How to Use Social Media to Generate More Sales for Your Small Business
In today’s digital age, marketing and reaching potential customers with your products and services can be really challenging. Customer journey has changed from what it used to be. People now search for a local business from any place and at any time. And the number of devices with which they search the internet for information has also increased tremendously. We have the search engines, company websites, social media, and online reviews to guide them through their purchase journey. It is indeed a wonderful time for consumers.
People now spend a whole lot of their time on social media. Therefore, it has quickly become an integral part of customer journey. Social media now has a great influence on the decision of your prospective customers. That means as a small business owner looking to build a significant presence online, you will have to consider these platforms in your strategy.
In fact, more than half of social browsers say they use social media to research products and services they need. That means, creating a space for social media in your marketing strategy can make a huge impact on your overall success!
But how do you get started with social media for your small business? In this guide, we will show you how to leverage the power of social media to promote your business and achieve your goals. So keep reading to see where exactly you need to hit the nail with the harmer.
Social Media as a Powerful Tool for Small Businesses
More than ever before, social media has now become a powerful tool that plays a crucial role in the customer journey. Not only do people use it to ask for referrals and recommendations from their friends and family, consumers now compare businesses there before making a purchase. Many people only buy from a business that has established enough following on social media. So it’s crucial that small businesses have a presence on social media to attract more potential customers.
Interestingly, a good social media presence is not only something that gets noticed by users or customers on social media. Search engines like Google also see your activity on social media and use it to determine your authority in your chosen industry. Consistent activity and engagement present you as an industry expert and add credibility to your business in the eyes of search algorithms.
However, this doesn’t mean that social media is also no with its unique downsides. Survey says that for any business looking to build a positive brand experience on social media, it is essential that they pay special attention to providing impeccable customer service. This includes showing a high willingness to help customers – and help them as quickly as possible.
In fact, two out of three consumers expect that a company responds to their queries in less than 24 hours – whether they are commenting, sending a direct message, or leaving a review on such a business. And that has been one of the major challenges small businesses face when it comes to making the most significant impact with their marketing efforts on social media.
But when done right, social media can bring a lot of benefits to your business. From helping to increase brand awareness to building engaged communities and promoting your products and services, there is likely no better marketing platform that can produce the same result as social media.
With social media, reaching your targeted audience is also easier. Nevertheless, because of the kind of authority certain social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has built on the internet, search engines easily rank them higher on local search results when people go to look for your business.
That means having a significant social presence can also come as a great privilege to make a great first impression with a new customer even before such a customer has the chance to visit your website or see your Google My Business listing. So, if you would be sincere with yourself, what do you think a prospective customer would think of your business if they land on your profile on Facebook? You be the judge!
Understanding Social Media Marketing: a Closer Look Into the Vault
To get this straight, let’s quickly help you understand what social marketing is. According to an expert in the industry, social media marketing is creating content that is specifically tailored to match the context of the different social media platforms to drive user engagement on the platforms.
There are different social media platforms today that can help you drive engagement and conversion for your business. However, to make the most out of these different platforms, you will need to first understand what each of them is good at – their unique strengths and weaknesses. Although it is unnecessary to have a profile on all the social media platforms, doing so will help you achieve a greater social presence online.
So, let’s quickly take a look at the most common social media platforms and see what benefits your business can enjoy from each of them.
Facebook is arguable the largest social media platform on the planet today. In fact, the platform is quickly becoming a rival to Google when it comes to local searches. In order to position yourself and enjoy a fair share of local search results, you need to understand the role Facebook plays.
Facebook is a platform common among a wide range of audience, based on different demographics. People don’t only look to Facebook to only find products and services they need but also for news and current events. That is why every small or big business needs to have a substantial presence here to reach a wider audience with their business.
So how do you begin with Facebook? The first step is creating a business profile that will represent your business in the best possible way. Complete your profile by providing correct and accurate information about your business. This includes your business name, address, category, phone number, and website link.
You will also need to add a profile picture and cover picture to help you create a good impression with anyone that lands on the profile for the first time. Once your profile is up and complete, you will then have to make posts that resonate with your target audience.
In terms of the type of content you can make on Facebook, you have a wide range of options. If you like, you can make text posts or post images, videos, and links. It all depends on you and your audience type. That means before you can settle for any type of content on Facebook, you will need to first research your audience and know what content type and writing style will be best for them.
You will need to understand what they will like to see on your profile, whether pictures, informative blog posts, or casual, chatty posts about your work. Facebook also provides businesses with an analytic tool to help them better understand their audience. With it, you can know how your audience engages with your content and what time of the day your content is getting the most engagement. All these will help you know just how to reach your target audience with the right content.
Twitter is another social media platform that small businesses need to pay more attention to. This platform is more about in-the-moment updates and news. With this platform, you can regularly update your customers about what you are doing in real-time. However, Twitter can be overly distracting. You need to stand out to be able to catch the attention of your target audience as everything seems to be at a high speed on the platform.
To stand out from the crowd, focus on making every tweet you create meaningful and personal. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter doesn’t allow for long posts. You are limited to 280 characters to express your thought. So make the most of it. Limit the number of hashtags you use but organically incorporate the right hashtags to increase the visibility of your tweets and hence your business.
Monitor all mentions of your business and be committed to giving prompt responses to comments and complaints on your business. Twitter is a platform used by millions of users. You don’t want them to have a negative impression of your business. So learn how to manage complaints and negative comments as fast as you can before they do any damage to your reputation.
Lastly, while it is good to retweet relevant tweets, take it a step further by adding your own comments or media. That will help make such a tweet more personal and engaging to your audience.
YouTube is the most used search engine on the internet after Google. It is the go-to place for long-form video content. If you are looking to build a strong digital footprint, creating a YouTube channel is come as a supplement to nourish your goal. Gain more visibility online by opening a YouTube channel and upload your own content on it. You can then share these videos across other social media platforms to drive more engagement.
Creating and managing a YouTube is not as difficult as most people think. When uploading a video on your channel, make sure you use titles and thumbnails that will make the video quickly get noticed by your customers. Write a good description for your videos and include relevant keywords to increase their visibility.
One rule of thumb for creating videos to promote small businesses is to make multiple short videos on the same topic rather than doing a single long video on the topic. Keep your videos short, relevant, and sweet. You will be surprised how much engagement you would drive from such videos.
Don’t let anything hold you back. Don’t always strive for perfection with your videos. Users understand that sometimes you are making these videos on the go to connect with them, so they don’t expect them to be of TV standards. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritize quality in your videos.
Quality videos will better connect with your audience and help you achieve your goals. Just vary things up with your videos to make your channel a fun place to be.
Instagram is a bit different from other social media platforms in that it is solely dominated by photos and videos. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is a perfect place to be if your business is more of visuals. Do you run a restaurant or fashion line? You can’t just miss out on the perks that this platform offers.
To begin leveraging Instagram for your business growth, start by creating a business account. This kind of account has the upper hand over personal accounts because it allows you have access to additional features on the platform. And that definitely means you will be reaching and engaging with potential new customers than you would have with a personal account.
Instagram even makes it easier for you to achieve your goals on Instagram. It provides you with a wide range of features that are all geared towards better engagement with your audience. Some of them include your feed posts, reels, stories, live videos, and live Q&A.
When making posts on Instagram, take advantage of the relevant hashtags to increase visibility. Tag your location on every post and also follow hashtags relevant to your business. That will open you up to the opportunity of getting to meet and connect with potential customers on a broader scale.
Lastly, encourage more user-generated content on your profile by sharing and reposting your customers and followers posts. You need strong social proof on the platform to drive conversion and sales, and encouraging user-generated content is an effective way to make that happen.
LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok
Don’t just limit yourself to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, leverage the potentials of other social platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest. These platforms are also valuable when it comes to building a meaningful online presence. Let’s take them one after the other to see what each platform offers.
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. With this platform, you can easily network with industry-relevant partners out there and build a relationship that will foster your company’s growth. If you are also trying to get the best hands on your team, LinkedIn is a valuable platform for recruiting and hiring employees that will be committed to your progress.
Pinterest is more of a photo platform than any other social platform. Similar to Instagram, Pinterest allows you to share quality photos of your business with your audience. If you have some before-and-after photos you think your audience should see, Pinterest will make a great platform to showcase them. The platform also works well for infographics, quotes, and short videos too. Just remember to add a good description to your pins to make your audience want to learn more, clicking through to your website. That’s a good way to earn free, high-quality traffic to your website too.
TikTok is also a social media platform that you cannot ignore in the present age. Every day, the platform increases in the number of users, and many business owners and influencers are taking advantage of it. TikTok is designed to share short, fun, and playful videos with your audience.
But you need to be creative with your videos so you can still show some educational twists in your videos without making it boring or less fun than what your audience could get from your competitors on the platform.
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is owned by Google, and so offers a great and effective way to connect and engage with your ideal customers. With a well-optimized GMB listing, your business will stand a chance to be ranked high in the number one search engine on the planet – Google.
You don’t have to lose your head trying to get your business all set up on this platform. With just complete information on your listing, you are good to go. So first, claim your listing on GMB, then complete your profile by supplying such information as your business name, address, phone number, business hours, products or services, areas you serve, etc.
Another thing that matters to your GMB listing is the reviews on the page. Reviews help you earn more credibility and give you a better chance to be ranked on search results and Google Maps for relevant searches. So, encourage your customers to leave reviews for you on the platform.
You may need to be more intentional about this because most customers won’t give you reviews even after having a wonderful experience with your business. So ask for reviews and even offer incentives to encourage them to leave reviews for you.
However, just getting reviews is not enough; you will also need to make it a point of duty to respond to every review posted on your listing – whether it is positive or negative. This will help your customers know that you truly care about them and value their opinion about your business.
What more? Google My Business Posts. These are posts you publish on your GMB page to drive more engagements and sales. So if you have a special offer, community events, or company updates, GMB post is a perfect place to let your existing and potential customers know about it.
If you run a local business, you will not want to miss out on quality leads in your local area. Then, you need to get yourself on Nextdoor. It is an online community that allows you to easily connect with people in your immediate local area. Once you have a Nextdoor business profile and you’ve verified it, start engaging in conversations and offer your assistance to people in your community. Don’t be too ‘salesy’ with your approach. Instead, let the people in the community see you as someone who truly cares about them. That way, it will be easier for you to engage them and make them recommend your business to people in the neighborhood.
6 Important Factors for Achieving Success with Your Social Media Strategy
It is not enough to have a social media strategy. You want to make sure you achieve the best result from it – whether it is helping to increase website traffic, foot traffic, or conversion. So for you to build an effective social media strategy that will help take your small business to the next level, below are some factors you will need to focus on.
1: An effective strategy
This is one of the few things you need to prioritize in your social media strategy. You shouldn’t even set out without a strategy. First, consider what you are looking to achieve with your social media presence. Then device a strategy to achieve the goal. Common goals may include building brand awareness, generating more sales, driving more web traffic, or establishing an active digital footprint.
When you can establish what your goal is, you will be able to know which social media platform will best help you achieve the goal. Concentrate on such platforms and give it your best instead of trying to engage on every platform.
When you identify the right platforms for your business, you will need to be consistent with engaging your audience. Put together a calendar of content you will be sharing on your profiles to make the job easier for you. At the same time, you can leverage some social media post scheduling tools to help prevent spending many hours daily trying to update your social profiles with fresh content.
2: A unique brand identity
You don’t have to be reminded that branding plays a crucial role in helping to build a substantial digital footprint. So regardless of the platforms you have chosen to promote and grow presence for your business, strive to build a unique brand identity. This may include having your company’s logo as your profile picture and a cover photo that shows your team in action.
It will also involve having your business name and description across all the social platforms you are found. Maintain a consistent color scheme across the platforms and add important information about your business. This may include your location, phone number, and website URL. However, make sure this information is the same across all the platforms.
Work on having an effective voice that speaks directly to your audience and keeps them hooked to your feed. Branding is all about capturing the attention of your audience in the best possible way. So do it well.
3: Engaging content
Identify the type of content that resonates best with your target audience and work on providing high-quality content in that line. Whenever possible, leverage visuals to attract their attention. Videos and infographics effectively grab people’s attention on social media, so work them into your content strategy.
You can use free tools like Canva to produce high-quality images if you think that is what your audience would love to see. Master the art of storytelling and use it to pass your message across any time you post. Also, don’t just focus on one content type. Instead, vary things up. Mix your posts between regular texts, sharable photos, engaging videos, inspiring quotes, and questions for your audience. This is a better way to drive engagement on your social media channels.
Identify the pain points of your target audience and let create content that addresses it.
Social media is created solely to foster communication and interaction. If you are not getting your audience to interact with your content, then you are not doing enough, and you may not get the best result from your social media marketing efforts. So instead of just pushing content to your audience, learn to engage them in conversation.
Find a means of getting to interact with both your existing and potential customers. An excellent way to do that is to set up polls and ask them open-ended questions. However, you will have to stay committed to responding to every answer and comment that comes from your polls.
If it can be measured, it can be monitored and improved upon. The best way to achieve amazing results from your social media marketing effort is to be able to measure your performance. It will help you make informed decisions about what is the next step to take in achieving your goals.
So regularly sit down and analyze your performance. Are you getting enough engagement from your posts? Are your audience sharing your posts? Does it look like you are on the wrong platform? All these will help you better optimize your strategy for the best result.
On the other hand, also take time to analyze your competitors. See what they are doing right and think of a way to incorporate that into your culture too. Some social media platforms even provide you with analytics tools to help you track your performance on the platform. Pay attention to it to better understand your audience and strategize correctly.
6: Smart automation
You don’t have to lose your head trying to manage several social media platforms simultaneously. Having to post fresh and quality content on multiple accounts daily can be very stressful. But you can streamline things by automating most of your tasks. Automation will help you work faster, smarter, and more effectively. So get the right tools to do the right job for you.
There are tools that can aid content creation, scheduling, brand mentions, comments, etc. get these tools sonboard and save yourself some precious time. Think of a way to make your life much easier as a small business owner while still being productive with your social media marketing efforts.
If done right, social media can be a great way to generate qualified leads for your small business. You can leverage the different tools and resources offered by the different social media platforms to position your products or services before your target audience on Social Media. You can promote your small business using a robust content marketing strategy and targeted ads. Soon, you will start filling up your sales pipeline with quality prospects and increase your revenue.