Social media is perhaps the most impactful medium in the history of business marketing. Radio and TV made it where an advertiser could reach millions of consumers at once, but social media one-ups that by allowing only the actual customers to be targeted – not just focused, but actively engaged with tailored content.
1. Pick the Right Social Media Platform
Different consumer demographics will drift to various social media platforms. Figure out where your customers are, and go there. Tailor your branding message to fit in there both in tone and format. i.e., no breaking up long product descriptions across multiple tweets.
One major mistake to avoid is trying to be a player in all social media arenas. Stick with the main one your customers use, and become a master at it. Trying to be on all of them would eat up too much time and water down your message. There will always be a few outliers who aren’t into the same social media platform your customer base. Don’t worry about it.
2. Be Ready to Pay Up
The days where a small business could drop a post, and it gets shared organically among a broad swath of potential customers for free are long over. Facebook nixed that years ago. Other platforms like Instagram are starting to do the same thing.
If you want a post to reach a large number of customers, get ready to pay. The good news is that the cost is still relatively low, and experimenting with boosting posts isn’t a huge risk. It also scales easily for when you are ready to expand.
3. Give Consumers Value
People are experts at ignoring ads on the internet, which means if all your business posts are generic ads, your customers will ignore them no matter how much they are boosted. Give customers something they can use. It could be coupons or notifications of limited time specials or deals.
Another example of value in content is information. A landscaping company could post daily gardening and lawn care tips or tell customers what the best thing to do with their plants is during severe weather.
4. Don’t Spam Social Media
People hate spam so much that they will unfollow a brand they love with a passion if they feel their feed is getting spammed. Spamming a new post every hour is easy to do by accident. Bots and automated posting options in the hands of an overenthusiastic business owner is a dangerous thing.
Think of the Golden Rule. If you wouldn’t like seeing that many posts from a business you like, then your customers won’t want to look at your business make so many posts.
5. Stay on Top of Trends
None of the social media platforms are static. It seems like Facebook tweaks its algorithms every other week, and scandals can cause a massive decline in users. And on any given day, a new platform could launch that would literally change everything. Make sure you keep up with changes the platform you use makes, and what new platforms are doing.
6. Immediately Address Complaints
One of the best things about social media for businesses is that it provides a direct way of communicating with customers. One particularly useful way social media can be leveraged is for addressing customer complaints. Customers who feel their complaint was resolved fairly become more loyal.
Rebuttals to bad reviews can be tricky since no business wants to be seen calling a customer a liar. That said, social media provides an excellent online platform to address frivolous complaints or allow the occasional customer from hell to show their true colors to everyone, and let the sane ones know that whatever the issue was, it wasn’t your business’s fault.
7. Embrace Analytics
Social media platforms want your posts to be successful so that you will keep paying to boost them. To help this along, they provide analytics that shows which posts generated the most engagement by what people, and what content is the most popular.
Go over your analytics every day to fine tune your message, and adapt your strategy. Even something small like specialized Facebook cover photos for holidays and special events can be substantial sale drivers.
Social media allows a business owner to run and manage a marketing campaign from a smartphone that has a more effective reach than a radio or TV spot, but for a fraction of the cost. Of course, the trick is to use social media the right way so that it’s useful and not a waste of time that customers scroll by without noticing.