Social media marketing has become a top growth tactic for many businesses because it allows you to connect directly with your consumers and potential consumers. You can deliver your message to a relevant audience and provide more personalized customer service.
That’s all fine and good, but using social media to grow your business requires more than just getting an account on every single platform and posting a funny meme twice a week. It’s a bit more complicated.
First of all, there are way too many platforms out there for you to master them all. It seems like new social media sites are being created every month and each reaches a different audience with a different tone. Instead of trying to be everywhere all the time, set up shop on only the platforms where your target customers are already spending time.
Know Your Audience
Before creating any social media accounts, take the time to figure out who your target audience is and what you hope to accomplish through your social media efforts. Do you have a target demographic? Do you want to create engagement with current customers or are you hoping to increase brand awareness to reach new ones?
Hopefully you’ve heard by now “everyone” is an unacceptable answer for your demographic. If only half the population can use your product, you will waste a lot of valuable time trying to target the whole world. Much like with any other marketing tactic, when determining your ideal consumer, consider factors such as gender, age range, education level and location. Your messaging should support your business goals while catering to the needs of your target customer.
Once you figure out your audience, you will have an easier time deciding which social media platforms would be best for your business.
Choose the Right Channels
Studies looking at the demographics of people using different social platforms have revealed trends that may help you determine the best places to reach your audience. The products and services you sell will also influence whether a certain channel will be effective at reaching your particular business goals. Additionally, keep in mind your brand voice to ensure it is the right fit for each online community you join.
To get a head start on your decision-making process, consider the following information on social media for small business:
- If your target market includes millennials, consider some of the newer platforms, like Snapchat or Periscope
- Stick to the more longstanding platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, for an older adult audience
- Instagram and Pinterest might be great channels to start with if you produce visually appealing wares or interesting products
- To build a community around your brand, use Facebook
- Those who have a lot to say and can break it up into tiny pieces can often benefit from Twitter
Now let’s take these ideas a step further with a couple of examples:
Terrance owns a small, high-end restaurant where the presentation of the food is almost as important as the taste. He wants to use social media to increase brand awareness and entice more people to eat at his place. Given this situation, Instagram or Pinterest may be great options, as he can show how delicious his dishes look and capitalize on the presence of foodies browsing the platforms looking for new places to try.
Marcia, on the other hand, runs a legal firm for a specialized area of law. She wants to improve her networking with other attorneys and business professionals in the hopes of getting more referrals. She also wants to be able to provide potential clients with all of the information they need to know about her background and experience so she gets more calls for relevant cases. In this scenario, LinkedIn would be a great solution for both of her goals, as it was created to drive connections between professionals and offers options to post expert articles and join industry groups.
It is highly possible your situation doesn’t fit with either of these scenarios and your business will benefit most from being on Facebook and Vine. Or Twitter. Or YouTube. The point is, there is no one size fits all when it comes to social media for small business. Assess your objectives, the platforms out there, and then simply test it out before you start posting.
Now go share this blog post on your favorite social media site. 😉