How hard can it be to have a social media presence? All you need to do is open accounts and people will come flocking in, right? But hold your horses for a minute, please. The answer is a resounding NO!
There is a lot that goes into getting followers and visibility on the platforms. The one thing you have to contend with is the amount of competition. Millions of small businesses are competing for that limited attention.
At this point, you are wondering about the use of the word ‘limited’ right? Allow us to clarify what we mean. Yes, there are very many people on the platforms. But, they will skew their interest to what they like.
So, let’s say your line is child care products. True, millions of people may stumble across your posts. But, a significant portion will not necessarily translate into business for you.
Your biggest chance for conversions lies in the percentage that is interested in your product or service offering.
That is why it pays to be strategic about building a social media presence. We collected interesting titbits from a web agency New York on how to go about it. Read on for some interesting insights.
1. Start by Understanding the Importance of a Social Media Presence
Social media opened up tons of avenues for creating brand visibility. The allure of social media is that it offers flexibility with regard to personalization. It allows for a level of connectedness that you will not find with, say, advertising.”
The fact that people can interact, comment, and like, increases engagement and interaction. Such platforms bridge the gap between brands and customers by introducing a more personal space.”
Well, if statistics are anything to go by, your small business cannot afford not to be on social media. According to The Entrepreneur, 97% of Fortune 500 companies use social media for promotions or stakeholder communication. With over 4 billion global users, the potential for small businesses is quite significant.
So, with that in mind, what makes social media an attractive brand-building platform? We can summarize the benefits as follows:
- Social media is quite affordable. Small businesses have the option of free or paid avenues. And even with the latter, you can achieve quite a bit on a small budget.
- There is a lot of flexibility with what you can do on social media. As long as you’re not breaking any rules, you are good to go. Every platform has terms and conditions you must abide by. Facebook will, for example, not allow the advertisement of illegal products, discriminatory practices, or third-party infringement. Most of the platforms have pretty much the same conditions.
- There is instant communication with audiences. It fosters connectedness and instant feedback
- Audience targeting is on point. It helps avoid the spray and pray mentality of analog advertising. This is where you place your message in print or electronic media and hope the right people see it.
- Social media provides 24/7 access to audiences from all over the world.
2. Outline Your Goals or Objectives
When you were writing your business proposal, you had goals right? There was something you were working towards or hoping to achieve.
Now, you look around and all your competitors have social media accounts. You decide to hop onto the bandwagon without proper goals. That is a big mistake that could have you running around in circles. Goals are a critical component of any social media strategy.
Have clarity on what you hope to achieve. Have a broad goal and break it into sizable chunks. Let’s say your goal is to improve brand visibility. You hope to achieve this by increasing your organic audience to 1 million.
Start by allocating a timeline to this, say within a year. Now break it down to quarterly or half-yearly milestones. It will be a good way to see whether you are on target for achieving the overall goal.
3. Have Measurable Metrics in Place
This point ties in closely with our point above. But, it opens up room for deeper exploration. Having a goal of getting 1 million followers is all good. But, will they help in the achievement of your goals as a business?
What is the point of having global audiences, yet they cannot access your products or services? A better tactic would be to strive for local followers.
If you cannot show value for what you are doing, then shelf it. Any salesperson will tell you conversions are more critical than the number of likes.
Other important metrics to consider include engagement with content. Do the audiences retweet, share, or comment on the posts? Such interactions will let you know that your message is hitting home.
The New York web design agency echoes the sentiment. “Metrics are critical for analyzing your social media campaigns. We have had to let go of what is not working based on careful analysis of results. It also allows us to better craft messaging for maximum impact.”
4. Know Your Target Audience and Be Personable
The word social connotes personable, friendly, warm, and inviting. The same characteristics should come through on your social media accounts. Develop a tone that resonates with your business.
Some of the best ones come across as playful while informative. Others are funny, without losing that touch of professionalism.
Do not focus on hard sell language that only pushes products or services. Use the platforms to display the other side of the business. The one that has a face and real people behind it.
Here is a good way to go about it.
- Think about your business. Factor in the vision, mission, and brand positioning
- Look at words that would best describe your business
- Take time to know your audiences well. Who are they, what drives them, what do they like/dislike, and so on.
- How do you want the audience to see you? A good idea is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. How do you see yourself from their viewpoint?
- Develop personae based on the points above.
With a persona, it becomes easy to communicate using the right language. Think about it much like you would, talking to a good friend.
5. Be Creative in How You Reach Audiences
We reiterate our earlier point that social media allows for a lot of flexibility. The New York design agency has an interesting way of looking at it.
According to them, the only limit to creativity on the platforms is within yourself. There are tons of ways to reach audiences, other than occasional posts.
Utilize visual aids like video content. Research shows that up to 69% of customers prefer video to text. Video content on landing pages can result in an 86% increase in conversions.
Technology has improved access to video-making tools. Your smartphone is enough to shoot content. It removes expensive production processes, which could be beyond the reach of small business owners. Just ensure high-quality images, good sound, and interesting topics.
User-generated content is another winner. It is an excellent way to grow organic audiences by making them a part of your brand. And, best of all, it is free. People send in pictures or videos to you. Posting such is sure to get a lot of engagement.
Influencers are also a good way to reach audiences. You leverage their influence to build traffic to your platforms. The explosion of micro and micro-influencers is a plus for small businesses. You don’t have to spend millions chasing after celebrities.
True, they may not have millions of followers like the Kardashians. But, with followers ranging from 10,000 to 100,000+, they can be a boost for your small business.
Social media is a powerful platform for your brand if you use it right. Take time to understand its potential and the impact it could have. Have clear goals to act as benchmarks for everything you do. Know your audiences well and create a personable persona.
And, embrace the flexibility of the platforms by being creative. Remember the aim is to engage and interact with relevant content. Organic audiences who love your brand are likely to turn into lifelong, converting customers.