Marketing a small business can be very challenging. Often many tools and marketing options are only available to large scale business and come in “enterprise” or ‘professional” iterations.
Megan Conley, CEO & Founder of Social Tribe and Writer at Social Media Examiner says “As a startup or small business owner, you know there’s a lot to accomplish with limited resources. Traditional marketing can be a drain on your funds. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is pretty low-cost and gives you a direct line to current and prospective customers.”
From food truck vendors to business consultants, word of mouth referrals and social media should be a big part of your small business.
Social media is a fantastic place to begin your marketing, not only because social media platforms are free, but you can quickly connect, reach and engage with your customers and prospects.
Here are some solid tips to help you with distributing consistent and engaging content that will be a big part of your social media marketing and sales success.
What social media networks should you use?
While consistent, relevant posts that link back to your own website for more information is a pretty solid rule for all social media marketing, each one has a different attribute.
Getting contact information and traffic from a post that incentivises users to share and engage with your content is a great goal, but how to get there?
Instagram and Twitter: Not just pictures and words
There is a great small business advantage for companies on Instagram and Twitter. Not only can they actively engage with their customer’s questions and posts, but it means more individual attention; this is something users crave but rarely get, social servicing.
Using Twitter is about more than just words, in fact, posts with pictures will get about a 35% boost in engagement, it’s about engaging with your users in a meaningful way, answering their questions, and putting a real human voice behind your brand.
Instagram offers some of the best b2c engagement in the social media game. Use it to activate silent observing Facebook users into converting clients, engage with your current clients, or as a measure of success for other platforms. Instagram gives great automatic feedback, so if you’re unsure about your branding, ironing out the edges with real, active feedback on Instagram can be super helpful.
Even little tweaks, like the shadows on your branding or what colour to paint your building can be used to actively engage your audience in your business and get their opinions on you. This information is invaluable.
Don’t forget to use an active, to the point message. After 3 lines, people have to click ‘read more’ and that sucks. No one wants to read more or have to click things. Show your message above the ‘read more’ and use an active human voice with punchy headlines that entice the reader to click through and get more information.
This means that you can make your captions long-form, chock full of additional information past the opening 3 lines (website info or specials). Less people will see the long-form essays, but those that do, are more interested in what you’re saying. So take advantage of that fact.
Benefits of mashing your Instagram into a Pinterest
Instagram and Twitter are where it’s at for customer engagement, but Pinterest can provide lasting benefits, depending on the market you’re in. Pinterest does not offer the same across the board engagement that the powerhouse Instagram offers, but it does have huge benefits in consumer goods, food, and insurance.
So if you’re a small business selling goods, pinterest might be a place for you. You can also mash your Instagram and Pinterest, posting pictures for Instagram that get auto-uploaded to Pinterest. This will lower the time-cost of dealing with a lower volume network like Pinterest, and give you the most bang-for-your-buck. Plus funneling your Pinterest traffic to Instagram (as a source) means more future engagement!
Pinterest isn’t the most commonly used social media, but it’s brand engagement on consumer goods is hard to ignore. It’s ability to be half-ignored, means it is a low upkeep, high turnover site. That’s big for small business, where every customer is worth picking up.
Facebook is like a phone directory, you need to be on it!
Facebook is standard. Everyone should be on Facebook. It’s like being in the phone book, if you want people to be able to contact you, get on it. Consistent branding across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and real life will help people find you.
This means your online store or site should be on Facebook. As should your email and phone number. It’s also a great place to post everyday with important products and milestones in your company. While you should create a new post for Facebook at least once a week, there is not a significant correlation between posting frequency for number of posts and followers on active pages. This makes Facebook fairly low maintenance and a great way to measure general awareness.
Are you saying the right things on social?
You made it to the right building to sing your own praises. Are you singing to the right people there? Are your words what they are going to get from or want from you? Make sure what you say on social media is an appropriate message to the right audience. There’s no room for jumping on trending nonsense, like many corporations have. It’s about finding where your audience is and going there, instead of finding any audience.
Who is your audience?
Look into your Google Analytics. There is some golden information hidden in there about who your clients are (at least the ones coming to your site) and where they are coming from. The interests listed in Google Analytics is a great way to figure out what hashtags or categories your audience is looking at.
This can be super helpful when looking to blog or post out of your exact niche (or just expand on parts of your niche). For example, if your selling very soft, cozy clothing, your clients might also enjoy comforting food with their comfortable clothes.
You could do a holiday diner post about staying cozy, or share a recipe for the winter months when your comfortable clothes are more in season.This gives you access to customers who aren’t looking directly for your products, but are your target audience, and would be interested in your products if made aware of it. Master your audience.
What is your audience looking for?
What does that audience want from you? They don’t want you to comment on the #whyistayed like Digiorno did, but they may be interested in the travel post you just put up on your blog. Responding to the needs to your clients means staying in a place that is helpful for your audience.
Throwing around a hashtag, and popping up with information that doesn’t quite fit isn’t what readers want and it’s not what they are going to engage with. Your audience is there for the awesome stuff that you offer, and all the great information around your niche, stick to that.
For example, if your looking for a hot summer marketing idea, marketing around the hot weather would be reasonable and expected, whereas hitting on #Deleteyouraccount just because it was trending would be terrible.
What does your voice say to them?
Putting together your brand voice can be difficult, but it’s part of what defines you as a company. It could be the voice of your company culture, or the values that you hold up as a brand. Your brand voice should address your place in the market. So even if you are a newer brand, in a market where traditionalism is valued, you should paint yourself as trustworthy of semi-traditional. You’re aim is general awareness, and to spread information from a friendly, trustworthy voice that someone will return to for more information and eventually products.
Read More Onsite. The Importance of Onsite Content
Onsite Content is just as big as your social media. It’s the ‘read more’ that takes the readers back to your site and the start of the marketing funnel. It’s great! Onsite content is insanely important. Whether you are an engineering firm or an Etsy-based essential oil seller, a blog will give you a place to refer people back to for more information without sending readers to a pure product page. Blogs are super beneficial in a variety of ways, but for social, it’s where you should try to refer most of your traffic.
To learn more about how to launch your small business marketing on social media, get more customers for your business reach, engage and convert, then contact me and I’ll be happy to give you some advice.
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