We all know how Social Media benefits businesses on a rough scale. From small to medium to large, all companies use social media to grow their business online. I have seen brands switch from SEO only approach to the SEO+SMM (Search Engine Optimization + Social Media Marketing) approach — and get quite effective results.
If you are a business owner and are really new to social media marketing, then this article is for you. In this definitive guide to social media for businesses, I will guide you through various terms and practices to help you understand how social media can benefit your business.
Social Media for Businesses: A Definitive Guide
Businesses will barely achieve their goals if they are competing against rivals who are miles ahead in terms of social media usage. However, it pays to take the plunge if you know what’s expected and required within the social media realm. On social media, your presence depends on how you approach it, and the tactics you leverage to build brand awareness.
Understanding the tactics behind social media for businesses can help you in a long way in building your presence.
Using social media marketing effectively can not only help you capitalize on the opportunities but also help you safeguard the reputation you will have built over time.
It takes a well-thought-out social media plan, goals, and a guiding framework — altogether called a social media marketing strategy. If one social media marketing strategy/plan doesn’t work, you can quickly pick another strategy.
How to Create a Social Media Strategy for Your Business?
I am considering you know all about the key social networking sites — like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Mostly, as a business, you will need to target these. Other social networking sites will come later.
Plan Your Social Media Goals, Budget and Results
Before you start creating your social media strategy for the next couple of months, you will have to assess your needs (a.k.a., social media goals), budget and results.
Needs or social media goals
To get your needs or social media goals you will have to understand why are you create a specific social media strategy. See, for example, if you are a shoe-seller — your social media goals can be:
- To get people talking about your brand, and/or
- To get people to buy your products.
These needs don’t have values in them. For example, you are not targeting how many people will talk about your brand or how many people will buy your shoes. For values, you will have to understand your budget and then create results.
It’s easier to plan a social media strategy when you know the kind of relationship you want to build with customers. With that in mind, it becomes very easy to create such content and to formulate tactics that help you achieve your social media goals to 100%.
This is the money that you will be spending on social media plans, from start to end. Once you have decided on a budget, you can ask your social media expert on how many leads (sales, reviews, likes) and impressions and how much revenue you can generate with this budget.
This budget isn’t all going to be spent on paid advertising, influencers or social media ads — a great social media plan focuses mainly on organic approaches (getting leads naturally). While paid advertising is the best way to start, you can amplify your paid advertising with some popular organic social media approaches which I will discuss later.
Most of the time, money is the end product of a business’s social media strategies. But there may arise some cases when you just need extra followers and make other people talk about your business on social media. In the result section, you will have to decide the numbers you wish to achieve.
Identify Your Audience
Succeeding with your social media marketing strategy requires a deep understanding of your target audience.
As a business, you need to know who your target market is. Once you know this, you can then work to further interest them and maintain their intrigue.
Take time to research what your audience wants, and look for ways to satisfy their whims. Remember, we are human, and being personable is a trait that makes your customers want to associate with you and your brand.
Existing customers and clients are extremely helpful in this as they hold the power to spread the word; either good or bad about your company, its quality, service, and reputation.
You need to foster a good relationship with these individuals and build trust using social media. Send emails to them to alert them to upcoming deals, offers, and discounts, communicate with them in comment sections underneath video content on YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook, for example, and use their testimonials as part of your advertising strategy both online and offline.
Create Wow Content
Hire a graphic designer, a content writer along with your social media strategist. If your budget is low, you can outsource these to freelancers. If your budget is even lower (ahem!) you can use a Canva like tool to design and schedule your social media content.
But all these need to be done only after you have identified your potential market.
Once you start publishing good content, your prospects will see you as an authority. The deeper the relationship with such an audience, the easier it is to turn conversations into conversions. Eventually, your prospects will refer you to their friends, since you are able to meet their needs and expectations.
Consider creating high-quality videos and then upload it to all social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube.
If you’re keen to post videos but are worried about having to edit them to exceptional professional standards, then consider live streaming to get your message across and to show the public sphere:
- what it is that you can offer them
- how your product or service works, and
- the quality of what you offer functioning in real-time.
Live streaming can be a useful solution if you wish to publish educational or instructional content for others to follow along to without having to go to the trouble of perfectly trimming it whilst adding crisp, clear audio.
Expand Your Marketing Campaigns to Other Social Networks and Offline Marketing
There are numerous social media platforms you can leverage. However, the secret lies in your capacity to cross-network your marketing strategy. If you know how to integrate online and offline marketing efforts, your endeavor should pay off faster than expected. Conventional methods might be a thing of the past, but if interlinked well with social media, they will work the magic.
Plan and Schedule Your Content Publishing
Set a timetable to focus on your social media campaigns. This enables you to be consistent and your followers will take the cue. Always answer queries on time, and don’t spread yourself too thin across the platforms. Remember, when you let the customer lead the conversation online, you gradually foster an emotional attachment which is good for your venture.
Teach Your Staff Social Media
Some businesses are outdated and most of their employees are unaware of what social media is and how it works for the benefit of their company. Plan a schedule to teach your employees how to use social media and ask them to help you by regularly sharing about your brand. This helps a lot in building a network and increases impressions among the friends of your employees.
Benefits of Social Media in Business
Social media is inexhaustible. The greatest favor you can do for your business is to never stop learning. These evolve faster than you think and you don’t want to be left behind. Once you get used to these, you can reap the benefits of social media and grow your business a lot faster.
In 2022, every business needs to invest in social media advertising & media services to set up a credible presence on these platforms. With more than 4 billion active users, no brand can afford to ignore the presence of social media handles. By having an optimized presence, brands can hope to engage their target audiences, generate sales queries, work on their branding and boost revenues and profits!
Let me now walk you through the benefits of social media for businesses.
Easiest Marketing Tool for Your Business
If you don’t know it already, social media marketing is the easiest way to start marketing your business. Just signup on a platform and well, start engaging with people.
A Free Customer Support Tool
I use Twitter and Facebook to get support for various products that I have purchased. Users can chat with brands & businesses and get real-time responses to their queries. From a business perspective, social networks can work as a customer support tool and you can not only provide easily accessible support but also receive valuable feedback from the customers.
Free Word-of-Mouth Promotion
The brands that are active on social networks get a huge competitive advantage in terms of word-of-mouth promotion. When someone starts talking about your product or service, other people join in. Once this chain sequence has started, your products may end on a higher node (or a lower one).
As it says, social networks offer a much broader audience than anyone. If properly done you can reach more people at once than you could have reached till now.
With viral-type marketing strategy combined with online reviews and positive feedback can help you cover most part of this unlimited audience.
Every good blog post, Tweet or Facebook share motivates the audience to visit the company’s website. Social Media – might soon turn out to be the main source of clicks and traffic.
Higher rate of conversion and referral to your products
If your social media strategy is one of a kind, you can attract more leads in a small period of time. There are already a lot of social media strategies that are proven effective, it would be a great idea if you improvised these working strategies to apply them to your social media approach.
Reduced unnecessary costs
Another advantage of social media marketing is the possibility of a reduction in support staff and hence cutting down costs. This method can be implemented by small business owners or small brands.
Keep on reading: 11 Effective Measures to Improve Social Media Presence
What not to post on Social Media?
Whether your business is new to social media or it is a veteran, what your business shares on any platform are key to the success of any social media marketing strategy. In order to establish an effective social media business page, you not only need to know what to post but what not to post.
Here are some things your business should never share on social media.
Content that is offensive
If there is a chance you can offend someone with your post, don’t post it. Anything related to racial slurs, crude jokes, graphic images, or anything that would offend either gender, should be avoided. You may think the controversy is worth it, but it is not. You can cause irreparable harm to your brand.
Any form of content that you post without attribution ( i.e. images, quotes, or original ideas) can cause issues for your business. Copyright infringement is serious and can lead to legal action. Whether you think it is something you can get away with or not, it is just not worth it.
Content that has not been fact-checked
If you have come across a juicy article that is controversial or sensational, take a moment to check on its validity. It could be inaccurate or even a scam. Posting something like this can make your business come across as not caring enough to fact check. This goes for any link sharing too. Always click on any links you plan on sharing.
People follow your business page because they want to stay up to date on your product and/or services. They want to be informed about deals and offers, events and other related news. With that being said, you can overload your followers with too much content. You want to give your followers time to digest your posts before hitting them with more content. For this reason it is key to have some sort of posting schedule in place. Take time out to choose your content and spread it out over the right intervals. Check-in with your analytics to see when you are seeing the most traffic so you post at the right times.
Posting misleading information
Social media is very competitive when it comes to businesses. You may be tempted to exaggerate a headline just to earn some clicks or post info about a competitor that is not true, but don’t. In order to build a trustworthy brand, you need to post info that is useful, relevant, and adds value to your business page. Honesty is always the best policy.
Negative posts about customers
If you have an angry customer coming at you on social media, you may be tempted to engage in confrontational comments, but don’t. Take this as an opportunity to showcase your great customer service skills. Treat them politely and professionally and you just may win them over. Always remember that in business “the customer is always right”. Not to mention the way you conduct yourself online is a direct reflection of not only your level of professionalism but your overall business attitude.
Political or religious posts
Posting anything related to politics and religion is always a no-no. Any possibility that it may turn out bad is not worth it for your brand.
Not proofreading content
Many people’s hair stands on end when people use grammar and punctuation incorrectly. Not to mention misspelled words. Not only does it come across as very unprofessional, but it also indicates a lack of caring on your part. If you are not properly handling your business page, how equipped are you to handle them as a customer? A great way to avoid all this is to have a proofreader give you a thumbs up when your content is up to snuff for posting.
Posting too much promotional content
The purpose of social media for businesses is to help boost brand awareness, increase influence and develop strong customer relationships. For this reason, you should follow the 80/20 rule. 80% should be content that is valuable and informative while 20% should be promotional. And when we say promotional, it should be newsworthy for the follower. For example, a product launch, a great sale, a new location opening etc.
On social media, there is a fine balance when it comes to the content you share. You want to be serious without being too serious and you also want to have some fun with it. A great way to add in some humor and personality to your page is by designating a time for it so people know to expect it. Doing something like a “Friday Fun” theme gives you the opportunity to share your brand’s humorous side. Keep in mind, though, that you want the majority of the content you share to be business-related. Just be sure that whatever you share will be enjoyed by your audience. Only you know them best.
Social media is an ocean. Every lead that you find is a fish that you can grab. Be sure to use the right hooks, tools and lead magnets to attract these fish (leads) to your net (product). Remember that success doesn’t come overnight. With the right practices, you can get the right results.
So this was all about social media for businesses. I tried to answer how to create a great social media marketing strategy for businesses, how are some of the benefits of social media for businesses, and how other companies use social media to boost their businesses.
I am still working on this article and I’ll be adding more information to this in a couple of days. Don’t forget to join my newsletter.