Not so long ago people were questioning if social media was worth the effort for business. Now most owners except that for a small business social media success can make all the difference. It’s perhaps no surprise that social media is so popular with small businesses. Its free to use, is a great way to find out more about your current and potential customers, you can target your marketing at specific groups and demographics, it can help to boost your website traffic and search engine positions, and is great for increasing brand awareness.
81% of small businesses are now using one or more social media channels. 74% of online adults using social media, and 60% of businesses saying they’ve found new customers through social media.
To successfully use social media for your business you need to first define some goals. Some channels such as twitter are great for content marketing so you might want to look at engagement metrics. Other channels like Linkedin are great for finding potential B2B customers so you’ll want to use a different set of metrics. Whatever your social media plan is, be sure to set some SMART goals. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and have a set time.
Once you know what your goals are you can start to look at your target audience. You don’t want to waste your time and resources marketing to people who will never want you product or service. Try to narrow down your customer group as much as you can, look at factors such as age, location, career, income, education, and pastimes. Defining a clear target group(s) will allow you to build a strong marketing campaign around those individuals.
Tools for Your Small Business Social Media Campaign
Now that you have a plan and you know who you’re targeting, you’ll want to start posting on your chosen social media networks. Small business owners are usually time poor, but implementing a social media plan can be quite time consuming. You should consider using some tools to streamline your workload and make it manageable. There are many options available but a few of our favorites tools are:
- Buffer: Use this to schedule posts, and repost popular tweets. It also works with Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest. A free account is available with some limitations, perfect for most small businesses.
- Hootsuite: Another scheduling and analytics service that works with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram. You can sign up for a free account and trials of their paid for services, and they offer some online social media training to get you going.
- Crowdfire: A great app for managing your followers on twitter. You can find out who unfollowed you, copy other peoples followers, find people close by geographically, and a lot more besides.
- Hashtagify.me: A twitter hashtag search engine, you can use this services to research the best hashtags to reach your audience and find the top influences for each term.
- IFTTT: IFTTT stands for “if this then that’. It’s a services that makes automating certain tasks really easy. For example, you can automatically create tweets from an RSS feed, and send them to buffer for publishing on your schedule.
Follow the advice above and and your small business social media campaign should start to provide a good return on the investment. It may take a few months before you really start to see the benefits, but its worth persevering and being patient.