• Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Playbook for Small Business

The importance of social media for your business

Social media a term that is on everyone’s lips today. Nearly every one of us now spends more than an hour a day online and is active in various social networks.

For this reason, the business website is becoming increasingly important. Despite the many opportunities that social media marketing offers, few companies try to use them.

The key to success, of course, is reaching the relevant target group of the respective company.

It should be noted that every single social media channel has its own specific main target groups and offers very individual opportunities to operate online marketing.

The difference between social media marketing and digital marketing lies in unique features of social media marketing.

1. Great customer proximity:

Internet communication between customers and companies is generally on an equal footing, so it is incredibly low-threshold. This is true in both directions, both for customer inquiries and for your response to them.

A quick reaction is always desirable here. However, the discretion and the desired freedom of action of your social media team must be set in advance.

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At the same time, you can not only turn to individual customers but always to the large group of your fans. Well-connected followers are today the best brand ambassadors.

For this, they do not even have to be the much-vaunted “influencers,” as it also works with “normal” satisfied customers.

2. Extreme flexibility:

The many different social media marketing techniques allow you to implement your loyalty programs with high precision.

Depending on the industry and target group, networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn are available to you in any combination.

You can tailor content to your audience and distribute it through the most appropriate channel. A social media strategy tailored to your company, your product or your service can minimize losses here.

3. Customers control the frequency of contact:

No matter how satisfied existing customers are, a frequent criticism of the communication behaviour of companies is the frequency of contact.

Salesmen usually find that sales and marketing people set the optimal frequency of customer engagement higher than the customers themselves.

This means that customers do not want to be contacted as often as the marketing or sales department does. In social media, the customer/fan/ follower can control how frequently and intensively he wants to deal with the information.

A supersaturation with advertising messages and/or entertaining content is thus avoided.

Benefits of using the social media platform

For big and small companies, social media brings added value – meaning an advantage. With the use of social media platforms, it is possible to communicate internally and externally, with customers, suppliers, (potential) employees and other groups who are interested in the company.

The benefits of social media marketing can be outlined as:

  •    Make companies, products or brands better known
  •    Increase the number of potential customers reached
  •    Build a positive image of the brand and business
  •    Customer proximity allows a business to improve and increase customer dialogue
  •    Create additional customer contacts as well as increase contact frequencies
  •    Skim off new customer potential
  •    Observe and explore the market
  •    Support innovation management
  •    Improve service management
  •    Employer marketing through professional networks

Let us take a more detailed look at these advantages to answer why social media marketing is required-

Social Media Marketing is becoming a vital part of marketing strategies in general. Businesses from all over the world are discovering how proper social media marketing strategy can help and improve their business.

According to surveys about social media marketing trends 2019, over 90% of entrepreneurs have confirmed that through social media they have made their business more popular and 80% of them have confirmed that social media can generate more traffic.

After reading these statistics, the benefits of social media can no longer be ignored.

If you have doubts about the benefits of social media marketing, here are some advantages that can help you clarify your doubts:

1. Get to know your audience better

The key to the success of every type of activity is to know one’s own audience. With social media, this becomes easier than ever.

Through social media, you can get to know your customers and know what interests them.

Businesses must use these platforms to gather information in order to meet customer needs better and provide all the information they need.

2. Improve customer service

How can social media help a business grow is an important query. Through social media, businesses can respond immediately to customer comments, questions or concerns.

Even if you have a dedicated customer service reachable by telephone or e-mail, it is essential to resolve some situations with the communication method that the customer prefers.

Customers want to be reassured that in case of any inconvenience they will be immediately assisted. Users who use Facebook or Twitter can communicate directly with you.

In this way, you too can respond publicly, and so everyone else can see the quality of your customer service. This also increases the level of transparency.

According to reports, 75% of consumers who have received an immediate response on social media are also available to recommend the activity to other people.

3. Fast  content sharing

Social media marketing business must be an essential part of any online marketing strategy. In the past, marketers faced many significant challenges about sharing their content with users as quickly as possible.

Today, with the help of social media, this activity has become more accessible and faster. Social media also generate traffic to the website, and this means that you must ensure that the content is in perfect harmony with your brand and what interests customers.

It takes roughly 6 to 8 ads for a product before customers decide to buy it.

An obvious benefit of social media is the continued promotion of your products or services. This gives you the opportunity to remind all customers what you have to offer.

4. Become an “influencer” in your industry

Having more followers means more influence on social media. The more people who talk about you on social media, the more your authority will increase as well.

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Interacting with other companies known in your industry on Twitter or other platforms will improve your reputation, increase your prestige and influence.

The more value the published information has, the more visitors will return and share your content.

5. Generate traffic

When you share content on social media, you are offering all users the ability to click directly on your website.

Without social media, your content will reach only those customers who already know your brand or those who are just looking for a product or service using specific keywords.

When you think about developing the website and creating a marketing strategy, do not forget to add social media, because they will provide you with a new way to attract customers to your site.

If the content shared on social media is useful, and quality will generate more traffic to your website.

6. Improve search engine rankings

The SEO requirements are continually changing so that all businesses can take advantage of this to better position themselves on search engines.

Today it is not enough just to optimize the site or post articles on the blog regularly. The presence on social media is becoming a very important factor in positioning on search engines.

By sharing online content, companies create more credibility and reliability on search engines.

7. Save advertising resources

Do you want to reduce your marketing expenses?

The social media marketing campaign is a very convenient and effective way to highlight your business. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest offer you the possibility to promote and share your content without paying anything.

These platforms also offer advantageous ways to advertise your business as you will be able to study your customers, their interests and the most used keywords.

Steps to the social media strategy

If you talk to a business decision-maker about the importance of social media marketing, most would always want fast results with very little time and money invested.

Other business owners fear a lack of participation or perception of the target group, internal resistance or loss of control. There are at least three reasons for engaging in social media as a business.

  1.    Social media is a low-cost communication tool.
  2.    Customers nowadays socialize without knowing each other. They speak about your business, and you should, therefore, have a say.
  3.    The market is where your customers are. And especially the younger generation is almost always online through smartphones.

It is worthwhile for a business to work out a concrete strategy – preferably in writing.

The question of how to approach social media presence and marketing is primarily the focus. Experts suggest the following procedure of analysis:

1.    Why use social media?

Possible reasons are the trend, employees /customers/competitors, reach and awareness or for cost advantages and sales increase.

2.    Environment developments:

Where is the market? What are the developments? Is social media an issue in the relevant industry?

3.    Initial situation:

Where does the company stand? Is it ripe for social media? Which restrictions of resources is it subject to? Are the goals and responsibilities well defined?

4.    Goals:

What do we basically want to achieve with social media? Which goals are focused? Where does the company want to go?

5.    Target groups:

Who do we want to reach? Customers/market segments/stakeholders/ employees?

6.    Strategy:

What is the direction of the impact?

7.    Technology:

Which instruments and technologies are there?

8.    Measuring success:

How do we monitor whether social media activities are successful?

The economic benefits are difficult to prove. Success measurement tools such as Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics are the only way to receive an understanding.

Which social media platform suits your company best?

There are several criteria to consider when choosing the right social media marketing tools for business that best suits your needs and requirements.

What type of company you operate, which target group you want to address, how you want to market your products or services, and how far you want to address your audience, it is crucial to define everything clearly in advance.

Creating a business account on the network is indeed the first step, but thriving and effective implementation requires many more steps and a clear structure.

Facebook:

  •    Listening: Learn what (potential) customers are talking about, such as in groups or on competitor profile pages.
  •    Extend reach: Generate fans through posts on the own page, posts and comments in groups (advise), target group compliant ads (Facebook), links to other social media marketing platforms or the company’s own website.
  •    Interaction: Engage in interesting interactions on your own page or in groups interacting with other users.
  •    Generate traffic: Contributions on your own page or in groups can be linked to the company’s own website.

Twitter:

  •    Listening: Follow customers and follow users who follow their own company. Learn what (potential) customers are talking about.
  •    Expand reach: Generate followers by following other users and by interesting tweets, linking.
  •    Interactivity: Interacting with Twitter users through engaging tweets, also known as Customer Service Channel.
  •    Generate traffic: Link to the company’s own website.

LinkedIn:

  •    Listening: Learn what (potential) customers are talking about, for example in groups.
  •    Expand reach: Generate fans through contributions and comments in communities (consulting), linking to other platforms or the company’s own page.
  •    Interaction: Interacting with other users through interesting news or in groups.
  •    Recruit staff: Discover potential new employees.

Instagram and Pinterest:

  •    Listen: Learn what other users are interested in, Instagram: chronological and more private with snapshots (also videos), Pinterest: thematic and high-quality images, more suitable for companies.
  •    Expand reach: Generate followers through images and topics that arouse interest, linking to other platforms or the company’s own site.
  •    Interaction: Join comments on pictures interacting with other users.
  •    Generate traffic: Pins on your personal profile page can be linked to the company’s own website.

YouTube:

  •    Listen: Learn what the competition has to offer on YouTube, listen to and learn from amateurs.
  •    Extend reach: Generate subscribers through exciting videos. Comment on other videos – share expert knowledge through linking.
  •    Interaction: Engage with interesting videos on your own channel to interact with YouTube users.
  •    Generate traffic: Link videos to your own website.

Successful social media marketing for business offers small enterprises great potential for sustainable acquisition of customers.

Small and medium-sized enterprises must pay close attention to the objectives and compatibility with the proposed budget when selecting suitable marketing instruments.

That’s why social media marketing is often overlooked. But successful online marketing is not rocket science if the right marketing strategy is used.

Many small businesses doubt the benefits that social media marketing can have for them or even see it as an entrepreneurial risk.

Social media are particularly suitable for acquiring new customers and establishing sustainable communication with target groups.

Show presence

  •    The presence in social media has become a must for companies as well as a website. If neither is available, there is no way the public can find about your brands and products.

The presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other networks makes it possible to be found in the first place.

  •    This results in great potential for cost-effective advertising space at the same time. The targeted placement of contributions attracts thematically interested users.

The online acquisition can thus run among other measures to attract new customers.

  •    Many corporations now also provide a large part of their customer service via social media channels.

Especially for smaller companies, which traditionally want to maintain close contact with customers and target groups, proximity in social media is a good idea.

An informative compilation on a Facebook page, for example about the new product, offers customers the opportunity to ask further questions and receive direct answers. It has never been easier to connect with companies.

  •    In particular, regionally operating companies can also score with the presentation of local projects or references.

Success through the right strategy

  •    Some rules should be followed when using social media marketing to achieve success.

Contributions on all channels must meet a minimum level of quality and be measured against the relevant criteria for the target group and up-to-date information.

In addition, it is essential to update all channels regularly, so that the impression does not arise that they have long been abandoned.

  •    Ideally, a qualified employee or team takes care of the social media activities together and over the long term, with a strategic approach in mind.

A specialized strategy for small business

A commentary on the social media marketing plan cannot ignore the strategy that small business owners must follow. Large companies have dedicated teams to look after their campaign.

The search engine ranks them high due to an enormous number of high-quality backlinks and therefore high domain authority.

As the owner of a small business such as a pastry shop or professional wall painting services, you need to adopt some unique strategies.

The number of small business owners who rely on social media to try to increase their customer base is always higher.

In fact, according to statistics, 73% of people say they use Facebook for professional and commercial purposes. Obviously, social networks are much more than just Facebook, because they are composed of different platforms, which can be used for professional purposes.

In general, however, not all business owners have understood the functionality of social channels and in general of network communication.

  • Have A Strategy And Be Consistent

The first advice is undoubtedly to study a possible useful strategy to be able to find new customers and implement it in a consistent manner, deepening the right efforts to achieve the goal set. Define what you want and ultimately how to achieve it.

  • Share Expert Tips

Obviously using social media just to make commercial proposals to your target does not seem a good way to get what you have set in the previous point. You have to make yourself perceived as professional and competent in what you do: and what’s better than sharing the advice on the issues of your competence? In addition, users like useful tips for their business, and use social media as a way to get in touch with different types of companies. So we need to give value to receive in return.

  • Help Your Audience

Obviously, the goal of the previous point and the one which we propose here is to help your target solve a problem, or answer their question or doubt.

Unmistakably, the possible customer knows that alone he cannot do what he does not have competence about, but feeling helped and supported by you could be an excellent way to stimulate him to contact you to request a quote.

  • Provide Quality At All Times

If you think that attracting customers with trivial content is useful, then we advise you not to read what we say now – you have been doing everything wrong.

Because you need to offer quality content, which can provide the necessary amount of information, to make customers perceive you as an expert in the field.

The quality must be at the top of your agenda and being the top should guide your every action on the web and social media in a perfect manner.

  • Have A Dialogue

Social media was born to encourage conversations. They are in practice a network of communications among the public present within the social channels.

So your goal should be to stimulate discussions on issues that are dear to you on social media, which could be an excellent way to break the ice and exchange exciting information on the subject, and get to know your audience’s opinion on the topics you suggest.

It could also serve as an idea for content to be published later on your profile/blog.

  • Use Multiple Platforms For Various Target Audience

To find leads, a small business owner needs to be present on multiple platforms of social media if you work on digital marketing.

On each platform, you must be active and communicate according to the values of the channel in which you are present.

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So the advice to give, if you have not yet thought about it, is to communicate to the public as if you were in all respects a brand, a quality brand, holder of a series of values that guide your business.

Use well the features of the channel in which you communicate: such as on Twitter Search you can search for example keywords related to job offers in marketing, or on LinkedIn, with the function “Pulse” you can have your own space to communicate with the followers, through articles and content related to their work.

The important thing is that your communications are not purely advertising, in the traditional sense of the term – try at least to help your audience to solve some of their problems, inform them about the potential of the tools and operations to be done, and only in the last instance, try to make him understand that your products and service could solve many problems.

  • Gradually Transit Relationship From Digital To Real World

The relationships are undertaken with users on the Internet: via social media, e-mail, blogs, should also be taken in real life. Staying in touch with social media can be the starting point for a long-lasting friendship, which can turn into a professional collaboration.

Getting to grips with metrics

The biggest problem you have when managing a Facebook page, a Twitter account or any social presence is to demonstrate the value of what you do.

How do you figure out if you’re reaching your goals with the Facebook page or your Twitter account? Based on the number of fans or followers? Based on comments and shares? A little bit to fully evaluate your social media strategy.

First of all, we set goals about why social media marketing is important for us. The only available metrics, as we said, are not fans or followers.

The first step, however, cannot ignore the understanding of the objectives.

We cannot understand what numbers we count to know how we are moving in the social network that we have decided to live in if we do not have concrete objectives – Why are you there?

Why did you open a company account on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram?

What role do you want that particular social network to have in your overall social media strategy?

And some concrete social media strategy goals could be:

  • the increase in brand awareness
  • creating a community around the brand
  • the opening of a customer care channel  (or, better, social media-based customer care)
  • the acquisition of customers or potential customers
  • the acquisition of feedback on brands, products or services.

These are the most common reasons that push to open up to social networks, but it could have even more specific and diverse as building relationships with the influencers of the industry, the recruiting, the stimulus and growth  advocate brand,

Once we have clear objectives, we must give it concreteness: how do we measure the increase in brand awareness? How do we know if we are involving users?

We need metrics, but above all, KPIs or key performance indicators. There is confusion between metrics, vanity metrics, and KPI.

Metrics are quantitative measures that allow us to have numerical data about certain aspects of our work; the various systems of social media analysis often return many metrics such as the number of fans acquired, comments, shares, tweets, retweets, lost followers, the reach of shared content and so on.

The problem, however, lies in understanding which, among the thousand metrics we have access to, can constitute performance indicators; In fact, it is very easy to base all your social activity on vanity metrics, numbers that galvanize us (e.g., this month we reached 15k fans), but that does not provide any kind of indication on what to do.

Having clear goals that we want to achieve, we will be able to choose the Key Performance Indicators or KPIs, quantitative measurements that reflect the critical success factors for a company from many types of social media marketing.

In order for a metric to become a KPI it must:

  •    be oriented to business objectives
  •    be easy to understand
  •    be defined as a priori
  •    be measurable over time
  •    orientate you to action (actionable).

Each company can have different KPIs related to the sector it belongs to and its specific social media marketing plan, but there are metrics that can become universal KPIs, such as:

  •    Amplification Rate (how many times, on average, one of your posts has been shared/retweeted)
  •    Conversation Rate (how many comments, on average, your post has received)  
  •    Applause Rate (how many likes/favourites, on average, one of your posts received)
  •    Economic Value (the economic value of each visit to your site coming from the reference social media, based on the conversion objectives and economic value that you have set on your site for each one of them).
  •    % of traffic to the generated site
  •    Conversion Rate (the percentage of conversions, direct and indirect, created thanks to social networks compared to the total number of visits they generated)  
  •    Growth Rate (the percentage of fan/followers growth)  

Conclusion

The first step is undoubtedly the identification of the target groups to be addressed. Based on this, the second step determines the selection of suitable channels in order to reach these target groups as well as possible.

In the third step, it should be defined which goals should be achieved with social media via which content.

Creating the profiles on the selected platforms in step four is followed by the constant presence and continuous adaptation of the strategy.

In this way, you create the basis for your social media presence to grow and become a valuable marketing tool for your business.

The marketing world is changing rapidly. People’s usage habits on the internet are changing, and their lives are increasingly taking place in and on social networks.

Previously, companies reached their target audience by posting in the yellow pages or by advertising in a local newspaper, and later on through proper search engine marketing.

This works only conditionally today, and companies should advertise where their potential customers are – in the social media networks.

It is no longer a question of whether companies should use social networks, but only the problem of how. This is possible for almost any business, even on a small budget.

2019-06-11T07:33:32+00:00

About the Author:

Danish Wadhwa
Danish Wadhwa is a strategic thinker and an IT Pro, with more than 6 years of expertise in the digital marketing industry. He is more than a results-driven individual, who is well-versed in providing high-end technical support, optimizing sales and automating tools to stimulate productivity for businesses.

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