Effective communication is integral to the growth and development of organisations, both big and small. You need to devise ways and means to effectively reach out to your target audience and keep them engaged.
So, how do you effectively communicate with your target audience?
Without a doubt, social media is one of the best channels available that offer ample opportunity to businesses of all sizes to effectively reach out to their target audience.
If you want to engage with your audience effectively, you cannot ignore social media these days.
But as a small business, are you leveraging social media to your advantage?
In case you are not using social media to your advantage, you are missing big time on opportunities. But small businesses should know how to devise an effective social media strategy to reap its benefits. Here are some of the benefits of social media and how small businesses should leverage social media to their advantage.
Benefits of social media for small businesses
The social media channels have made it possible for small businesses to engage with their customers effectively and scale new markets. In case you want to stay ahead of your competitors and improve customer experience, then it is vital for you to use social media effectively. Here are some of the major benefits of social media for small businesses:
Using social media effectively can improve your website traffic.
Social media increases brand awareness. When used effectively, you can create a space for your brand among your customers.
Social media can be rewarding for your customers. You can ask your customers, who follow you on the social media platforms, to use the promo code in your posts to avail the discount.
Social media can generate the right kind of buzz for your business. Social media is probably the most cost-effective method to generate buzz for your small business.
You can use location-based social media apps to bring in customers from your area.
Social media can help you connect with other businesses.
How should small businesses use social media?
If you are a small business and want to connect with your customers and prospects, you should start using social media effectively to climb the success ladder. Small businesses might feel overwhelmed when it comes to getting started with social media, but there is nothing scary about it. With a bit of planning, you can use social media to your advantage. Here are some social media tips for small business owners:
To start with, you should have a good plan in place – Just like you have a strategy for growing your business, you should also have a plan for social media marketing. Though you can start posting organic posts for free, without a robust social media marketing plan, it will not help you achieve much. To achieve the desired results, you first need to have a definite plan in place. Having a social media plan upfront will ensure that your social efforts support your business goals.
Your social media plan should include the following:
You should set clear, attainable, measurable, and relevant social media objectives and goals for your business. It is important that you base your goals on what you want to achieve from your social media campaign – do you want to increase your customer base or do you want to boost your conversions.
Do a bit of research on what your competitors are doing on social media. It will help you formulate your social media strategy as you would come to know what works and things that you need to avoid.
In case you are already on the social media bandwagon, you should take stock of what your campaign has achieved so far, and where you need to improve.
It is also important to create a social media calendar. It helps your social media campaign if you post the right content at the right time. Try to make sure that you follow the 80-20 rule where 80% of your content should be educational, informational, and entertaining, and the rest can be used to promote your brand or for selling your product.
The second important thing is to know your audience – Understanding your audience is probably the most vital thing for your business. You can compile data on your present customers, and then go further with social media analytics to know what your customers are buying from you and who all are interacting with you online. You can formulate your social media plan according to the preferences of your audience.
If you know your audience well and understand what they want, your social media campaign can generate a huge response.
The next most important thing is to select the right platforms for your social media campaign – Going by your gut feel in selecting the right platforms for your social media campaign would not help you much. For example, if you think you can avoid Facebook, then it is wrong because it remains the most popular social media platform even today. You need to know where your online audience hangs out the most.
These are general trends, but with a bit of research (especially demographic profiling), you can find out where your audience prefers to spend their online time. It is always better to use a combination of platforms to reach a wider audience.
Concentrate on building relationships – Social media allows you to engage directly with your customers, prospects, and followers. Without asking your prospects to buy upfront, you can cultivate strong relationships with them over time. Most people who follow small and medium-sized business on social media, tend to buy from them in the longer run.
People who engage with your content on social media expect you to respond to their queries. And, when you respond promptly, it builds trust which is the building block of developing strong relationships with your customers.
And, one way of developing a relationship with your prospects is to form Facebook Groups. You can build community, develop relationships, and increase brand loyalty among your group members who in turn can act as brand ambassadors for your business.
You can also use social channels to develop relationships with other business owners and influencers in your vertical.
Focus on expanding your audience – You can use social media tools to target new audiences after you have saturated your market. For example, you can use Facebook targeting options to reach out to new audiences. You should never lose focus on your core market, but ensure that you tap into new audiences once you are ready to expand. You can also exploit social media to bring in new customers to your local business.
Make it a point to share captivating visuals – People these days want to see more of visual content. Data from Twitter shows that people are more likely to engage with a tweet that has visual content such as video, GIF, infographic, or photo. Also, some of the other visual-first platforms are Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. People, especially the younger generation, are more likely to make their travel plans or visit a restaurant after they see their friend’s video or image on social media. All you need to do is do a bit of research online, and you will find many high-quality pictures that you can legitimately share with your content on social media.
Concentrate on quality instead of quantity – Social media spoils you with options. But it is not necessary that you make your presence felt on all the platforms. What you need to do is create quality content and identify the platforms where you think you can connect with your audiences. Your social media posts should offer value to your customers. People will not engage with your content if you only try to sell your product. What you need to understand is that social media marketing is about relationship building.
It is, therefore, important that you start with one or two social channels and after mastering it you can expand your reach.
It is important to select and use the right social media tools – If you want your social media campaign to fetch you great results, you need to make sure that you select and use the right social media tools. Social media tools can simplify your job by automating much of the work. These tools can improve your productivity which increases your social efforts.
Monitor, track and respond to the conversations – Social listening is an important aspect of social media. If you want to make your social media marketing efforts more effective, you should monitor your campaign and respond to all those who engage with your content. You should also keep a tab on the online conversations that are happening about your business and respond to it appropriately.
Also, when you track and monitor your social media campaign, you can fine-tune your efforts so that it produces better results. Monitoring and tracking will also help you determine what is working for you and things that you need to avoid or improve.
If you are the owner of a small business house, and you want to make a mark on social media, you can get in touch with vStacks Infotech now. We will make sure that you get a robust social media marketing strategy so that you can communicate with your target audience effectively. vStacks Infotech has been leveraging social media for businesses of all sizes, and our customers have had tremendous success in keeping their clients engaged.