Social media allows you to reach billions of people in a single post. It’s teeming with opportunities for business growth. But you must be creative and diligent and bring out your best people skills to thrive on social networks.
It can be intimidating for small business owners to navigate this vast online space. We created this social media marketing guide to help elevate your small business online.
More than fifteen years ago, our team was among the first small business brands to leverage social networks for marketing. And we’ve continued to experiment with new social networks to identify opportunities and partnerships that could help us grow. We’ve also mentored and helped thousands of entrepreneurs and small businesses build their visual brands on Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and many other social networks. We’ve frequently discussed social media marketing strategies at webinars and conference talks. This guide shares the actionable insights, tips, best practices, and expertise we’ve developed after helping over one hundred thousand brands.
Social Media Marketing Guide:
1. Set clear and realistic goals
Like any other task, social media marketing requires strategic planning and execution.
The first step is to set clear and realistic goals. The goals must be measurable to track performance. To set goals, ask questions such as:
- What do I want to achieve on social media?
- How can social media help my business grow?
- How can I reach the right audience?
- How should I market my brand to my target audience?
- How can I make my products or services relevant on social media?
Goals help you assess how social media can help your business grow. Without goals, it’s challenging to map out the specific steps you need to take to succeed.
Consider goals like growing your audience, building credibility as a thought leader, increasing leads, or any other goals relevant to your business. If you run a for-profit business, your ultimate goal is to grow that business.
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2. Create your brand personality
Your personality on social media will determine whether you succeed or fail. Successful businesses on this platform nearly always have a standout personality.
Your brand is no exception. Your business must have a unique personality to which people can relate. A unique personality will also help you stand out from the competition. This is important because people love interacting with others and rarely want to interact with faceless brands. So, to succeed on social media, you must inject personality to make engagement with your brand fun and exciting.
For example, Red Bull’s brand personality on Twitter is edgy and energetic. This perfectly aligns with their popular energy drink. The brand also maintains consistency with a consistent “caffeinated” tone (conveying energy and excitement).
Ask these questions to help define your brand personality:
- How can I emulate my brand’s vision and essence?
- How can my brand’s personality complement my target audience?
- What kind of voice should I use to communicate?
- What type of persona should I use?
3. Choose the right social platforms
It can be intimidating to learn five new networks. But you don’t have to be present on all five to be successful on social media.
The most successful businesses focus on a few social networks that best fit their business.
For example, businesses with older consumers get more value from Facebook. If you sell to a younger Gen Z and Millennials audience, you should leverage TikTok. Instagram is best for businesses selling visually-iterating products (such as clothing). YouTube is great for service businesses that can create long or short-form videos to help educate their prospective customers. And don’t underestimate captions’ importance to boost your posts’ engagement. You can use social media caption generators to make the job easier for you.
It’s also important to consider the right images to help your brand stand out on these platforms. One way to ensure that you’re only putting out the best content is to follow the correct social media image sizes so your content will be optimized and clear.
4. Know your audience
Knowing your audience is essential to your business’ success.
Start by doing market research. If you’re already on social media, assess analytics and consider what content prompts more robust engagement. Look for common:
- Behavioral triggers
Knowing your audience helps you map out content marketing strategies that will drive the best results for your brand.
5. Grow your audience
But to grow your audience and catch people’s attention, you must communicate with them in a way that fits them best.
For example, many brands leverage TikTok to reach a younger audience. Successful brands create easy-to-digest, fun, and relatable brand messaging and leverage the power of ambassador marketing to extend their reach and connect with their target audience on a deeper level.
Elf Cosmetics commissioned a song for a TikTok campaign and worked with influencers to kick off the campaign. The brand used its hashtag #eyeslipsface. It was a massive success, with over 9.1B views currently on the app.
6. Highlight your unique selling proposition (USP)
People are tired of seeing the same products, services, and messages from millions of businesses. Many products look identical, and it’s difficult for people to tell them apart.
So, how do you stand out from all this noise? You can differentiate by highlighting your unique selling proposition (USP) in every marketing campaign. Your USP is the key to catching people’s attention and vital to success.
To identify your USP, ask:
- What makes my brand unique?
- How can I separate myself from the competition?
- How can my products or services help add value to people’s lives?
- How do I best communicate my brand’s positive qualities?
Remember that you’re not just selling a product and service. You’re selling the benefits of buying something from your brand. People need to know what makes your company worthy of their money. Remember to remind them why you’re the best choice for the job.
7. Use the right tools
Social media can be overwhelming on your own. Using the right tools to help manage your platforms can lessen your burden.
Don’t waste energy posting on every platform by yourself. Use automated tools you can purchase or download for free to make the job easier.
Look into essential tools for:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Graphics and video design
For example, Sprout Social, Buffer, and FS Poster are great for scheduling posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter platforms. Each also provides social media analytics that can help you track trends and ensure quality content.
Many popular CRMs manage customer transactions, information, and interactions online. For creating professional-looking graphics and designs, we’re partial to crowdspring (we’re a little biased, but with 65,000+ happy clients, we have good reasons to be proud of our service).
8. Build a social media strategy
Marketing on social media blindly will cost you. You can be active on all platforms and still see little to no results. You must create a strategy targeted to hit specific goals.
An excellent social media strategy should include the following:
- Realistic social media marketing goals aligned with business goals
- Good understanding of target audience
- Competitor analysis
- Social media audits
- Legitimate profiles on all platforms
- An organized content calendar
- Quality content
- Consistent tracking of performance
It’s easy to get distracted by the noise on social media. An excellent social media strategy can help you avoid distractions and focus your efforts on business growth.
9. Evaluate and track progress
Track your progress on social media through key performance indicators (KPIs).
Study the data available to you and compare it to your goals. See which goals you’ve achieved, which content got the most engagement, and more.
For example, after launching a new campaign on Instagram, don’t forget to study the analytics and insights. This will help you see which areas to improve or focus on when you start another campaign.
Don’t be discouraged if you fail right away. Success on social media is rarely instantaneous.
5 Social media marketing tips for 2023
Now that you know the basics, here are five social media marketing tips to help guide you for 2023:
- Focus on authenticity. One secret to social media success is being genuine. People love when brands are candid and authentic. So go ahead and share real stories and engage with your audience. Ensure that your branding helps people feel welcome and relaxed.
- Join trends. Social media is about trying new experiences. Don’t be afraid to join trends. Many brands piggyback on a trend’s success to promote brand awareness, especially on TikTok and Instagram.
- Don’t generalize all platforms. Every platform has a unique audience. Never use generic messaging, and constantly tailor your messages to each platform. And never compromise your brand voice.
- Use emoticons. Emoticons are hacks for creating a fun message. Don’t want to sound too serious? Use emoticons to lighten the mood. Many people online use emoticons to express emotions. There’s no reason you can’t do the same when engaging as a brand. But don’t overdo it.
- Only use quality visual content. You can be casual with your communication strategy, but brand visuals must always be professional. Never share low-quality photos or videos on your platforms.
Your business can succeed on social media by being consistent, adaptable, and flexible. Have fun, test new ideas, and never forget that your ultimate goal is to grow your business faster using social media.
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