You’ve invested a good deal of time and money to create a professional website that accurately reflects your brand. If done properly, social media can be a great marketing tool to help drive traffic to your site. Unfortunately, if it isn’t done right, it can do more harm than good. Too often, small business social media is approached in the same way as a personal social media presence. In that case, it could appear that your social media has been put in the hands of someone who doesn’t truly understand your business. Unlike your website, it is not properly representing your brand.
As a result, there is little or no return on the time and money you’ve invested. You’re not seeing any significant increase in traffic, audience engagement, or conversions. If you want your social media to start working for you, you need to understand how to take advantage of the benefits it can provide.
Build Your Brand with Social Media
Social media can provide numerous benefits when building and promoting your brand. With more than half of the global population using social media, it important to make it an integral part of your marketing strategy.
Increase Brand Awareness
Promoting your business on social media can extend your reach and grow your audience. People don’t only connect with brands they know on social media, they also discover new brands that provide goods or services they are looking for. This happens in a couple of ways. First, their friends may share information or reviews about a brand they like. A positive review or shout-out on social media can encourage others to give your brand a try. Another way is through targeted advertising. How many times have you conducted a Google search for a specific product or service and then have posts or ads show up for the same thing when scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed? Social media is a great way of getting your brand in front of the people that are interested in what you have to offer.
Make a Human Connection
This is one of the unique benefits of promoting your brand on social media. You get the opportunity to build trust in your brand and show a bit of your personality. Of course, you want to talk about your product or services but social media is also about – well, being social. When you’re getting rave reviews from a customer in your shop, only the others present hear it. When someone is singing your praises on social media, the number of people who hear it is a lot larger. Share or respond to customer comments and reviews. Offer appreciation for positive feedback and genuine concern for negative feedback. This will let people know that yours is a brand that truly values its customers and establishing a relationship with them. And don’t be afraid to have a little fun or highlight your company culture. Post pictures of company outings, volunteer work, or personal achievements of individual members of your team.
Establish Industry Authority
Sharing original content, as well as the latest industry news, will lead consumers to consider you as an authority in your industry. Presenting information via social media that fills a need or answers a customer’s question can keep them looking to you for information. Because consumers in any industry are averse to taking a risk or making a bad decision, establishing authority and demonstrating thought leadership will also build consumer trust. Deciding which platform is the most beneficial depends on which ones your targeted audience commonly frequents. Facebook and Instagram can be effective for B2C businesses, however, LinkedIn can be a better option for B2B businesses.
Top of Mind Awareness
According to 2020 data posted by BroadbandSearch, people spend an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media per day. Every time your targeted audience logs in, you have a chance to not only connect with them but also with everyone they are connected to on social media. This can go a long way in helping your brand to be the first one they think of when they need your products, services, or trustworthy industry information.
Know Your Brand Voice
As a business owner, it is imperative that you develop and know your brand voice. This is where your personality really gets to shine. Your brand voice should be easily recognizable to your audience and consistently communicate your company’s core values. Target is a perfect example. Their brand is “Design for All”. Their commercials are all-inclusive of race, body shape, age, and multiple genders and you always know it’s a Target commercial before the final shot of their famous bullseye.
Your brand voice should be the guide and standard for everything you post on social media. Your posts should convey your brand voice loud and clear, leaving no doubt in your audience’s mind which business those posts are coming from. If you haven’t already developed your brand voice, now is the time. Not truly understanding what your brand is will impact your content. It will end up sounding scattered and unprofessional. Consistency is key in how you post content or speak to your audience. This will help you gain authority and engage your audience.
Social Media Can Promote Business Growth
Business growth is the goal of any small business, and social media marketing can be a great way to fuel that growth. Which platform is the best truly depends on your industry and which platforms your audience typically frequents. However, for many businesses, it seems like Instagram is the place to be. According to Facebook for Business, 83% of people use Instagram to discover new products and services and 87% said they took a specific action, such as following a brand, visiting their website, or making a purchase online. Don’t underestimate social media when it comes to its ability to help promote business growth.
Drive Website Traffic
No matter how good your website is, it won’t help generate conversions if people can’t find it. In addition to organic search and SEO, social media can also help drive traffic to your website. Posting an interesting snippet of information linking to fresh content on your site as well as a new product or service offering can encourage visitors to click through to your site to learn more. Initiate regular chats about your content. Keep them conversational and provide the information your audience will find valuable. While you want to promote your products and services on social media, strive for a healthy balance between establishing your authority and making a sales pitch. Otherwise, followers could tune out, fail to interact, and even unfollow your business.
Consumers often shy away from calling a company directly in fear of encountering hard sell tactics. Following your business on social media provides a no-pressure environment for them to learn about your company and what it has to offer. Once they have become familiar with your brand and have begun to trust your authority in the industry, the next step is to push ‘Contact Us’ or that ‘Click to Call’ button when your products or services are needed.
Increase Sales Revenue
As the number of people using social media continues to grow, so does its importance to your marketing strategy. Your presence on social media platforms is where you are going to engage with your audience and gain new contacts. Getting social is going to help you build relationships that translate into revenue-generating conversions. If you’re not interacting with your audience on social media, not only are you missing out on making valuable connections but you’re leaving money on the table.
Influencers and Advocates
Word of mouth advertising still carries a lot of weight in the digital marketplace and there is no better place to spread the word than on social media. When you hear the term influencer, some famous celebrity endorsements such as Oprah Winfrey for Weight Watchers, Matthew McConaughey for Lincoln Motors, or Jennifer Aniston for everything from Diet Coke and Smartwater to Aveeno probably come to mind.
Garnering these types of endorsements may be out of reach for the typical small business. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to build relationships with influencers and advocates within your industry or community. Research influencers that promote products or services similar to yours and invite them to try yours with a free sample or service. Maybe there is a well known individual in your community with local celebrity status you could partner with. A loyal customer can easily become a brand advocate on social media.
Content and Social Media
Social media can help you not only promote your content, but also help you determine what type of content your audience will find valuable.
You can create amazing content, but if you don’t let people know it exists, it won’t do you any good. Create social media posts that will intrigue your audience and entice them to click on the link to that content. This will drive traffic to your site. Once there, well-researched and written content will help to prove your expertise and build your authority. Creating and promoting your content on a regular basis may even have your audience anticipating that social media post announcing the publishing of that content. Posts on social media make it easy for your audience to share your content with others, expanding your reach and your potential customer base. Likes and shares show that people have a connection with your brand. With the sheer volume of content on the internet, a piece recommended by others in your online social circle is more likely to pique your interest enough to check it out.
How do you determine what type of content your audience will find valuable? See what they are talking about on social media. Are they asking questions? If they are, create content or point to existing content to answer those questions. Create posts that answer their question and add links inviting them to learn more. Another great way to source content is to see what others in your industry are talking about on their social feeds. If people are engaged and commenting, it could be a great topic to explore in more depth on your site and then promote it on social media.
Keep Your Audience Engaged
If your social media content becomes repetitive or static, your audience will get bored. The content you post for each blog should be unique so they know they are not clicking on the same blog they read last week. If you post, “Check out our new blog,” every week, they become bored and pass. In addition to sharing links to your own website, share content you find interesting and relevant to your brand. Remaining current on advances in your industry helps position you as an expert. A small local business can also benefit by posting interesting content about local events. These types of posts will show your company’s investment in the community and engage your audience.
Avoid Loner Links
A loner link is when you share a link to a blog or article with no supporting content to encourage engagement. Posting loner links can cause your audience to end up ignoring you. This is because you have given them nothing to entice them to click on the link. Even if you’re linking to the most interesting content you’ve ever read, a loner link will often be passed by or mistaken for spam. Give them a reason to check out the content you’re sharing. Especially when linking to someone else’s content, offer your perspective on what you’re sharing. Let your audience know why you’re sharing it and why you find it valuable. They follow you because they trust your brand and your expertise in your industry.
Invite Your Audience to Share
Don’t underestimate the value of user-generated content. It is estimated that 90% of consumer purchasing decisions are influenced more often by user-generated content than social media posts, email blasts, or other promotional content created by the brand itself. Audience reviews, images, and videos can make for powerful social media. Customer advocacy posts will typically feel more authentic to consumers than those created by the business. This can instill a heightened level of trust and loyalty in your brand, resulting in the ultimate goal of converting a follower to a customer.
Interacting on Social Media
When establishing your brand and building brand loyalty, an open line of communication between you and your audience is crucial. Social media is a great way to streamline that communication.
Today’s consumer has come to expect that any company they do business with will be on social media. This is often the first place a customer will go for information and customer support. The quicker a business responds to a customer service inquiry on social media, the better chance they have of turning that consumer into a repeat customer. Even if it is just a shout-out for your business, you should always respond with a show of appreciation. This will let your audience know how much you value their patronage.
No matter how hard you try to provide excellent customer service and support, you are bound to encounter the occasional dissatisfied customer. More often than not, social media is where they will express their complaints or concerns. It’s important to continually monitor your social media and respond as quickly as possible. Apologize for their dissatisfaction and then invite them to contact you directly so you can address their concerns. Taking the conversation offline will minimize the potential damage to your company’s reputation. If you exceed their expectations in dealing with their concerns, you can preserve your online reputation and may even turn a previously disgruntled customer into an advocate.
In light of the recent COVID pandemic, it is easy to see how important crisis communication can be. Quickly responding to the crisis with a change in business operations, safety concerns, reduced hours or a temporary shut down can easily be communicated to your entire audience with a simple announcement on social media. If your business will be providing a vital service throughout the crisis, you can get the word out and reassure the public of your services on social media. Your audience will more than likely share this information with their online social circle, getting the word out effectively to as many people as possible.
Gain Valuable Insights
As previously mentioned, monitoring your social media feed and the feeds of others in your industry can provide you with valuable insights. These insights can help you develop content and create social media posts more effectively. They can also provide valuable insights about both your audience and your competitors. Today, it’s normal for major social networks to supply analytics that provide demographic information about those interacting with your business account. This can be extremely helpful in determining which platforms are the most beneficial for your business and which demographics to focus your marketing efforts on. Monitoring social media can also help you stay on top of changes and advancements in your industry. This can allow you to be among the first to share this information with your audience, increase brand trust and authority and keep you one step ahead of the competition.
Effective Social Media Takes Time
There are two very common mistakes small business owners make with social media. They spread themselves too thin, trying to be on every social media platform. In addition to that, they don’t plan their content. It’s hard enough to keep up with all the platforms, but without a plan it’s impossible.
As a result, posts only happen when you remember. Often they are not well-thought-out, and your brand voice is muffled. Your audience will recognize the lack of effort, leaving them unimpressed. If you neglect one or more social platforms for too long they will give up and move on.
Learn where your target audience is more active. See where your competition is posting on social media. Then, focus on just a few of those platforms. With fewer platforms, you will have more time to create meaningful content that really interests and engages your audience.
As a small business owner, you have about a million things to do every day but social media doesn’t have to be one of them. Consider your business goals and whether or not you have the time and the resources to properly build your social media campaign. If not, it might be time to look for someone who does.
Creative Click Media can help. Our social media marketing and consultation services are designed to show you where people are talking about your products or services, areas where you can get involved, and tactics to build brand awareness. Contact us today for a consultation.
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