How to Utilize Social Media for Business Growth

According to Statistica, the number of worldwide users on social media is projected to hit a whopping 3.02 billion active users per month by 2021. That’s one-third of the world’s entire population! So, it’s obvious that social media, more and more, is engaging the majority of the world’s citizenry.

Social media is one of the best ways to connect with fans and potential customers. If you don’t have a presence on the main networks, you’re missing out on an audience that’s ready and willing to connect with your brand. Using these simple social media marketing tips, businesses of any size can reach new markets, build awareness, and drive sales.

Start with a plan

Every good business strategy starts with a good plan. Social media marketing for small business is no different. Since it’s so easy to use and you can get started with organic posts for free, it might be tempting to dive in and just start posting.

But without a solid plan, you have no way of knowing what you’re trying to achieve with your social media posts, and no way to measure whether you get there.

Taking the time to create a social media plan right upfront will ensure that all your social efforts support specific business goals.

Create a social media calendar

A social media calendar helps you post the right content to the right social channels at the right time. It should include a plan for your content mix.

Try starting with the 80-20 rule: Use 80 percent of your content to inform, educate, or entertain your audience and 20 percent to promote your brand or sell your products.

Set social media goals and objectives

Create goals that follow the SMART framework—they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Base your goals on metrics that will have a real impact on your business, like acquiring customers or raising your conversions rate, rather than simply racking up likes.

Conduct a social media audit

If you’re already using social media, now’s the time to take a step back and evaluate what you’ve done so far. As part of your audit, you’ll also look for impostor accounts that may be stealing your audience’ attention.

Research the competition

It is quite important to find out what your competition is up to on social media. While you don’t want to copy them, learning from what others have done is a great way to reduce your learning curve.

A competitive analysis and some social listening strategies can give you insight into what’s working and what’s not for other businesses like yours.

Find inspiration

After you have had a look at what your competitors are doing online, ensure you also check out other businesses. Take inspiration from the success of small business in all industries.

Decide which platforms are right for you

Don’t make assumptions about where your audience spends their time online. Your instinct might tell you that you should skip Facebook and focus on Instagram and Snapchat if you’re targeting millennials, but the data shows that 82 percent of millennials still use Facebook.

Build relationships

The unique benefit of social media compared to other marketing channels is that it allows you to talk directly to customers and followers. You can build relationships over time, rather than asking for a sale right up front.

That’s one reason why 93 percent of people who follow small- and medium-sized business on Twitter plan to purchase from the SMBs they follow, according to a report from Twitter and Research Now.

When people engage with your organic content or ads, you can jump in and reply, helping to build trust and form the early stages of a rewarding customer relationship.

Focus on quality over quantity

The sheer number of social media marketing options for small business might seem overwhelming, but you don’t need to do it all. It’s much more important to create quality content on a couple of key channels where you can really connect with your audience than it is to have a presence on every single social network.

Also, ensure that your social posts offer value.

Use the right tools

The secret to effective social media use is to take advantage of tools that automate or simplify much of the work. There are loads of tools to help boost your productivity so you can take make great use of social media marketing for your small business without having a full-scale social media team.

Track and refine your performance

As you implement your social strategy, it’s important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t so you can fine-tune your efforts and improve your results.

This gives you a great picture of your social efforts and can help you track whichever metrics matter the most to you.

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