An Introduction to Social Media Marketing
Updated: Aug 23, 2022
Social media marketing is the practice of using key social media platforms to engage, and connect with your audience in order to drive awareness and sales for your business.
Sounds simple right? Well, it can take some real hard work and dedication to create a truly effective social media marketing strategy for a small business.
You need to be creating excellent content consistently, engage with and react to your audience, analyze your performance and make positive change.
Luckily, we’re dab hands at social media marketing and have plenty of expertise to share with you.
Check out our article to understand how to best utilise key platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and learn more about the resources that could make a huge difference to your social media presence, and the success of your company.
What is social media marketing? - An overview
In the modern world of marketing, social media is often the face of your company. Now, so many businesses first meet their customers through social media. How often have you come across a brand, scrolled through their feed and ended up making a purchase? It’s an amazing way to reach out, engage, increase awareness and set up brand identity.
To do this, there are a range of different touch points which you can use to interact with, and engage your audience.
For example, there’s the inspirational side of things, where you simply inspire your audience with your consistent branding and aesthetic. Or, you can set up competitions to increase interaction between yourself and your customer, all while attracting new people to your offering.
You can even problem solve, by responding to queries and complaints, helping to boost your customer service offering. Or make your customers feel appreciated by responding to them and sharing their stories.
To perfect all of this, and truly excel at social media marketing, you’re going to need a plan. Check out all the top 5 things you should consider when starting your own social media marketing.
1. Develop your strategy
The first and arguably most important step in starting your social media marketing career is all about big picture stuff. This is the part where you look at what you want to achieve for your business when it comes to social media. Ask yourself a few questions before you dive into posting.
What is your goal for your business’ social media?
If you’re a small business, there’s a whole heap of possible ways you could take it. You might want to increase brand awareness, which will eventually drive more people to your website. You may want to build a little community and engage with people, or you might want to use social media as a way to support your customers when they need you.
Which platform is right for your business?
Depending on your goal and what you’re selling, the best social media platform for you might be different to the one you initially planned on. For example, a very visually impressive interior design business would benefit from Instagram, as it’s designed to help showcase beautiful images. A small cafe with a real community feel might do better on Facebook, where you can create events and private groups.
As you can see, there’s plenty to think about when it comes to choosing a platform, but one piece of advice is don’t spread yourself too thinly. Pick a platform carefully, give it your all and stick with it.
Develop your brand and tone
When your customers click on your social media profile, they should feel welcome. That means, you have to define who your customer is, what they will engage with and ensure your social media reflects that.
That means both in terms of the images you post, the videos you create and the words you use to speak to your audience. Once that’s nailed you’ll create a consistent, relatable presence that your customers will connect with, build a relationship with and become loyal to.
Once your strategy is laid out before you, it’s time to get posting. Don’t worry if you find you need to adjust your strategy as you go, it can develop as you do. But, with strong foundations, the only way to go is up!
2. Plan for consistency
Once your strategy is down, it’s time to get into the more operational side of things - publishing.
At the moment, somewhere around three billion (!!!) people are registered on social media platforms and, let’s face it, many of them spend hours and hours a day scrolling. To maximise your ability to engage with your future customers, you need to be a consistent presence that they can interact with and get to know. This will be much more rewarding and beneficial than an ad-hoc, unpredictable approach.
The key to this is planning. At the beginning of every week, write out your posts, have your images ready in drafts and schedule everything in if you can. Get it all out of the way in one go and you’ll be on to a winner.
3. Engage with your customers
Your social media marketing strategy should involve more than just posting and publishing. On top of that, you should be engaging with your customers.This is key to building rapport and basically, getting them to like you and your business.
If someone comments on your post, be sure to respond. Don’t let a direct message sit in your inbox unanswered, even if it’s just an emoji! And always be on hand to deal with complaints and queries - these can come up often on social media and can either reinforce your business’ excellent customer services offering, or damage your reputation.
By doing all of the above and doing it well, you can even turn your customers into your own advocates. How often have you seen someone post about the fantastically quick response they received from a business? We see it all the time on social media. With reactions like that, you customers quickly start doing the work for you, which drives more interest, more clicks and, ultimately, more sales. It can be hard to track when it comes to analytics, but it can also be invaluable to a small business.
4. Analyse your performance
One of the most important things you need to do as you continue to develop and grow is to analyse your performance. Sit down once a week or even month and look at what’s working and what’s simply not.
Take note of what’s encouraging engagement and make sure you include more of that type of content when you’re planning your schedule.
When you know what gets your customers ticking and what’s leading to dead ends, then you can readjust your strategy and make sure you’re getting the most out of your social media marketing plan.
There are a range of free or low cost tools out there that can give you the insights you need when it comes to analytics. Some are better than others, but when you know how to use them properly, they can be game changing for a small business.
5. Empower yourself
If you’re learning about social media marketing for yourself, the tips at the top are a great place to start. But, if you really want to master the art of growth through social media, then you need to look at how you can empower yourself.
Online social media courses are the ideal option for those who are looking to learn more, quickly and for very little cost.
Other social media marketing resources
You might be a newbie when it comes to all the social media insider information, but there’s plenty of resources you can get your hands on that can help you stay informed and educated.
First up, keep up to date with all the latest information and hints and tips on our blog. We’re always updating our content with all kinds of marketing insights that are designed specifically to help drive growth for small businesses.
If you need more information about analytical tools that are free or low cost, be sure to check out our article on the best tools you can use when you’re working on a budget.
Let us help to build your social media presence and market your small business.