Gone are the days when the only way for business owners to earn and engage customers was the door-to-door marketing tactic. Although, there are a few owners who still believe in traditional marketing, the majority of the businesses are now adapting to this innovative trend called social media marketing.
Small business owners usually have more time than money. Their budget is limited, so they’re always looking for cost-effective resources that could help them achieve their business goals and make it flourish.
Through social media, you can easily do a market research or distinguish your target. Also, you can easily share marketing materials such as brochures, flyers, digitally via e-mails, newsletters, and share it across social media platforms. Indeed, social media marketing is more cost-effective than printing it out and physically distributing.
Especially, in this day and age – where most people have adapted the social media trend – the barrier between a small and a huge business is gone. With social media, businesses are equal and when used properly, you could really benefit from it. Moreover, adapting to social media marketing also shows your ability to be diverse and dynamic.
Let’s have a look at Forbes.com’s top 10 benefits of social media marketing:
- It improves brand recognition.
- More opportunities to convert.
- More conversion rates.
- Higher brand authority
- Increases inbound traffic
- Decreased marketing costs.
- Better search engine rankings
- Richer customer experiences
- Improved customer insights.
Behind every successful business, is an effective strategy. To help you implement an effective social media marketing strategy, consider the following things:
1) Have a clear goal
Social media is a platform where people can share, connect, and network online. It is vital to know what you want to achieve through social media. Are you going to use it to spread awareness or is it for interaction purposes only? What do you really want to achieve in social media? Whatever your reason may be, you have to make sure it is clear – because if not, it could be your major downfall, too. You may use social media in spreading awareness, branding, interaction with your audience, drive traffic to your site, or to showcase your upcoming products.
In conceptualizing a goal, it is important to consider an approach that is workable and realistic. When I say realistic, you are not expecting the results to happen overnight. Give yourself a proper deadline to attain good results. You may want to use the SMART approach in organizing your thoughts. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Specific – your goal must be straightforward, thorough, and unique. The specificity of your goal depends on who your target audience is, which platform you are going to use, and the product you are going to sell.
Measurable – it is important to measure your success as this would be a great indicator if your business in on the right track. One way to measure the success in social media is the number of comments, followers, retweets, regrams, likes, and Web visits, during a specific period of time.
Attainable – as mentioned earlier, set a goal that is realistic and attainable. Although, there is no such thing as impossible to reach, create a goal that you will work for long-term purposes, too.
Relevant – any goal that is relevant shows ingenuity and agility to current and future consumers.
Timely – set a realistic deadline for your goal. Bear in mind that all successful strategies didn’t happen overnight.
Create a goal that is smart enough to be an effective stepping-stone to be a successful business.
2) Define your target audience
Social media is all about connection in the most authentic way. Hence, social media marketing is useless if you don’t have a target audience. This is a pretty tedious job, that’s why some small business owners who have a budget, result to social media outsourcing. However, you can start by gathering the data of your target audience like age, gender, interests, profession, etc. and create a target persona.
There are several social media platforms and each has a different functionality. Still, Facebook remains the no.1 effective social media platform in defining your target audience. Consider these statistics gathered by Jeff Bulas:
- Facebook remains the no.1 platform, with 1.15 billion users worldwide. In fact, 23% of the Facebook users login at least 5 times per day.
- 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer in purchasing products/services.
- 70% of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers.
3) Create a content plan (good for a year)
Now that you are done creating a concise goal and defining your target audience, it is time for you to curate a content plan that is good for a year. Why? Social media marketing may sound easy, but it’s not. One must have an in-depth knowledge about it and this task is time-consuming, too. That’s why I mentioned earlier, the other effective alternative is to opt for social media outsourcing. With that, you are assured that the marketer is knowledgeable. Still, you can do this, nonetheless. If you have a well-curated content plan, you will have more time to spare in flourishing your business. The ideal frequency to post to social media is at least: 5x a day for Twitter, post to Facebook 2x a day, and post to LinkedIn 1x a day.
4) Decide which social media channels to use
Let’s be honest. We all have the tendency to be excited and try everything, right? Unfortunately, we cannot do this with social media marketing. As I mentioned earlier, this task is time-consuming, therefore, choose social media platforms that would be relevant and beneficial for you.
As confirmed by Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are involved in the social media scene while 85% of the participants are unsure of which platform to use.
While Facebook and Instagram head the list, there are others you could use to stay connected. However, pick the ones that are relevant to you.
- LinkedIn – the top social network for B2B companies
- YouTube – according to an article shared by Forbes.com, 90% of the respondents prefer videos over case studies, white papers and live demos with the rep.
- Pinterest – is another social media platform where you can share amazing ideas through images.
- Google+ – this is now second to Facebook. Since most of the searches are initiated in Google, setting up a G+ business account will give you better search results.
- StumbleUpon for sharing websites and articles
- Slideshare for presentation sharing
My advice is to keep it simple. Choose an account that you think you can manage. I recall a colleague, who signed up for 5 social media accounts and, unfortunately, two got stale. Just like anything, maintenance is the hardest thing to do.
Lastly, if you think you don’t have the time or the knowledge to implement these things, you may opt for social media outsourcing. Luckily, there are companies, which are offering social media outsourcing services. Wherein, they can do everything for you – from digital market research to curating a content plan for your business, these marketers are skilled to do those tasks for you. However, in looking for a company that offers social media outsourcing, you must check the background first. Do they have a positive feedback from clients? Or better yet, ask a friend who has already tried this option.
You don’t need to be one of the Fortune 500 companies to implement a social media marketing strategy. Like I said, through social media, everything becomes equal. Take advantage of this trend, as it is going to be more innovative for the next coming years.
About the Author:
Alleli Aspili is a Senior Specialist for Business Development in Infinit Outsourcing, Inc. (Infinit-O), an ISO-certified BPO company that caters inbound call center, finance and accounting and healthcare outsourcing to SMEs. Responsible for maintaining Infinit-O, Infinit Contact, Infinit Healthcare, Infinit Datum and Infinit Accounting online brand and content.