the hashtag.
The first thing everyone thinks of it ads. On most social media platforms, you can pay to run an advertisement. These range from pictures, videos, links and others. For example, Neil Patel explains that Facebook ads are targeted to users based on their location, demographic, and profile information. You can promote your page, posts on your page, actions users took, or your website itself. Advertisements vary from platform to platform, so look into what options best fit your needs.
Another way to get your name visible is by commenting on other relevant posts. It could be as simple as sharing your perspective on a picture or article. You can also interact with companies you have a relationship with. Make sure to add to the conversation without disrupting.
Geotagging is another great way to get the word out. For example, if you turn on geotagging for Facebook, users can tag your business and location when visiting or using your company. Why does this matter? The average person typically has at least 50-100 friends. Every time they post while tagging your business, you have the potential to reach that many new customers.
Followers is another way to reach out. Following someone automatically notifies them of your business. On the flip side, being followed by specific accounts can work as well. When I moved to a new state, I was interested in new things to do. By simply searching my location on Instagram, I found an account that curates fun things to do in the area. Since I was still curious, I looked to who they were following for interesting shops or trendy restaurants. This can work past just location. Think topical. If I want to find more design avenues, I may look to see who a designer/company I enjoy follows. Using your formed relationships in business can translate to exposure.
Expand Your Branding Voice
In our previous article, we dove into the reasons a brand is so important. One avenue discussed was touchpoints. Hank Brigman defines touchpoints as an influential action initiated by a communication, a human contact or a physical or sensory interaction. Social media is a great touchpoint to not only interact with customers, but show them who the brand.
Social media utilizes both visuals and writing. You can express your visual language through colors, photography, and type. Show of your logo in your profile picture. Use your banner as an avenue for free advertising. Then there’s your feed- it’s a blank canvas. Every caption is an opportunity to practice your brand voice. Think of how you can use it to create a cohesive, inviting environment.
Create a Community
Once you’ve brought in an audience, your accounts are methods of fostering a community with current followers. These followers have already decided they like you business, so now it’s time to keep them engaged. This will keep your company in the forefront of their minds.
Of course you want to showcase your brand on your business account, but people don’t solely use social media to research companies or products. They want to be entertained. Therefore, while you share informative posts, you also want to include call to actions that invite the customer to participate. This could be a question posed that calls the viewer to respond in the comments.
One thing you can do to both engage your community and create new interest is running a contest. Create a giveaway using your own products, a partner’s product, a related product to your business, a unique experience, or a gift card. Figure out the length and rules of your contest. What is the call to action? It could be to tag friends in the comments, follow certain accounts, or share content related to the business.
Some successful ideas is to have followers post pictures doing specific actions while tagging your business. Whether this is posting your brand’s sticker somewhere or making a silly face in a specific location, there are endless possibilities. HeyOrca’s article goes into further detail on how to run a contest.
You can also interact with client accounts. This can be done by re-sharing posts they have made about your business or product. It can also be done through the comment section. Whether it’s simply replying to a comment positively or answering questions, the comment section can be a good place to make connections. By doing this, you show you that your company is available.
As previously mentioned, your accounts should have a balance of relatable content mixed into your own branding and product plugs. Allison Davis of MarketMeSuite shared a chart, shown below, that helps an owner determine the right blend of posting topics.
Having avenues besides your website helps build your business’s credibility with internet users. For example, when shopping on an unfamiliar website, I usually look around the site. I read customer reviews. I look for any signs that this company is not a scam. In a day and age where phishing seems to be on the rise, any sign that a company is reliable and real helps me decide whether I will buy from them.
Having social media channels linked to your website can help further your credibility. If I see that a company has a social media presence, that showcases real people, interacts with followers, and matches the companies branding, I am more likely to put my trust in a product.
Target Your Market
Getting involved in social media helps expand your company in a variety of ways. You have the potential to reach a wide variety of people. This can also be intimidating though. Who do you reach and how? Instead of solely focusing on your current clientele, think beyond. Who are you not reaching but should be? Is there a target group who should be using your service but isn’t? Figure out who they are and what they want to see to further diversify your audience.
This requires some demographic research. What are you selling? If your service is carpet cleaning, it’s unlikely that teenagers will be interested. So, your feed should reflect an older audience. IDesign Collaborative has some readily available demographic research to reference. When it comes to carrying this out, you can look to large companies for inspiration. Learn from success stories. How do they implement age appropriate content and how can you recreate the same feel for your business?
This also translates to platform usage. Getting started on social media is a time commitment that translates into long term gain. It requires patience. Because of this, it may feel impossible to run 7 different social media accounts across different platforms. That’s okay. With social media, you don’t necessarily have to reach everyone, just the right people. Start with a couple of channels and begin with that. Expand as you feel comfortable.
How do you know which platforms to start with? One way is asking current customers what they’re using. Another way is to use the target audience you determined earlier. By remembering who you are trying to reach, you can use statistics to decide where to post. SCORE has collected data and found out the Youtube is the most popular platform across three generations. More data from score can be found below.
Social media marketing may seem confusing, but it unlocks a whole new resource for your company. Taking the time to craft your social media presence is a worthwhile investment. What company’s social media voice is your favorite? What type of posts do you like to see? Let us know in the comments!
Convinced its beneficial but still confused? Let us help with your social media management.
Infographics made by SCORE unless otherwise stated.