The world of business marketing has been revolutionized by the introduction of social media networks. By now, that’s old news. But have you ever taken the time to explore exactly how social media and business go together? Maybe you’ve heard all of this before and you just thought that the benefits of social media marketing can’t make all that big of a difference. If so, you may be in for a rude awakening!
Here, we’ll dive deep into the world of using social media for business marketing. So buckle up and get ready for the complete guide on how to market a business on social media.
What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM for short) is the practice of using online social media network arenas to create relationships with and satisfy customers by creating and spreading content.
That content can range from status updates, to sharing articles, to video advertising and much, much more. The social media platforms that are most popular (commonly referred to as “The Big Three”) are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But there are different social media platforms that are best for business-related purposes (more on that below).
Ultimately, the goal of using social media marketing is to generate business – and social media has proven itself to be a useful avenue for that purpose. Just take a look at Facebook for proof. Over a span of less than a decade from when they first launched, the number of Facebook users around the world had already reached roughly 2 billion people. That’s more than 20% of the world’s entire population. That’s bigger than any country on Earth (China’s population is 1.42 billion, just for comparison). Okay, you got the point.
What’s that got to do with you and your business though?
What are the benefits of social media marketing for business?
Top 5 benefits of social media marketing for business:
1. It’s free
‘Nuff said. Where else can you advertise your product or services for free? Even those giant magnets that you slap on the side of your family’s minivan are going to cost you something. Signing up for social media is – almost by definition – free of charge. Of course, there is a cost to social media, and it comes in the form of paid ads, which could prove hugely beneficial.
Bottom line: Even when considering the fact that you’re sharing your information, the returns you’ll see by using social media for marketing are often worth the investment. The wide-open opportunities to reach potential customers, grow your network, get insight into industry trends, and so on, are something you simply don’t want to miss out on. If cost is a concern in any area of your business, obtaining financing through Lending Express will allow you access to a free marketplace of over 50 lenders, so that you can compare and find the best funding solution possible for your business funding needs.
2. Access to a huge audience
Besides the sheer fact that more than 60% of the population of the North American continent is on Facebook, it’s also worth mentioning that social media for businesses provides tools to make marketing easier and more effective. With analytics available on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, social media marketing for small businesses to track how their different campaigns perform over time and with different target audiences.
Bottom line: An enormous and ever-increasing number of social media users makes marketing a business on social media like fishing with dynamite. But, with a paid ‘business’ account, most platforms also offer services that allow for the targeting of specific people who are more likely to find your products or services useful.
3. Develop genuine connections
We are far beyond the days of stuffing generic flyers into mailboxes. Digital technology has fundamentally changed the way that people interact both for casual and professional purposes. But that doesn’t mean you’ve got to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum by exclusively using automated interactions. In fact, most consumers report that, when making an important decision related to a business, they prefer to speak with a human. One of the key benefits of social media marketing is the ability to personally communicate with real or potential customers on the individual level.
Bottom line: There’s a particular advantage when using social media marketing for small businesses in comparison to larger corporations, namely the ability to develop personal relationships with customers. As opposed to the monolithic logo of a huge corporation, small business owners can use social media to show their face and their personality.
4. Generate trust
In a very general sense, if your small business doesn’t have a presence on any social media platforms, you’re doing yourself a big disservice. For all intents and purposes, if your business isn’t accessible online, it practically doesn’t exist. The opposite is true as well; being present and active on social media will signal to customers that you’re up-to-date with current events and that you have your finger on the industry’s pulse.
How do we know that? Simple: 63% of marketers found that social media marketing for small businesses was a significant factor for generating a loyal fan base.
Bottom line: The majority of Facebook (60%+) and Twitter (70%+) users report that they use the platform as their primary source of news, which means there’s a big dependence on social media for information. That suggests that a significant portion of a company’s legitimacy in the eyes of its customers comes from being present on social media.
5. Get useful insights
Most social media platforms offer users the ability to open a specific account for their businesses – a service that in many, if not all, cases comes with a charge. That said, the information made available through the analytic services in business accounts makes using social media for marketing a true learning experience. So much so that roughly two-thirds (66%) of marketers use social media to get insights as to what people think of their businesses, competing businesses, how different marketing approaches work at certain times, with certain audiences, and so on.
Bottom line: The days of paying a marketing agency to give you exclusive industry insights are long gone. It may take a bit of trial and error before you can get a firm grasp on how to use the analytic data, but in the end, marketing a business on social media gives you the ability to improve your marketing strategy without depending on a third party for all of the help.
Best social media marketing platforms for small business:
Marketing a business on social media is good, but marketing a business on the right social media platform is something else altogether. We know what you’re here for though, so no beating around the bush.
Top 3 social media marketing platforms for small business:
With 2.23 billion MAUs (monthly active users), over 65 million business pages, and more than 7 million active advertisers, Facebook is the biggest social media network out there and the best for social media marketing for small business. It’s extraordinarily easy to begin using Facebook and to distribute content since nearly all formats of content are shareable (videos, images, text, live streaming, etc.).
Top tip: Don’t forget to make your website compatible with mobile-viewing, since more than 90% of ‘Facebookers’ are active on the mobile application.
Cumulatively, the 1.8 billion YouTube MAUs watch approximately one billion hours of video every 24 hours. Mull over those numbers for a quick minute! That makes YouTube the second largest social media platform, and number two on our list of the top sites for social media marketing for business. Admittedly, videos are not going to be the easiest form of marketing on the production end of things. But, businesses do have the ability to advertise on YouTube, which means you don’t need to rely solely on attracting customers to your page organically.
Top tip: If you aren’t a video-producing expert and outsourcing is just a bit out of your budget, consider business loans as a way to cover the costs of boosting your social media marketing strategy. Recent innovations have revolutionized the business lending process – no more filling out tons of paperwork, no more waiting weeks for a response, and no more wondering what you need to do to get funded.
Of course, the type of business you have will affect the type of industry loans a business needs, as well as the specific circumstances that that business finds itself in. Be sure to weigh your options carefully in order to choose the right funding solution for your business.
While most of us may primarily recognize WhatsApp as a simple messaging platform, today it has expanded its reach by including a WhatsApp Business app. Indeed, WhatsApp was originally designed for people to communicate casually with ease. But the Business app changed the whole game by giving small business owners the tools to efficiently sort through and respond to messages pertaining to business operations (from customers, partners, and so on). Today there are more than 1.5 billion users daily who, all together, send more than 60 billion messages every day.
Top tip: WhatsApp offers a wide variety of uses that the average user may not be aware of, including drafting and scheduling messages, a Status function that allows you to share text/photos/videos that disappear after 24 hours, and more. Be sure to stay up-to-date with newly released WhatsApp features that can be used for marketing a business on social media.
5 Creative social media marketing strategies for small business
By this time you may be anxious to get started on social media, but it’s important that you outline a strategy before diving head-first into the deep-end. Try using these 5 social media marketing strategies to optimize your online business activity.
Top 5 social media marketing strategies for small business:
1. Set specific goals
2. Decide on a budget
3. Post on a normal basis
4. Diversify your content
5. Track & assess analytics
1. Set specific goals
Social media can get overwhelming with the tons of information coming from every which direction. That’s why it’s important to get focused and have a defined set of goals that guide your ‘social media and business’ activity. To do that, the first and most fundamental step is to understand who your target audience is. Without knowing who you’re aiming to reach, your efforts will be all for naught.
With a target audience in mind, you’ll then want to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) that will guide your activity towards certain ends. Be sure to choose KPIs that you can measure, that are relevant to the grander business plan, and most importantly that are realistically attainable. For example, “Get more leads” is not a good KPI because it’s too general; a more specific KPI that would tie back to getting more leads could be “increase the number of quality leads by 5% in the next month”.
In a nutshell: It’s better to have a couple hundred users who engage with your page organically on a normal basis as opposed to having a few thousand users who don’t engage with you productively (by sharing your content, for example). And make sure that you focus on useful KPIs that keep your business’s compass pointed at True North.
2. Decide on a budget
While so much of social media marketing for small business is assumed to be free, there are those certain business accounts that will come at a cost. Additionally, certain promoted posts/advertisements will be charged by-the-click (known as pay-per-click or PPC). Depending on which social media platform that advertising is being done, the price can range anywhere from $0.20 per click to upwards of $10 per click.
In a nutshell: Of course, the last thing you want is to find yourself having spent way too much money as a result of not having budgeted correctly. Carefully assess your cash flow before deciding how much you’re willing to invest in marketing a business on social media.
3. Post on a normal basis
A quote here and a picture there just won’t cut it. People spend loads of time on social media (950 million hours per day on Facebook alone). So, if you’re not active enough, those potential customers are likely to slip through your fingers like sand and move on to a competitor of yours who is more active. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you spend every waking minute on Facebook posting loads of filler content (don’t do that!). All it means is that consistency is a crucial part of a successful social media marketing strategy.
You can use a platform such as Hootsuite to schedule social media posts in advance. Use the weekend to get your content produced, and then schedule it all at the beginning of your work week so that you can spend the rest of your time focused on other things.
In a nutshell: Consistency is key when it comes to social media marketing for small businesses. Don’t stretch yourself out too thin, either – get comfortable with posting normally on one social media platform before moving onto the next.
4. Diversify your content
As important as it is to develop a brand, it’s also important to keep your audience engaged with your content. Get creative! Mix up your posts with pictures of your business, infographics with data regarding your industry, customer reviews, and, of course, more sales-oriented content from time to time. Don’t forget to post on holidays (with holiday-related content!).
In a nutshell: Don’t be boring when using social media for business marketing. Are you feeling like that might be easier said than done? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – see which of your competitors do well on social media and get some inspiration from their practices.
5. Track & assess analytics
We said it before, and we’ll say it again: use social media analytics! You’ll get great insights that you can use to perfect your practices on social media for business purposes. It’s important to know what the different metrics are, what they mean, and how to improve them. Those metrics include:
- Reach – total number of people who see a single post
- Impression – how many times a single post was displayed
- Engagements – how many likes, shares, and comments a single post receives
- Brand recall – the ability for a person to remember your brand name
- Conversion rate – the number of people who convert into customers out of the total number of people who recall your brand
In a nutshell: Learn the metrics that are used to measure the success of your social media marketing activity, and then learn how you can adjust your strategy in order to improve any given metric that impacts your KPIs the most.
Wow, there was a ton of info given to you here. Let’s wrap it up neatly to give you a quick refresher.
What is social media marketing? It’s a way to create and share content online with the ultimate goal of developing relationships with customers.
What are the benefits of social media marketing? It’s free, there’s a huge audience, you can make real connections with real customers, you’ll earn trust, and you’ll get useful business insights.
What are the best social media marketing platforms for small business? Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp.
How can you create a great social media marketing strategy? Set goals, set a budget, post consistently, diversify your content, and use analytic tools.
Remember, there’s no final ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. Be patient, keep your focus, and stay determined. Gaining traction on social media will take time, but a fair bit of persistence along with the useful information provided here will go a long way.