Creating a solid social media plan for small businesses takes a lot of planning. Social media success is possible with a bit of planning.
The US’s social media usage has increased from 7% to 65% over the past ten years.
Businesses can’t ignore social media because of consumers’ rapid adoption of platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You have so many opportunities to reach potential customers.
But How To Use Social Media For Small Business?
People spend, on average, creating Facebook Pages for your business. Post on Instagram. Establish a presence on Twitter.
Be careful before you jump on your feet. Every good business strategy begins with a plan. You can still use social media tools free of charge. However, the effort and time required to use social tools are still investments in your company.
Without a plan, you don’t have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. This means that you won’t know if your investment is paying off.
Create a social media strategy before you start. This will ensure that all social media efforts are directed at specific business goals.
These are social media strategies from our guide for creating a social marketing plan.
Social Media Goals And Objectives
Make sure your goals follow the SMART framework. They should be precise, specific, measurable, and attainable.
Goals should be based on metrics that have an actual impact on your business. You could, for example, aim to attract customers or increase your conversion rate rather than just racking up likes.
Examine the competition
What are your competitors’ social media strategies? Although you shouldn’t copy their actions, it is an excellent way of learning from others.
A competitive analysis will help you determine what is working for businesses like yours.
Do a social media audit.
If you are already using social media, it’s time to step back and assess your current efforts.
To help you get started, we have a social media audit template.
While you’ve seen what your competitors do online, what about other businesses? Learn from the success stories of companies across all industries.
These success stories can be found wherever you look. You can find helpful case studies on most social networking websites by going to the business section.
The blog is a great place to get inspiration. We always provide lots of examples. Pay attention to the work of your favorite brands. What is appealing to you?
Create a social media calendar
A social media schedule allows you to post the right content to the proper channels at a specific time. You should also include a plan to mix your content.
Start with the 80-20 rule. Your content should be 80% for information, education, and entertainment. The remaining 20% can be used to promote your brand and sell your products.
Choose The Right Platforms For You
Please do not assume your audience will spend their time online.
You might instinctively tell yourself to focus on Instagram and TikTok if you are targeting Gen Z. data shows nearly 25% of Facebook users are between 18 and 24 years old.
Social media might not be a priority if you sell to baby boomers. It should be. Boomers are most likely to use Pinterest and Facebook as their social media platforms. The fastest-growing segment of Facebook’s audience is the 65+ age group.
Perhaps TikTok advertising isn’t the right fit for your brand. Even established brands with a large audience outside of Gen Z are trying this platform.
Remember that TikTok had 56 million app downloads in December 2020.
We have compiled demographic data for all major social networks. You can use it to determine where your audience is spending their time online. These demographics are only a snapshot.
You will need to research on your own to ensure that you are using social media effectively for business. This will allow you to identify your audience’s online habits.
You don’t need to choose all platforms. Different social media channels can reach different audiences or achieve different business goals.
An average internet user has 8.4 Social Media Accounts. This allows them to connect on different platforms and for different purposes.
You could, for example, use Facebook to grow your audience and get leads, while Twitter can be used for customer service.
Know Your Audience
Micro-targeting your audience is one of the reasons social media is so powerful for businesses. First, you must understand your audience.
Start by gathering data about your customers. Next, use social media analytics to understand your customers better. Soon, you’ll be able to identify who is buying from you and how they interact with you online.
Hootsuite Analytics Powered by Brandwatch will help you find detailed information such as top hashtags, referral websites, and even specific social author terms relevant to your business.
Once you have defined your audience, it is possible to create buyer personas. This will allow you to understand how to best speak to them. To help you get started, we have a free buyer personality template.
Expand Your Audience
Once you know your audience, it’s time to revisit your social media strategy. You can now look for new ways to reach people like them.
To expand its reach quickly, The Great Courses Plus changed its Facebook advertising strategy when more people looked for ways to entertain themselves at home.
They offered a free extended trial and promoted it to a broad audience in the United States. They used lookalike audiences to reach new audiences in Australia, Canada, and the UK. These audiences were similar to their existing customers.
The increased audience strategy resulted in more than a 10x increase in monthly subscriptions.
Social media can be used to increase your local business’s reach. Hootsuite geo search streams can help you monitor and respond locally to conversations about your business. This allows you to reach potential customers in your local area.
Social media marketing is a great way to connect with customers and others. Instead of asking for a sale immediately, you can build relationships.
However, social media can be used to make a sale immediately, as shown in Tip 7.
Social networks are used by more than 44% of internet users to search for brands. Discovering who you are and what you stand behind as a brand is essential.
It’s great to engage with people who have engaged with your ads or organic content. This builds trust and a loyal following. You will see your content rise in the social algorithm as fans like and share it. This will allow you to gain free exposure.
Most Facebook users have more than 1000 potential Newsfeed posts at a time. Facebook uses engagement to predict which posts users will see. Your followers are more likely to view your posts if you have built relationships with them.
You can also build loyal communities that will result in ongoing sales by nurturing relationships. While new customer acquisition is essential, don’t underestimate the importance of customer retention.
According to Hootsuite’s social transformation survey, 69% of respondents stated that social media had helped them maintain customer relationships in the new marketing era of COVID-19. According to Twitter data, 70% of people believe it’s vital for bands to promote positivity in this time.
How can you build relationships beyond just responding to comments on posts by your followers? These strategies might work:
Make a Facebook Group
Facebook groups are another way to build community and brand loyalty and connect with your customers.
The New York Times Podcast club Facebook group, for example, is “a book club for podcasts.” It has more than 37,000 members and establishes NYT as the go-to source of information beyond breaking news.
It encourages members to listen weekly to selected podcasts, which helps avoid listener drop-off.
Get connected to other entrepreneurs and influential people in your niche.
Do you think your business is too tiny for influencers? Nano-influencers with as few as 1,000 followers can help build brand trust.
They are also often within the budget of smaller brands.
Lively, a lingerie brand, partnered with influential people, some with a limited following, to promote its bralettes and skincare products.
Analytics-based testing revealed that ads created by influencers were 75% more likely to convert than those promoted from their profiles. The company also saw a 50% increase in return on ad spending.
In your Stories and posts, mention followers.
You can source high-quality content for your social media feed by collecting user-generated content via contests or branded tags. UGC can also be a great source of social proof.
Sharing your followers’ content on social media channels and tagging them helps you build relationships with your most loyal fans.
You’ll receive a notification in your direct mails if a fan tags a photo of you in an Instagram story. It’s a win-win situation, so make sure you reshare.
Make use of the interactive tools built into social platforms.
There are many ways to create specific interactions with your followers, from Instagram polls to interactive stickers on Instagram Stories.
For example, Panera Bread launched a relationship-building campaign this summer to draw attention to its new coffee subscription. They promised free coffee to those who voted yes in their Twitter poll.
More than 588,000 people responded to the poll.
Kelli Nicholson, Panera Bread’s Director for Brand Marketing, stated, “We are a brand built on strong 1:1 relationships and our customers.” Twitter was her explanation that the campaign was a way to assess whether customers would enjoy the coffee subscription program.
Be Aware Of Trends
It is crucial to keep an eye on trends in Social Media so that you can understand what people want when they log into their social media channels. This will help you create relevant content that has been popular over time.
State Farm Insurance has an ongoing Pinterest campaign that provides informative content about significant life events like having children or buying a vehicle. These moments are likely to impact insurance needs, so it is a natural fit that has enabled State Farm insurance to connect with millennials and Gen X.
Road trips became a hot topic in online research last spring as travel evolved from being a global affair to a more local experience. State Farm has created a series of Pins about road trips and how they help protect customers during uncertain times.
These are the top five reasons that people use social media today:
- Stay up-to-date on current news and events
- Find funny and entertaining content
- To fill up your spare time
- To keep in touch with friends
- To share photos and videos with others
- Always keep your audience’s current needs in mind. It might not be the same thing that worked last year.
- Social listening can be a valuable tool for gathering information. It helps you understand your potential audience and what they might like to hear about your brand.
- This is one of the reasons why two-thirds (or more) of respondents to the Hootsuite Social Media Trends Survey believe that social listening will increase in value in 2020.
- This guide will show you how to use social listening for your business.
Social Commerce Allows You To Sell Your Stuff
In recent years, social media marketing has expanded to include social commerce. This allows you to sell products via social channels. The business sector is flourishing, with a global market worth $89.4billion by 2020.
18.3% of adults in the United States had purchased through Facebook by June 2020. Another 11.1% purchased via Instagram.
Social shopping tools are now available to help you sell products and services without having a website.
In individual posts, we explain how to use Instagram Shopping and buy with Facebook Shops. We also discuss the best ways to use Instagram Live Shopping.
Mix And Match Your Formats
It would help if you changed your social media formats from time to time. A JPG is a better choice if you are accustomed to posting GIFs. You can also use a video if you usually post still images.
You can also take advantage of the various formats available on each social network, such as Stories Reels or Live video.
This helps you determine which formats are best for different content types (more details below).
The conventional wisdom says that images are better than posts without images. Hootsuite recently ran an experiment that plain text tweets performed better than those with images or GIFs.
This is not what happened a few years ago. Hootsuite wouldn’t have made this discovery if every Tweet had an image.
Another reason to avoid falling into a rut is that the Facebook algorithm uses content type diversity to ensure that a person’s newsfeed has various content types. Your content may be more popular if you change your formats.
Stock photo sites can be a great resource for high-quality images that you can use in your social media posts. Don’t use random images you find online. This is not acceptable and could land you in serious trouble.
Make sure that all of your posts are inclusive. Make sure you include your audience in all images.
Quality over quantity
Although the sheer amount of social media options available to small businesses may seem overwhelming, you don’t have to use them all. It is more important to produce quality content on just a few channels than present it on every network.
Make sure your posts are valuable. People won’t follow you if you only pitch and sell. Social marketing is all about building relationships.
Be human. Be honest. Great content is what you should be doing. You can’t fake this.
It’s impossible to do everything, so there’s no need to. Reach out to your audience where they are already online.
You should focus on one or two social media channels to get started. Once you have those down, you can expand on your knowledge and build upon your learnings.
Make Sure You Have The Right Tools
Social media can be used effectively using tools that automate and simplify many tasks.
Many tools can help you increase your productivity. This means that you don’t need a large social media team to start using social media in your business.
These are our top picks.
Management of engagement
Social media isn’t a broadcasting platform. It’s a way for customers and fans to interact with you.
Social media management tools such as Hootsuite allow you to centralize all messages and mentions directed at your company from one place. You can then respond to and engage on all social media platforms without needing to log in individually.
You can better understand your social activities by combining all your analytics data into one place.
Hootsuite Analytics powered by Brandwatch gives you a great overview of how well your space captures the conversation. Hootsuite analytics lets you create detailed reports about your performance across all social channels.
You don’t have to struggle to create striking images for your posts. Some tools can help.
VSCO and A Colour Story are two of our favorite photo-editing tools. More photo-editing tools can be found in our How to Edit Instagram Photos post.
Curation of content
Finding new content to share can be difficult. Content curation can help. It is the art of sharing high-quality posts from others (with credit where possible).
This can be a great way to offer value to your followers and keep them interested. Tools such as BuzzSumo or Pocket will help you organize and find content to share. Our beginner’s guide for content curation contains more information.
Automate and Schedule To Make Engagement Easier
At the beginning of this article, we discussed creating a social media content calendar.
Once you have your calendar set up, you can start creating social posts ahead of time and then use scheduling tools such as Hootsuite for them to be posted automatically at the correct time.
This allows you to set aside a block of time each day or week to create your social content. This is much better than letting social media posting distract you from other tasks throughout your day.
Automation tools such as chatbots can help you reduce your time on social media marketing.
You Can Track And Improve Your Performance
It’s crucial to track what works and what doesn’t when implementing your social strategy. This will allow you to fine-tune and improve your efforts.
These analytics tools give you a clear picture of your social activities and help you track the metrics that matter to you.
Once you know how your strategy works, it is time to look for ways to improve. You can make small improvements that will increase your success over time by using A/B testing.
Newsome Interactive LLC, a land-development advertiser, tested to determine that “Learn More” was the most effective call to action in their Facebook ads that clicked through Messenger.
It wasn’t that “Learn More” generated the most clicks. It best enabled people to complete a chat sequence and fill out a contact form so Newsome could gather qualified leads.
“Chat Now” allowed people to ask specific questions or leave the chat before the session was over.
Social tools are great for any business size. They can connect you with your customers and help increase your brand awareness. Start small if the possibilities seem overwhelming.
Find what works and expand your reach. Social media is great for small businesses because you can use it in any way that makes sense for your company and your budget.