For many small businesses, social media marketing can feel like trying to capture the attention of a goldfish. With about 94 percent of small businesses using social media channels to market their products and services, competition is fierce. Designing an effective social media marketing strategy is particularly challenging for those with limited resources.
- Choose Networks Wisely | The old adage holds true when determining which social networks are right for you: “Fish where the fish are.” Take the time to understand your audience, where they spend their time online, and how they interact with each channel. Many businesses choose Facebook as a starting point because the platform promotes development of organic relationships with your customers. When adding more channels, consider what assets you have to offer. For instance, Instagram and Pinterest are great venues to visually showcase your products. YouTube and Vimeo are useful to optimize searchable video content, such as product demos and testimonials.
- Follow the Leaders | Study the strategies of your competitors who excel in social media engagement and search beyond your industry for ideas and inspiration. Connecting with social media influencers can also have a substantial impact on your visibility. Research by Nielsen estimates 92 percent of consumers purchase products recommended by peers. Influencers who are popular with your target audience and who recommend your product can quickly set you apart from the competition and boost sales.
- Ask for Opinions | Don’t just push sales messages to the masses. Include your audience in product development efforts and ask their opinions about industry-related topics. This two-way dialog makes customers feel valued and builds trusting, loyal relationships.
- Recommend Others | Being an expert doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers. Be resourceful when fielding questions or monitoring social media conversations. When appropriate, recommend another social media site or company that may better address their needs. People will appreciate that you have their best interests at heart and will grow to trust you even more.
- Be Yourself | Don’t be shy about showing your human side. Share information that inspires you, makes you laugh, and expresses your company values. Companies who identify with customers on a personal level establish longer lasting relationships beyond a single transaction.
- Recognize National Holidays, Observance Days | Holidays and observance days serve as opportunities to express appreciation for your clients, promote advocacy, or just have some fun. Be creative in sharing these celebrations and promoting awareness, while giving your business or industry a little extra exposure.
- Share Milestones | Share a few Throwback Thursday posts to give your audience some insight into who you are. Share photos from your first trade show, a ground-breaking event, or an industry awards ceremony. These milestones serve as ways to humanize your business, celebrate your growth, and personally relate to your followers.
- Make it Visual | Facebook posts with images have more than double the engagement rates of posts without images. That’s probably because 65 percent of people are visual learners. Share behind-the-scenes photos, people and products in action, informative live videos, infographics, and quotes that support your brand mission.
- Express Gratitude | Take the opportunity to thank your customers for their positive reviews, loyalty, and contributions toward major company milestones. Make these moments even sweeter by accompanying thank-you posts with special discounts or promotional giveaways.
- Develop “How-To” Content | A recent study shows people who view videos are 1.81 times more likely to purchase products than non-viewers. Videos and infographics that demonstrate how to maximize a product’s performance, or even do-it-yourself content, builds audience trust and elevates their appreciation for you as a reliable resource.
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