While it’s certainly true that social networks offer the cheapest and most effective marketing platforms, running successful campaigns on them is not easy. Small businesses will always see the most benefit from social channels, but in order for anything to happen, they need to have a proper strategy.
If you’re a small business owner and you’re looking to make the jump into social media marketing, heed this warning: Don’t jump into it head first without doing the proper research. Believe it or not, poor use of social media for small businesses (in special) can do more harm than not having social media accounts at all. That doesn’t mean you need to be scared, it just means you need to be prepared.
Create a Game Plan
The first thing you’ll need to know is your target audience and your ideal demographic. Different age groups use social media at different times and the same is true of people across many other social platforms. For example, creative and artistic people tend to migrate to visual platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram, whereas Facebook is more of a melting pot in that respect.
The next thing you’ll want to do is figure out your ultimate goals. What do you want to accomplish with your social media campaign? Do you want to generate buzz about your new startup? Do you want to use social media as a customer service platform? Figure out what you want to accomplish and make sure you factor that into your game plan.
Finally, pick a topic or niche for your content. The general idea is to keep a similar pattern across all of your social accounts. Just like you have a personality, you want your business to have a personality as well. Not only that, you want your business to keep a positive reputation too.
Take all of these elements and use them to create one overarching plan of attack.
Stick to Your Guns
After you’ve put together a plan and put it in motion, it’s important that you stick to your guns. Obviously, if things don’t go as expected, you need to adjust aspects of your plan accordingly, but that doesn’t mean you have to change the whole thing.
For instance, let’s say you use a bunch of tools to pick out a hashtag that will go along with your content. If the tag turns out to be ineffective, instead of changing your entire content plan, you can just look for a new hashtag to focus on.
While that may seem silly, you’d be surprised at how many companies rebrand all too often. This only winds up confusing customers. Not to mention that it’s going to take a little while before you are comfortable with a new platform. There will be growing pains.
Don’t let this scare you away from trying new things and coming up with new strategies, because that’s okay. The real point here is that you don’t stray from your original plan.
Offer Exclusive Content
One of the age old marketing strategies to keep customers happy is to give them something exclusive in return for their loyalty. For example, businesses have been sending coupons and promotions to mail order subscribers for years. My favorite fireplaces at the Amish outlet store are sometimes discounted through the company’s email newsletter, which is one reason why I have yet to unsubscribe. You can take the same exact strategy and adapt it for your social media followers instead.
This encourages your followers to stick around for great deals, but it also encourages new followers to check out what you have to offer.
Create Cross Platform Chatter
Social media is great, but it can be even more effective if you use it alongside other mediums. One great idea is to share your blog content to your social media accounts and vice versa. This generates cross chatter between your blog and your social channels.
Content is king no matter what platform you’re talking about. To garner a positive SEO ranking for your website, you need to provide informative and engaging content via a blog. To garner a large social audience you need to provide the same kind of content on your social accounts. When you mix and match those channels, great things can happen.
You’re essentially giving social followers some great and informative content – provided that’s what your blog posts contain- and you’re giving blog readers a place to discuss and share content they enjoy. It’s a win-win situation all around.