Social media is a leading tool in the world of business marketing. This is especially important for small business owners. Large corporations and companies with big marketing budgets can utilize different marketing strategies (often quite expensive strategies). Small businesses do not have that luxury. Most likely, the small business owner has a tight budget, limited resources, and lack of time.
Social Media Is Key
The beauty of social media marketing is, it doesn’t care how large or small your company is. Social media is available to all types and sizes of businesses. It is something a very small company can use to promote their business with little to no financial investment.
Social media is a little overwhelming for many business owners. It takes time and attention, however, according to Sprout Social, social media 74% of adults use social media and 57% of it is part of your sales funnel. These are not numbers to ignore. Rather, take note and start implementing a social media marketing plan for your business.
It’s Not About Size
You may be saying, “I have a small business in a small town. I don’t need social media.” To some regard, this statement is true. You don’t need social media as much as say a company with a larger customer audience. But, social media is an important part of your company too. It is a tool to reach the most people in your geographical area. Your business becomes personal and recognizable to the community. You can keep customers updated.
Where To Start
The first step is to start with a plan. Consider your goals for the social media marketing. Perhaps your goals include:
- Increased online sales
- Increased foot traffic
- Increase an email list
Make your goals specific and measurable. It’s fine to say “increase sales” but specificity helps you design the marketing plan in detail. Perhaps your goal is “increase online sales 20% in the third quarter”. This is specific and measurable.
After setting goals, consider your customer. Who are they? What do they like? What do they want? How can you help them? Your customer base may be vast, like a hardware store, or very specific such as a ballet dance supply shop.
Once you know who your customer is, you can start to create a plan customized for them. Different age groups use different social media platforms. Instagram is popular with one group, while another loves Facebook.
Many people will use a calendar or spreadsheet to help map a social media plan. It will include what, when, and where information is posted. A calendar or spreadsheet will specify the image and wording.
I am using this spreadsheet to plan and execute social sharing.
Always include your brand imagery. A goal should be to make your brand recognizable with a positive response. What you share is important too. You want to build a relationship with your customers. Starting conversations, showing an interest in what your customers share, retweets, and likes are all effective ways to build that relationship. Some business like to encourage customers to use social media for customer service purposes.
Make It Easier
Managing social media can be overwhelming, especially for the small business owner. Make it easier by using a social media tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or SproutSocial. Each of these tools is designed to schedule posts and shares to multiple platforms using a calendar type system.
Finaally, remember to measure the results against goals. Typically, you will check your numbers every month, quarter, and end of year. Also, use Google Analytics to measure the effectiveness of your media plan in terms of interaction.
Small business owners should not ignore social media in their marketing strategy. It is one of the least expensive ways to extend your reach, engage current and potential customers, and share your brand.
Start sharing your business story via social media today. Reach out to your customers and engage with them on a personal level. Build relationships today.