Social media strategy has become a staple for modern-day marketing. This has developed as companies realize the long-term value of inbound marketing efforts that don’t necessarily have a measurable financial impact or obvious ROI. However, using social media isn’t a tactic that is reserved for big businesses that can afford to invest in marketing without a direct dividend.
Just because you have a small team and don’t have a set community manager or digital media department doesn’t mean you have to miss out on social media’s benefits. Check out these five key strategies that small-to-medium sized businesses can employ to achieve social media success.
Choose a Platform
One of the first decisions a small business needs to make in terms of social media is which platform it will focus on. Many companies feel the need to develop a presence on every platform, which is a great strategy if you have the resources; the reality is that most companies don’t.
In order to get the most bang for your buck you need to limit yourself to one platform and build a strong presence there. Using one platform regularly is better than neglecting four or five accounts.
For most companies, your best bet is Facebook. Facebook caters to a wide demographic and offers a lot of freedom in terms of content creation. B2B marketers will want to focus on LinkedIn, and other companies might find that their target audience uses Twitter. The key is to find out where your audience is and focus your energies there.
Develop a Website
Your website is an important base from which you can launch a social media campaign. If you are an e-commerce business, you’ll want to be able to direct traffic back to your site in order to boost sales. The same goes for businesses that offer services online.
You’ll should use your website to give people the most value possible without much hassle. This means fast loading times, useful content on every page and a smooth user experience.
Essentially, you’re creating a new experience that is unlimited by the constraints of your main website. This new property allows you to make customizations specifically for a campaign, such as a fundraising/charity event, a branding campaign with gamification elements, or a user-submission site for sharing photos.
Help People With Your Content
One of the best ways to build relationships and to create rapport with potential customers is to help them with any issues they have. By posting useful and informational content, you are offering people something valuable before they’ve even done business with you.
Posting useful content on social media will get conversations started with people and get them in the habit of receiving something helpful from your company.
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Additionally, users often put a lot of trust in peer reviews. It’s not that difficult for a small business to create a testimonial portal. For example, an Amish family run business, Country Lane Furniture, has a share your experience page where customers can upload their testimonials. This is your ordinary contact form, simply designed as a testimonial portal.
An important example of a small business tapping into their expertise as a content outlet is RSC, a HVAC business. They created a blog section where content includes tips about home humidity, air conditioning advice, and heating. Their blog is gradually growing, which shows they recognize content as a valuable asset. However, this example also shows it’s not as simple as “upload and reap the rewards.” Promotion and consistency are two huge obstacles to blogging that many small businesses – or any blog set up – must tackle. Keep that in mind and plan out content weeks in advance so you never run dry. Have employees contribute once or twice a month so you get a variety of consistent content.
Develop a Consistent Presence
A good social media strategy involves posting content in a consistent manner. This means researching when your content will receive the most engagement and creating a schedule to post during those times. If your audience is online in the morning, you should create a content schedule to share one or two posts every day before noon. The same strategy goes for businesses with an audience that prefers to use social media on weekends.
The key is to find out when potential customers are active on your chosen platform and to prepare content for those time periods.
Respond to Feedback
The whole point of social media is to offer an avenue for people to communicate and have conversations. If your company is posting content and not responding to comments or questions, you’re missing out on valuable conversations.
Answering questions and thanking people for positive feedback is a way to build relationships with potential customers. On the other hand, negative feedback is an opportunity to demonstrate your company’s willingness to help people and understand their dilemmas. Regardless of the type of feedback you receive, it is important to develop a dialogue with potential customers and to help them make a connection with your brand.
Social media is a tool that small businesses can benefit from greatly if they use it properly. Use the aforementioned tips and strategies in order to get the most from the resources you allocate to social media marketing.
Note: This post is a guest post from a member of our DMR Insider Community.
Image Credit: David Wilson via flickr