As a small business owner, you are probably always looking for new ways to promote and grow your business.
You’re probably also constantly battling a never-ending job list which requires you to take on multiple different roles across your business. One minute you’re wrangling with stock taking, the next you’re completing accounts… it doesn’t leave a lot of regular time for marketing activity.
So how can the time-pressed small business owner leverage the benefits of social media to successfully promote and sell their products and services?
A little time upfront planning can have a huge impact on the success of any project and never more so than with the planning of a social media campaign.
First things first, you’ll need to decide on which platforms you are going to concentrate. It’s important not to spread yourself too thinly. It’s better to stick to just the one platform at first and make a success of your activity there before moving on to build your audience on a new channel.
Begin with the channel which is most relevant to your target audience. If you’re selling business to business, this is likely to be LinkedIn. But if you’re a local restaurant or bar, you’re more likely to find your audience on Facebook, while fashion brands should stick to Instagram.
The next step is to really get under the skin of your target audience. The experts at the social media management platform Hootsuite suggest: “Start by compiling data on your current customers. Then, dig deeper with social media analytics. You’ll start to develop a solid picture of who’s buying from and interacting with you online.”
Once you have a good understanding of your target customer (developing buyer personas is a good tip here, if you haven’t developed them already for your other marketing activity; this way you have a specific person in mind each time you create a post), you can start building up content that you want to push out to your audience.
Entrepreneur says small businesses need to be prepared to “provide massive amounts of value before asking for anything in return”. It cites Gary Vaynerchuk, a leading expert of the value-first concept how says you must provide free valuable content to your audience on social media to build trust and entice visitors to buy.
It’s really important that you factor in the time to monitor and respond to all relevant social media conversations; this is the way you show your commitment to your audience and build meaningful interactions.
Social media influencers can have a huge impact on your online brand presence. It’s important to pick the right people to work with, or you can read our guide to how to become one yourself!
There are plenty of online tools to help you measure engagement and results, but you’ll need to invest time initially into getting them to work for you. At the same time, it’s also worth considering whether automation tools could help to make your life easier says social media consultancy Quick Sprout. These automation tools usually come with additional tools for monitoring and analysis.
Need more help? Try this guide to social media marketing by marketing automation platform company HubSpot.