Ten odd years ago social media was a place where people gathered to gossip, talk about themselves and share photos. Even Facebook had a less than noble beginning – you’ve only to watch The Social Network to see what we’re talking about. Today, however, it’s very different. True, the gossiping and picture sharing are still there, but social media has become a lot more powerful and, not to mention, professional. One of the most important tips to start a business is to develop a strong social media strategy. We’re going to talk about how to incorporate this pervasive tool into your small business marketing strategy.
Social media is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient
Social media has become such an effective small business marketing tool for many reasons. It’s a global phenomenon, it’s on all the time, everyone’s on it, and it’s free (in most cases). It allows a free flowing dialogue between people who would otherwise never have even known that the other existed. Not only can you target your marketing efforts to the right people, you can measure its effectiveness too – you can track your social posts’ analytics for free on most social media platforms.
Each social media platform has its own cultural norms and dialects
The number of social media platforms has burgeoned in the last decade. It wouldn’t be possible for you to use them all – and you shouldn’t either. Having a brilliant social media campaign requires knowing what to say and where – one of the most overlooked tips to start a business. Each platform has its own idiosyncrasies, and types of people and conversation on them. You need to first decide which ones will help you convey your message the best – this will be determined by where your customers hang out – and then learn their respective lingos. For example, Twitter is all about the conversation; Facebook is about informally flaunting your personality; LinkedIn is where to be professional and demonstrate thought-leadership.
Listen to your customers first, and then optimise your posts for each platform
Before you can formulate a social content strategy to take social media by storm with, you first need to listen to your target audience. Get a sense of what makes them tick and what their problems are before giving them the content and conversation they want. The fine details of what you post on each site will and must vary. Posting to Twitter exactly what you’re posting to Facebook is not only inappropriate, it signals that you’re too lazy to create unique content – not a good look when you’re trying to get your small business marketing off the ground. Remember to also optimise your profile for each platform. Again, copy and pasting across channels is a no-no. Hashtags are another great tool for optimising your profile to make it more Google-friendly. Consult our blog about hashtags for more info.
While what you post on each social network will differ, there are a few general rules you should keep in mind:
Stick to the 80/20 rule. Only 20% of what you post should be self-promoting. Keep the remaining 80% for sharing other people’s content, sharing interesting facts or engaging with your audience.
Keep your content and posts varied. Variety is the spice of life after all, and nowhere is truer than on social media.
Keep the buyer’s journey in mind. As nice as it would be if your entire social media audience were ready to buy your product, the reality is different. Some are ready to buy, but others don’t even know that they have the problem that your product solves. This is why you must create content that’s suitable for people at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Consult this great Hubspot blog for more on .
Don’t like being spammed? Neither do your customers
Another important social media tip is not to overdo it or spam those you want to become loyal customers – this will only tarnish your brand and alienate people. Just because social media has made cyberspace a more connected place, doesn’t mean you should use it as an opportunity to execute old-fashioned and aggressive marketing techniques. That said, when it comes to social media, regularity and consistency might be key to successful social media, but make sure this is done in the right way. Think about how you want to be spoken to by your favourite brands.
Sage Online Tools realises that there’s no end to tips to start a business – it’s about choosing the right ones for your business. If you’d like to see how easy it is to customise a website to your business’ exact requirements, sign up for a free 30 day trial.