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social media marketing for small business

What is Social Media Marketing for Small Business?

When answering the question what is social media marketing, the first thing to discuss is “regular” media. Newspapers, radio, television, are all the regular methods for advertising a business. Regular media advertising is often expensive and offers limited ways for your potential customers to give feedback.

Social media differs from regular media since it offers two-way communication between you and your customers; customers who can also help you advertise by reposting, re-tweeting, etc.

The best difference between regular media advertising and social media advertising is social media is free, other than your time, and you can run new campaigns weekly if not daily, rather than one-off expensive campaigns on TV or radio perhaps.

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is the process of attracting traffic to your social sites, blog, website and ultimately business, through social media sites.

Different social media sites provide radically different social interactions with your customers. Twitter is designed to let people share short messages, whereas Facebook allows for sharing updates, photos, joining events and a variety of other activities. Pinterest and Instagram are focused on sharing pictures.

Which social media you should use for your business is dictated by your business and industry requirements.

Is Social Media Marketing for Small Business worth it?

If you haven’t used social media to market your products and services, you’re going to love how easy it is to get started, whether it’s worth the effort is debatable.

It’s always worth running a targeted, focused campaign, while analysing statistics regularly to check whether the time you are spending on social media marketing is worth it.

As a start-up or small business owner, traditional marketing can be a drain on funds. Social media marketing, is pretty low-cost and offers small businesses a cost-effective way to reach customers. However, what you save in business funds you can lose in time, as running a social media marketing campaign is time intensive. If you aren’t focused and clever with your social media strategy you will simply end up wasting time better spent elsewhere.

We wrote a post about whether social media marketing is a waste of time earlier so have a read. In the meantime here are some tips on running a successful social media marketing campaign.

Understand Your Customer

You may have multiple types of customer to target at any given point. For example, a plumber may simply want to target customers who want a new bathroom fitting, as well as customers who need an emergency plumber. Of course there are other targets, but for simplicity in the first instance, these two types of customer might be what you want to focus on.

Task: Define the types of customer you want to target.

Based on your defined target audience, what are the key problems or concerns you can address or solve? Using the previous example, a plumber may want to post simple tips on fixing a leaky tap, or how to stop a toilet constantly flushing. He may also want to post tips on how to choose a suitable bath, or how much a standard bathroom should cost to fit, or repost some great online stores for buying bathroom items (forgive my plumbing ignorance, I am a web designer not a plumber, but you get my drift). In both instances you are providing your target customer with helpful resource, thus building trust, and selling your expertise.

Task : Write down three key marketing messages you want to communicate to each customer.

All social media channels are not created equal. Each one has a different type of audience and purpose. It’s important to understand the differences so you expand your efforts on the right channels.

Task: Decide which social media would best communicate the message to your customer.

Make Your Website Social Media Friendly

Your website is your brand’s base. You need to push people to your website where they can buy your product or service. That’s where social media links come into their own. It’s fairly cheap and easy to add social elements to your website to optimise it for social media. You can contact me on 0113 2797731 to help you with this.

Task: Add Social Media links to your homepage, posts and anywhere else relevant to encourage shares.

Your aim is to encourage sharing and interaction on social sites, to build more traffic and interest. Encourage visitors to follow your various social profiles by display social icons prominently on your home page, on posts, and anywhere relevant on your website. Create calls to action by asking your visitors to share the post (on your relevant chosen platforms) if they like it, or find it useful.

You can think about integrating social feeds such as Facebook and Twitter on your website to keep it synchronised and updated, and customers can see your recent social activity even if your website has not been directly updated with a post.

When people come across valuable content, they want to share it with their friends and followers, so encourage that by adding social links to your posts and pages and you can reach a wider related audience as a result.

Newsletter sign-up

It’s great if you have managed to drive a few of your social visitors to your website with great posts on social media, but you want them to keep coming back to your website. An email address of a potential client is like gold dust. You can continue to target that customer with relevant offers and information directly from your website if you manage to get it. Make sure you encourage customers to sign up for a newsletter which contains great offers.

Task: Incorporate a sign up form on your website to encourage visitors to sign up for news and offers.

Start Your Social Media Campaign Small

It’s best to start your campaigns small but manage them well. Social media marketing takes time and energy. I suggest you choose one or two platforms to start with then focus on those platforms and see what kind of return you get. It takes time though, so as a small business don’t expect 15 likes to a post if you only have 15 likes for your whole page on Facebook for example. Think about building your audience every way possible, those interactions with customers will grow once you have an audience on the platforms you have chosen, so work hard to get people liking pages, and social profiles in the first instance.

Your aim is to help your readers, so give them a tip they can use or share information that helps them solve a problem. When you give out relevant information, people come to view you as an expert.

Once you have got a following and are confident with one particular social platform, look to add more relevant platforms to your social marketing campaign.

Make Sure You Listen and Respond

Social listening is an excellent tactic to monitor what people are saying about your brand. BUT make sure you use social media how it’s supposed to be used. It isn’t one way, it’s a tool to communicate directly with your customers, unlike regular media, so make the most of that! Respond to comments, mentions and feedback even if they’re negative. You want to turn that negative into a positive!

Create a Daily Plan

You need to make sure you are not spending hours of your time tweeting and posting for no return. Set a time limit on your social media campaign otherwise you will just spend HOURS browsing on social sites with little return for the time investment. It’s very easy to get drawn into “getting more likes” but that’s where your own monitoring comes into its own. If you have 100 more likes or interactions on social media, but still no more sales, it might be time to reassess your strategy.

Think About Social Advertising

If you want to accelerate your social media performance, it’s worth time to exploring paid advertising options. For example, Facebook offers great advertising solutions. You can target by gender, location, age, etc., getting more likes to your page, but then you need to convert those likes to sales.

Task: Identify the best platform to run a test targeted advertising campaign to see how this can improve social visitors and sales.

Twitter also offer advertising opportunities so check those out if that’s your main platform.

Used strategically with a high focus on demographic, it can produce great results.

Conclusion : What is Social Media marketing for small business?

When using social media, you need to be prepared for a marathon not a sprint. It isn’t a quick marketing solution.  Define your audience and choose the best platforms for your business. Do your research, integrate your social media icons and links, to your website and keep track of how things are going. Follow those steps and you shouldn’t go wrong! I hope I have now answered the question but if you need any advice on options for an existing website please give me a call on 0113 279 7731 or use my contact form to get in touch.

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