When was the last time you bought apparel without watching it first on an Instagram post? Social media is where brands showcase their products, leveraging influencer marketing campaigns.
Accenture research shows that the social commerce market is set to reach 1.2 trillion in revenues by 2025. Social media is critical to your growth, whether you are a big brand or a small business. Especially for small businesses, social media becomes an important medium to reach a large audience relatively cheaply.
More than 4.89 billion people use social media, which allows small businesses to connect with customers, gather feedback, and build a community. It also helps promote special offers, increase traffic, and improve search engine rankings.
However, what makes it an advantage also pauses a challenge. In other words, social media is flooded with brands promoting their products, and to stand apart, you need a strategy.
So, here are some of the top ways to leverage social media for your small business and skyrocket growth.
1. Identify whom to target!
Imagine pitching a fashion product to a monk or a comb to a person with no hair! Unfortunately, that is what you may do without knowing whom to target.
Defining the target audience is the first step to effective social media marketing for starting a business.
Especially niche identification and buyer personal analysis help frame an effective social media strategy. You must identify the target audience within the niche first and then beyond. Buyer’s persona identification and profiling require data.
You need information on different aspects of customers, like:
- Age (Millenials/Gen Z/Gen Alpha)
- Spending power
- Specific customer behavior.
Knowing your customers is the first step to strategizing enhanced social media campaigns.
Next, you can plan social media posts according to their persona and improve conversions.
Once you complete persona identification, it’s time to identify the right engagement channel.
2. Choose the right channel to engage
Choosing the right social media channel is important because it helps engage your target audience. However, the best strategy is to go for a multi-channel approach. BUT WHY?
Your audience is using more than just a single social media platform. On average, a person has 8.4 social media accounts across different platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and more.
So, you need a strategy that involves targeted content across social media platforms. As a small business, your availability across the channels becomes critical.
Small businesses need more traction, and a multi-channel social media marketing strategy can help achieve more visibility.
3. Set social goals
Once you know your audience, setting specific goals for social media campaigns becomes crucial. Goals can be platform-specific, campaign, and audience-specific also.
Everything depends on what outcome you want out of social media campaigns for your small business.
Take an example of Nutella’s fun Twitter campaign of different food ingredients!
Take your #breakfast bread pudding to the next level with #Nutella! 😉 pic.twitter.com/k0ko5Nm9iX
— Nutella (@NutellaGlobal) May 5, 2016
Nutella sells chocolate spreads, but in the above tweet, it has strawberries, pudding, and nuts! Everyone loves great food photography, and Nutella knows it.
So, the choco-spread brand leverages food photography to engage audiences.
Here are some takeaways from Nutella’s Twitter campaign that small businesses can use,
- You should use multiple channels, including Twitter, Instagram, and others.
- If you are a B2B business, that does not mean social media platforms like Instagram are not your thing!
- Engagement is the key to whichever platform you choose to engage with the audience.
- Identifying what clicks with your audience needs creative content
- The frequency of posts is also a crucial aspect of engagement.
4. Design a social calendar
Defining the social goals is the first step towards a successful campaign, as you need consistent content posted on each platform. However, it can get overwhelming if you don’t plan the social media posts well.
Imagine posting regularly on multiple platforms without planning the content! It will be like showing your magic in an empty theater. Yes, according to your audience and their preferable time of content consumption, you need to time the content publishing.
Take an example of the Crowdfire app’s social media post-scheduling feature. It allows you to schedule posts across platforms according to your social media marketing plans.
If you are planning the social media calendar, here are some of the essential tips to follow:
- Audit your social networks to check for outdated profiles, security, specific KPIs, and gaps in content
- According to the gaps, design the right content mix
- Map key data like platform preferences, time, dates, copy, visual requirements, and asset links.
- Plan your UTM parameters for appropriate link attribution
- Identify platform-specific format, geo-tagging need, and whether to go for paid or organic campaigns
- Label your content on the calendar with all the critical information for better categorization.
5. Identify what to post!
One of the most significant dilemmas for any business today is what to post for better engagement. This is why identifying the correct content type makes more sense. An example is Instagram, where sharing reels makes more noise than stories and regular posts.
“By integrating social media into your website, you not only increase the visibility of your brand but also provide a platform for customer engagement and interaction, helping to drive growth for your business.” — Says Wasim Charoliya, Head of Marketing @ Intelivita.
Creating Instagram graphics could be challenging, however, you can do multiple tests and compare the engagement of the posts. Similarly, Twitter can be an excellent platform for engaging discussion threads with the audience. Apart from the above content type, you can also use articles, ebooks, and other formats.
Have social sharing options on the website and allow your visitors to share their favorite content with others through social media platforms.
6. Create, post & track
The content creation process begins by identifying gaps, content type, and platform for which you are creating it. A process flow becomes critical if you are creating content for multiple platforms.
For example, if you want to post a video across Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and TikTok, the difference in platforms’ specific requirements becomes apparent.
So you need to plan the content and have a process that helps repurpose the content across social media channels.
Further, you can follow the following tips for content creation and distribution,
- Share your articles on social media.
- Track social shares and reach for each post for the entire blog series.
- Use tools like the Crowdfire app to visualize the performance of your posts through a centralized dashboard
- Monitor mention replies and likes across different social media platforms.
- Track users talking about your posts and giving valuable feedback
- Utilize free AI text generators to speed up the content creation process.
7. Engage with the audience
Engaging with the audience is vital to social media success, and you can leverage the platform-specific strategy. Nike knows how to do that precisely!
If you are playing a sport, you need good shoes, and Nike uses the same sentiment for their strategy. Nike regularly post sports content on their Twitter handle.
This is why you need to identify topics around your niche. In other words, when discussing different aspects of a niche, engagement boosts.
Let’s examine another example of social media engagement!
Spotify’s wrapped campaign allows users to share their listening statistics with friends and family. However, what makes it more interesting is how Spotify lets podcasters share their insights with the community.
Creating personalized, shareable creative content can improve engagement and boost conversions. Small businesses can leverage such strategies and improve ROI on their social media campaigns.
8. Use gamification
Asking your users to play a game may seem funny, but it works well for your digital marketing campaigns. Take a cue from the famous Mcdonald’s, who literally took the gamification approach by integrating ‘Monopoly’ into their app.
Though McD’s idea of integrating games into the app is excellent for a small business, you can incorporate the same strategy into social media.
Here are some tips to follow to improve social media ROI for small businesses with a gamification approach,
- Create a task-based approach where users need to complete a specific task for rewards
- Share a quiz or assessment that returns personalized feedback based on your expertise
- Let customers share all the progress of tasks on social media platforms
- Leverage hashtags specific to your gamification approach
- Offer rewards that are social media friendly
- Have live conversations on social media with winners and participants.
9. Integrate unique experiences
Business success requires enhanced customer experience. Every business knows this, and that is why we see massive investments in UI/UX improvements. But what if you can improve the customer experience through social media?
YouTube’s VR is a fine example of leveraging social media platforms for immersive experiences. It is a sub-application from the video platform that allows users to experience virtual reality across the platform. You can create content for such platforms and provide unique experiences for your audience.
10. Build a community
Building a community can be fruitful for your social media campaigns as it helps improve brand awareness. One of the most common examples of community-based social media campaigns is live events.
You can set up live product launches on social media platforms and improve community-based customer association.
Take an example of Oriflame’s #BeTheOne campaign. Oriflame India wanted to launch a new range of lipstick on the social media platform for direct selling to customers (you’ll also see people calling this technique “social selling”).
So, the beauty product brand ran a three-phase campaign across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Three phases for the social media campaign include teaser, launch, and sustenance. The idea was to ask women to try the new range of lipsticks and experiment with their looks.
It resulted in a 134% increase in engagement on Facebook, with more than 126 million impressions. Similarly, there was a 98% increase in engagement on Instagram and 6,400 retweets on Twitter.
11. Collaborate with influencers
Influencers are not just popular but also highly influential for audiences. A Google survey indicates that 4 in 10 consumers believe that influencers know them more than friends.
In other words, influencers have a more intimate relationship with their followers, which makes them highly influential.
So, there is no denying that collaborating with influencers can offer better engagement, brand awareness, and conversions. The best way to get optimal results is to collaborate with the influencers within your niche.
12. Keep up with the trend
More than 4.2 billion people use social media platforms, and keeping up with the ever-changing trends on such channels can get overwhelming.
So, what’s the way out?
Well, here are some of the tips that you can follow to create content according to the ongoing trends:
- Subscribe to trending blogs from influencers
- Follow Youtubers who create content based on the trends
- Listen to podcasts discussing upcoming trends and market predictions
- Look for Twitter trends specific to your niche.
- Have unique trending content slots in your calendar.
13. Leverage social analytics
Social media content performance is essential for small businesses. When you invest time, effort, and marketing talent behind social media campaigns, ROI comes first.
So, you need social media data analytics to understand the outcome of social media campaigns.
One of the key benefits of social analytics is insights into user behavior while they engage with your brand. For example, if your brand is a leading shoe manufacturer, knowing what type of shoe users prefer becomes critical.
While you are posting content on different shoe styles, which attracts more audience and has stronger impressions, it helps in strategizing products.
Social media analytics help identify which content, platform, and marketing strategy to click with the audience.
14. Organic+Paid method
A significant aspect of social media marketing for any small business is paid ads.
Social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others provide paid marketing features. A Statista research suggests that total social ad spending by brands will cross the $200 billion mark by 2024.
Though paid social media campaigns yield results, organic marketing has benefits. For example, user-generated content (UGC) helps businesses gain traction organically and improve engagement.
Make use of customer review tools to collect and display reviews to improve brand credibility. You can leverage both paid social ads with UGC to maximize results.
15. Practice listening
Listening to your customers always helps, whether it’s a retail outlet, an online eCommerce business, a subscription business, or even a social media platform.
Promoting the UGC on your social media profiles also allow you to encourage customers to post their feedback. You can track each feedback and adjust your strategies to improve customer reputation.
Social media platforms are also a great way to sense customer sentiment and improve products accordingly. This is why you need to plan and practice social media listening.
Social media is a powerful medium to communicate with your audience and engage them to generate leads and convert them.
Though without the right strategy and planning, small businesses may end up investing in campaigns that do not yield results.
The best way is to leverage data analytics and mold your social media strategies for maximum gains.
So, start identifying the right platforms and content type, create trending resources, post, track and generate more leads.