Is it worth putting in the time and effort to learn the best practices of social media use for your business? Which platforms should I be on? How often should I post? What should I post? Do I just post links to my website?
The short answer is YES! Social media is SO worth it for your small business!
How?? Well, using social media properly can
- Increase brand awareness
- Grow your presence
- Be an essential marketing tool
Learning, creating and maintaining a social account (or many) can seem like a big task for a small business owner. Don’t get me wrong, it is! It can be a lot of work, but it is so worth it in the end. The benefits of using social media to reach your target audience are nearly endless, especially when you factor in the cost vs. ROI (return on investment). I know this is too vague of an answer, so lets look at each benefit in a little more detail.
1. Brand Awareness
When you determine what platforms best serve your target audience, you can create your own profile(s) to establish your reputation, share your mission and values, and truly connect. No longer are the days of simply sending out a message and expecting the right people to hear just because it was so loud. People are selective in the information they consume these days and social media is not for the masses. Well, not like that, anyway. Social media isn’t about selling to an audience, it is about connecting with an audience. These connections are at the heart of your business.
This is your business. Your brand. You. Personalize your social accounts in a way that lets your target audience know who you are! Be consistent in voice and visuals. Though, don’t be afraid to let loose (a little) and let your business personality shine! Hint: If you’re not sure what your business personality is, check out this article to help you get started. You can’t expect others to be aware of you if you’re not aware of you.
Remember, simply by connecting, engaging and enjoying the personalities of your audience you can learn so many useful things. And by doing so, you build the trust of current and potential new consumers! Every interaction online is part of a bigger picture where potential consumers see an actual embodiment of your brand values. This kind of social media use not only builds your reputation, and makes your target aware of your value but increases the reach of your brand.
2. Social Media Growth = Business Growth
Growth in business is always, of course, important. When you take the time to grow on social media, you naturally grow in other areas of your business. Social media is so important because it makes it easy for your audience to visit you wherever you are.
In order to genuinely and organically grow, you should have a good understanding of your target audience or your buyer persona. The vast array of platform options lets you meet your audience where they are already spending their time. You are not asking them to step outside of their comfort zone in any way and it encourages a natural connection.
You can expand your presence and reach them across the globe. When you find the “right” people, your target audience, you can offer them the value they are looking for and become a trusted source of industry information and/or product. Through regular and genuine engagement, you can foster an honest relationship.
Though, these interactions are not just to generate leads and funnel users to your website – they are genuine social connections, friends even if in business. Though with proper strategy, planning and content, you can easily generate quality leads organically, too.
Interaction and value are not just for the consumers, either. You can use social media to introduce yourself to industry leaders, competition and consumers. Together, all of these connections increase your visibility, trustworthiness and overall value to your target audience.
3. Small Business Marketing
Marketing on social media can happen in many ways. It is important to get the most bang for your buck. Social media offers a unique and new opportunity for marketing your business. Not only can you depend on word-of-mouth advertising as your audience grows, but paid advertising is something that can be very beneficial as well. Remember, it is all about the value exchange. You don’t want to just sell your product, you want those deeper connections.
When considering marketing strategies and efforts in terms of the digital world, it is important to remember that there is a plethora of free information at your fingertips. When your audience posts to social media, whether in direct interaction with your brand or not, there is much to be learned. You can listen to them talk about their favorite foods, concerts they’ve attended and even their favorite brands. Taking this information in and truly listening to your audience teaches you what they are looking for in a brand. This lets you know whether or not your brand values align with that audience. (If not, it may be time for a target audience evaluation.) If so, you are left with a better understanding of what to share with them.
No one wants to be sold to… Information is valuable to you so that you may conduct your business in a way that follows your business values, but also attracts your target audience. Thus what happens is a true exchange of value. What value can you offer them? A great product or service, helpful information or something else. Make the connections, give them value, and let them know that when they need you (or your product) you’ll be there for them in a way that is honest, respected, and trustworthy.
Social media has changed the world! (Especially in terms of how a brand connects with their consumers and vice versa!) Whether it is for better or for worse probably just depends on who you ask.
Don’t be afraid to do a little research, dive right in and connect with your audience on a personal level – just make sure you use your brand voice consistently.
If you’d love a valuable and quick read, I highly recommend checking out Dr. J‘s book, The Digital Marketing Landscape (p. 11-12, 28). There is plenty of social media coverage, but I love how she covers such a wide range of topics in such a quick read. It really gets the brain juices flowing!
Category: Social Media Marketing 101