Social media marketing for small business can be one of your most effective tools for marketing and sales – if you know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, that’s a mighty big if, since the majority of businesses don’t.
But what if I told you I had the secrets to getting customers from social media? And I’m willing to share them with you? Pretty sweet, huh? Just keep reading.
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Here are 21 Ways To Use Social Media Marketing For Business To Get New Customers.
1. Know Who You’re Targeting
Before you start doing anything else, I want you to take a deep breath and say it with me: “I must know my audience”. Maybe repeat it a few times, until it really sinks in. Because without this seemingly simple step, your social media marketing isn’t going to be effective.
How old are they? What are their income levels? What are their other interests? Which social media platforms do they use? Find out all of this (and more) if you want to make social media for business work for you.
2. Use The Right Social Media Platforms
Which social media platforms should you be using? The short answer: the one or two that your potential customers are using most often.
Of course, that involves knowing your audience (hint, hint), and also having an understanding of both the user demographics and strengths/weaknesses of each social media channel.
For instance, if your product or service targets, say, folks over 50, you might not get the best ROI from Instagram, where 47% of global users are between 25-44. However, if you’re a brand with great imagery, like a travel company, you’d be insane not to use Instagram, where you can use your feed to showcase stunning snapshots.
3. Optimize Your Social Media Profiles For Business
You’ve created a social media profile, but have you filled the darn thing out? Before you start worrying about getting more people to your page, you should make sure your page is optimized for business.
Do you have a profile photo? Upload one. And don’t just pick any old photo. Remember, this is going to be the image that thousands, if not millions, of people associate with your business.
Next, fill out your bio. Let people know who you are and how you can help, but keep it short. Use keywords that will help people find your business through search.
And make sure to slap a call-to-action on the end, directing people to your website, landing page, or what have you. It’s a good idea to make it a trackable link through bit.ly, so you’ll know who and how many people are clicking through.
4. Build Your Brand On Social Media
Even though your ultimate goal in using social media for business is to generate more sales, your strategy doesn’t always have to be so direct. A strong brand will create sales all on its own.
Seriously, how many people buy Nike shoes just based on their branding?
Use social media as a way to build your own. That means increasing your brand awareness, building trust, and establishing authority through your content, your presentation, and how you interact with followers.
Because the more people that know about your business and see it in a positive light, the easier it will be to entice those people to buy from you.
5. Keep Your Branding Consistent
Different social media services call for different content, meaning you’re not going to post the exact same material to your Twitter feed that you do to your Facebook page. But you still need to keep your branding consistent across platforms.
The visual features, like the design, colors, and images you use, should be the same on Instagram as they are on Facebook. You should also maintain the same messaging across your tweets, captions, and snaps.
Keeping your branding consistent will go a long way to building the awareness, trust, and loyalty that I talked about above.
6. Connect With Influencers On Social Media
Why are so many businesses working with social media “influencers” these days? Because it’s darn effective.
In fact, a recent Nielsen study shows that influencers provided a return on investment 11 times higher than other forms of digital marketing. Which influencers you work with and how you do it will depend on your brand and budget, but when done right, it can be a game changer. And don’t worry, smaller influencers (that fit a smaller budget) can still be worth their weight in gold.
7. Let Your Fans Promote You
If your business is worth its salt, you’ll eventually end up with paying customers who enjoy talking about and sharing your products or services on social media. Now, if you’re, say, Apple, you won’t be able to keep up with it all, but for the rest of us using social media for business, these folks can be almost mini-influencers.
If someone’s already praising you on social media for free, consider contacting them with an offer of a freebie, discount, etc. if they’ll keep it up or use your official hashtags. Their 1,000 follower account may not have the reach of an influencer with 100,000 or 1+ million followers, but then again, their appreciation is genuine and their help comes a lot cheaper.
For smaller accounts, at least give them a shoutout or a retweet, and let their organic praise act as promotion.
8. Run Contests And Deals
Whether you’re trying to build your followers or increase engagement with the ones you already have, both contests and deals can be a great way to do it. They can even outsource your content creation and promotion to your customers.
Examples include an exclusive coupon code shared with your followers for x-percent off a future purchase, or a giveaway that asks people to tag friends and follow your pages for a chance to win.
9. Post The Content Your Followers Want
Many businesses make the mistake of posting dry, straightforward content to their feeds. But people don’t spend time on social media because they like infomercials.
You want to get the word out on your business. And the best way to do that is with content that people are actually drawn to.
Pay attention to what kinds of posts are popular on each platform, and figure out how you can fit them to your message. I already pointed out a couple ideas above, but here’s another hint: a picture is worth a thousand words, as cliché as it might sound.
10. Use Social Media Advertising
Most of these tips can be put to work on even the most bootstrapped budget. But organic social media marketing will only get you so far. If you want to maximize your reach and lead generation, it pays to, well, pay. For social media ads, that is.
The good news is, paid ads can benefit businesses and budgets of all sizes, from the smallest upstart to the biggest corporation. For a little money, you can get your business in front of millions of eyes in the form of an Instagram story, Facebook messenger ad, promoted tweet, or Youtube video ad, growing your reach and your bottom line in the process.
11. Use A Call To Action
The call to action – sometimes referred to as a “CTA” by the cool kids – has long been one of the most simple yet effective marketing tools around. And it’s just as useful when applied to social media for business.
Want more followers? Ask people to follow you. Want more people to buy your product? Ask. Want more… okay, you get the idea. If you want it, you have to ask for it.
12. Provide A Freebie Or Special Offer
Of course, a call to action is even more effective when it’s paired with something your followers want. And there are few things people want more than sales and free stuff. Who doesn't love a 20% off discount code, after all?
Also known as a “lead magnet”, these offers can help you collect emails for your list, bring attention to your brand, and even increase sales. They can include things like percentage off coupons, free content, and more. Use them to your advantage in social media for business.
13. Make Sure To Be Social
Many businesses make the mistake of treating their social media page(s) as strictly business and forget about what social media’s all about. After all, one half of the term social media is, you guessed it, “social”!
Remember, not everything you post to your company’s feed has to be in the form of an official-sounding statement. Take a moment to socialize a bit – and maybe even crack a joke or two. After all, 72% of people said they like businesses that show a sense of humor on social media.
14. Show Your Personality
What’s the difference between boring small talk about the weather and an impassioned conversation with someone you just met? Personality.
That’s why, when it comes to both your interactions with your followers and your social media presence in general, you want to show your personality. An account run by a former business executive who loves custom suits shouldn’t be identical to a vegan yoga instructor’s – and vice versa.
Of course, you’ll want to share those parts of your personality that fit with your brand. For instance, if you sell knitted dog sweaters, your customers may not share your appreciation for death metal. But chances are, as a business owner, your interests are probably somewhat aligned with your brand already.
15. Ask For The Business
On the flip side, don’t forget the reason your business is on social media: to generate business.
It’s great to engage with people on social media, rack up followers, build up your brand awareness, and tout the benefits of your product or service, but none of that means much if you don’t make the sale. Instead of just passively waiting for people to click-through and buy, make it a point to actively ask for their business.
16. Provide Customer Service
Growing a business is about more than sales. You’ve got to keep those customers happy, so that they keep coming back, tell their friends, and leave glowing reviews to your merchant page. And that means handling some good ol’ customer service.
Whether it’s questions or complaints, social media has become a popular place for consumers to seek customer support in recent years. The best brands have embraced this – and you should too. But you have to be on your A-game, especially on Twitter, where 53% of consumers expect a response in 60 minutes or less.
It also helps to be proactive and actually seek out people who are confused about your products or venting their frustrations without directly contacting your page.
17. Create And Use Hashtags
Remember back when hashtags were mostly just a Twitter thing? Well, those days are long gone.
If you're not including relevant and popular hashtags on your posts, posting to trending hashtags, and creating and promoting hashtags specifically for your business or campaigns, whether it's on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, you're doing it wrong. Encourage your followers to use your hashtags too!
18. Search For Mentions Of Your Business On Social Media
Many, if not most, of the people who talk about your brand on social media, especially if you’re a decent sized business, aren’t going to do it directly on your Facebook page or by mentioning your Twitter handle.
To find the feedback and comments that don’t make it to your notifications, it’s a good idea to actively use the social media service’s search function to seek out who’s talking about your business, both good and bad. From there, you can reply to it, retweet it, direct them to your official channels, or even just use it for your internal quality control.
19. Spy On Your Competition
All’s fair in… er, business and marketing. Which is why you should never be afraid to use a little espionage to improve your social media strategy.
That’s right, I want you to spy on your competitors. What are the biggest brands in your industry? Find out, if you don’t already know, and take a trip over to their social media pages.
Which platforms are they using? What kind of content are they posting? Who’s their audience? Where are they getting the most engagement? Figure out what’s working for them – and apply it to your own social media strategy.
20. Drive Traffic To Your Website
Social media is such an awesome tool for marketing your business. But at the end of the day, you don’t own your social media page, the platform does. It’s “rented land” that you’ll never have full control over.
Many businesses have had their pages suspended or even deleted entirely by Facebook in the past without warning. It can be over something as simple as a Terms of Service violation that you didn't know you made or even a competitor maliciously reporting your content.
Imagine having your biggest marketing channel disappear in the blink of an eye – and not even having a backup plan. And there’s always the chance that the social media service you’ve dedicated so much time to eventually goes the way of Myspace.
Use social media marketing for business, but always as a tool to direct leads to your own platforms, like your website or blog, not as a substitute. Include links in your bio, your posts, and pretty much everywhere else you can fit them.
21. Build Your Email List Using Social Media Marketing
One of the most effective tools for building your own platforms and reducing your reliance on social media platforms is through an email list. As any decent marketer will tell you, the size of your email list is a lot more important than the number of Facebook likes or Instagram followers you have.
Which is why you should always be searching for ways to turn those social media fans into members of your email list. Use your posts, ads, bio, and even your Facebook cover photo to funnel them right where you want ‘em, to your email subscriber sign-up form.
It's always a good idea to entice people to subscribe with a nice freebie or discount too.
Running a business is tough, and your schedule can get hectic. It’s neither realistic nor efficient to block off a chunk of time every day for creating and posting content to your social media pages.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. Rather than trying to maintain a daily content schedule, you’re going to craft a week or month’s worth of content at once, then upload it in bulk, and set it to post to your feed automatically.
This will ensure that your social media pages are getting the consistent updates that they need to grow, without cutting into your oh-so-busy daily schedule.
By now, you’ve got a pretty formidable arsenal of tools for using social media marketing for small business. You know which platforms to use and how to set up your pages.
You've got strategies for increasing your follower count and engaging your existing followers, posting content and building brand awareness. And you've even received a quick tutorial on using social media to build your own platforms.
The only thing left to do is apply it all.
How will you adapt these strategies to your brand? Let me know in the comments!