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.
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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 discount, 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.
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 of 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 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
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.