Social media continues to be one of the most valuable marketing channels for all sizes of businesses. Nonetheless, many small business owners are still unsure how to make the best use of social networks in their day-to-day operations.
If you need some direction or just want to take your social media marketing to the next level, here are nine ways social media can help your small business get ahead in the coming year.
- Get to Know Your Target Market
Social listening, which simply means monitoring conversations around your brand or industry, helps you understand what your target audience are thinking and talking about. You can then use these insights to find out where conversations are happening and deliver more appropriate content to your audience.
Tip: Regularly ask your audience for feedback and join in with social conversations. Find out what’s important to your audience and what problems they face to help you create content that addresses their pain points.
- Improve Brand Awareness
Establishing your business and gaining recognition used to be expensive, but now it’s easier than ever before to compete with larger companies. Unlike traditional marketing methods, social media can get your business in front of people quickly and cheaply. In fact, the number of social media users continues to grow. Over the past year, the number of global social media users has increased by more than 10 percent (1).
Tip: In the coming year, try to post useful and entertaining content more frequently, and always use one or two industry-related hashtags to reach a wider audience.
- Build Audience Trust
With an increasing number of consumers distrusting advertising and marketing, authenticity has become vital for businesses using social media. To build trust with your audience, show the real people behind your business. Post behind-the-scenes videos of your business operations, share your company’s mission and beliefs and highlight the unique personalities of employees.
Tip: Showcase your actual customers. Encourage customers to share photos of themselves using your products or services. As well as building trust, this type of user-generated content can boost social media engagement and shares.
- Provide Better Customer Support
Social media can be a great customer service platform for small businesses, especially Twitter and Facebook. According to a Facebook survey, 53 percent of people said they’re more likely to shop with a business they can message directly (2). With the right social media monitoring tool, businesses can respond to customer queries quickly and deal with complaints transparently to build trust.
Tip: Answer common customer questions across your social media channels before they are asked, or link to your FAQ page. Also, consider creating a separate Twitter account exclusively for customer service.
- Nurture Leads
While email marketing is one of the best lead nurturing channels, social media can also be very effective for reaching leads at different stages of the buyer’s journey. For example, for awareness-stage customers, post content such as expert roundup posts or helpful infographics. For consideration-stage leads, you might upload product demos or post a link to a product guide.
Tip: Don’t forget to connect social media content to your other online channels. For example, awareness-stage content should link to your “About” page or a recent blog post.
- Cultivate Backlinks
Links to your website from other channels are still an important factor in search engine rankings. While social media shares don’t have a direct impact on search engine rankings, posting useful content on social media can encourage others to link to your original content, which can boost your search rankings.
Tip: Include links to your website in your social media profiles, business descriptions, and pinned posts.
- Keep Your Audience Informed
The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses all over the world to focus on how effectively they were communicating with consumers. Fortunately, most businesses took advantage of the immediacy of social media to update their customers. Going forward, businesses should continue to use social media to update, inform, and educate their audience.
Tip: Use social media to constantly educate your audience about your business, products, and services. This can include product guides, product updates, service changes, news about upcoming events, and anything that might affect customers.
- Generate Sales
As well as being an effective platform for providing useful information, social media can also be an excellent sales channel. While you shouldn’t only post promotional content, regularly offering deals and promotions can help to build your following and drive sales.
Tip: Frequently offer exclusive deals and promotional codes to your social media followers. Consider running a regular “Saturday Sale” or something similar.
- Increase Customer Loyalty
There are various ways to strengthen customer loyalty and keep your audience engaged. Apart from offering regular deals, encourage conversations around topics important to your target audience. Also, ask questions to increase social media engagement and learn more about your audience.
Tip: Aim to post more videos to your social media channels. In a HubSpot survey, 54 percent of consumers wanted to see more video content from businesses they support (3).
For small businesses, social media is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. Whether you’re looking to improve customer support or learn more about your customers, there are many ways you can leverage social media to support your small business. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to social media marketing, but hopefully, these tips will inspire you to use social media more effectively.
When considering your next steps, think about what your business goals are for the coming year. You can then prioritize your tactics, plan your social media strategy more effectively, and maximize the growth of your small business in 2022 and beyond.