Want to use social media for business?
Social media has become one of the best ways for businesses to reach and engage their target audiences. Business owners that are not currently using social media for business may be missing out on a powerful opportunity to reach new leads and grow their business.
According to Pew Research, 70% of consumers use social media, and for many users, visiting their favorite social media sites has become a part of their daily routine. In fact, about 69% of Facebook users will visit the site at least once a day. This presents an excellent business opportunity for brands to use social media for business and increase engagement with their target audience.
Below, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide for creating a social media strategy for your small business. From choosing the best platforms to engaging and converting your audience on different social channels, our guide to using social media for business gives you all the information you’ll need to get started.
Phase 1: Select the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business
The first step of successfully using social media for business is selecting the best social media channels for your company. Though you may feel like it’s best to try to be everywhere at once, the truth is that most businesses do not have the time or the resources to be active on every social media network.
Luckily, you don’t have to be on every social media channel to effectively connect with leads and customers. You just have to be on the platforms where your target audience is spending their time. Below, we’ll discuss each social media channel to help you better understand which might work best for your business.
With 2.41 billion monthly active users as of 2019’s 2nd quarter, Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide making it a great place for businesses to expand their reach online. Not only does Facebook have a lot of users, but their users also represent a wide range of demographics, which makes this platform suitable for businesses from different industries with a variety of different audiences. Facebook also has a powerful advertising platform with sophisticated targeting features that can help brands deliver relevant content to the users who are most likely to be interested in their products.
With a large and diverse user base, Instagram is definitely at the top of our list when using social media for business. It is a great platform that can be a strong channel for all types of businesses. This platform works the best for brands that have a product or service that lends well to images and video. It can also be a great space for companies from niche industries like photography, food, travel, fashion, or other industries that rely on visual content to tell their story. (For more helpful hints, check out our post on Instagram Marketing Tips.)
Twitter is one of the best social media platforms for small businesses that want to expand their reach online and build a following. Though this channel has less users than Facebook, the fast-paced nature of Twitter makes it a great platform when posting recent news and updates, having real-time conversations with your followers, and sharing interesting and relevant content that your followers will enjoy and find valuable. Using relevant hashtags can also help you reach new audiences and jump on trending topics that are relevant to your business.
Pinterest has more of a niche following than some of the other social channels, with many of its users being women with higher income. Some of the most popular content on the site is geared toward do-it-yourself home improvement and craft projects as well as recipes, beauty advice, exercise tips, and fashion. If your business sells products or services related to these categories, and you’re using social media for business, then you may find that Pinterest is an effective marketing channel for you.
LinkedIn is a great social media business platform in the B2B solutions industry. This social channel makes it easy to connect with business professionals that may be in the market for your company’s products or services. B2B brands can use LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities to find professionals in specific industries or with specific job titles for strategic networking.
And recently, LinkedIn now uses your customer persona (with data from LinkedIn) to look for your target market. It searches users whose activity has shown interest in your company. For instance, the users who searched for your profile or clicked your website.
Phase 2: Grow Your Awareness on Social Media Platforms
Once you’ve chosen the best social media platform best for your business, it’s time to grow your audience on each of these channels. Below, we’ll discuss both the organic and paid channels that you can use to grow your audience and connect with more potential customers. This is the most important step of using social media for business.
Leverage your current marketing channels to promote your social media pages.
A great place to start increasing your follower base organically is to leverage your current marketing channels. There’s a good chance that those who are connected to your company are interested in your updates and offers. But how do you let them know that you’ve got social media profiles that they can follow and engage with?
One way is to make sure that there are social media buttons on your website that links directly to your social profiles. That way, when consumers are visiting your site, they can click on the buttons to head straight to your social pages. You can also place social media buttons in any email marketing you send or in the email signatures for your team. Add a short and sweet call-to-action like, “Follow us on social.” This notifies those who interact with your brand through email that they can also reach you on social media as well.
Another way is to include social media links in your emails. Create incentives in your emails to convert your email list into new social media followers. Add social media icons to every email blast that you send. This can dramatically improve your success when using social media for business.
Even if you are using traditional forms of advertising, like print, radio, and television. Make sure that you create call-to-actions for people to follow you on social media. When using social media for business, you must leverage all of your current marketing channels to increase your audience.
Follow others on social media.
Once you have reached out to your current customers and invited them to follow you on social media, it’s time to find ways to expand your audience by reaching new users. One way to do this is by following and interacting with other users on different social media pages. Look for different users that share interests that correspond to your brand offering and follow them.
After you have started to follow a group of potential leads, you’ll want to engage with their content and start a conversation. Whether you are “liking” their Facebook posts, re-tweeting their content, or commenting on their activity, this can be a great way to start building relationships with new users on social media.
Use hashtags to reach new audiences.
Hashtags are a valuable tool for reaching new audiences that may be interested in your products or services. This feature allows you to tag your social media content with categories or topics that are relevant to what you’re posting. When users go on the social media channel to search for these topics, they will see your content on their feed. This helps you reach new audiences who are showing an interest in the topics and concerns that are relevant to your company’s product or service offering.
Using hashtags is also a great way to take advantage of trending topics in your industry. For instance, if there is a conference that your company will be attending, you can use the conference hashtags to join in the conversation and meet new individuals who might be interested in your products or services. Since many interested users will be following the hashtag closely, they are more likely to see your content and take an interest in your social media presence.
Interact with influencers.
Another way that you can work to grow your audience is by building relationships with influencers in your industry. Do a little research to find out which individuals are popular in your space. These people will have a significant social media following with active users who look to them for the latest news, trends, and advice on topics within the industry. Once you have found the influencers in your space, reach out to them and work to build relationships.
After you have established a relationship with influencers, there are many ways that you can work with these individuals to grow your own social media audience. One way is to get the influencer to review your products or services in exchange for free samples or a trial. Another way is to simply ask these influencers to share your brand’s content on their social media pages.
On a recent update, Instagram now allows users to turn their influencer-sponsored post into an ad. In addition to this, they can add a notation that states, “Paid partnership with (your brand)”. This feature will allow companies to set up an ad targeting for these posts to gain maximum reach.
Hold a social media contest.
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Who doesn’t love to win free stuff? Holding a contest on different social media channels is a great way to build your audience. You can tailor the rules and submission details to the social platform you’re using. However, you should make sure that you include following your social media page as one of the contest participation rules to boost your following and stay connected with participants long after the contest has finished.
To get the most out of your social media contest, you might ask users to submit their own content that showcases your products or services. This not only gives your company more quality content to use and share across your social media profiles, but it also helps show those who are not yet familiar with your brand just how valuable your offering is.
Use advertising to increase followers.
In addition to using the organic methods discussed above to increase your follower base, you can also use advertising to expand your reach and gain more followers. Social media platforms like Facebook offer effective targeting options that allow you to deliver targeted content to the social media users that are most likely to be interested in your brand and what you have to offer.
When creating ads to increase followers, you need to think carefully about the offering that you provide. It should be both relevant and enticing to your target audience. For instance, you might advertise a special discount for your social media followers or even advertise a piece of gated content that users can download after they have filled out a lead form.
Phase 3: Engage Your Audience on Social Media
It’s not enough to just post content on social media. If you want to get the most out of using social media for business, you need to work to engage your audience across your social media channel. However, with all the commotion on these channels, it can often be difficult to really reach your audience and engage them on a regular basis.
Here are just a few ways that you can work to engage your audience on social media:
- Understand your audience. If you want to engage your audience, you need to first understand who they are and what motivates them. Go beyond just looking at basic demographic information and try to understand their likes, dislikes, challenges, and buying behaviors. All this information can help you create better content that captures your audience’s attention and provides value.
- Try a little humor. Most consumers are using social media channels for entertainment purposes. Very few, if any, want to be sold to. If you want to get your audience’s attention and engage them in a meaningful way, try using a little humor on your social media channels. Keep your content light and interesting, and speak to your followers in a way that resonates with them most. This can help you get more likes, shares, and follows over time.
- Start a conversation. Some businesses tend to forget the “social” aspect of social media. It’s important that businesses work to start a conversation with their leads and customers instead of merely sell to them. Whether you ask a question, post a poll, or ask your followers to share their experiences, there are a number of ways that you can work to start a conversation and get your fans and followers engaging with your brand.
- Give something away. Who doesn’t love something for free? Social media drawings or contests are not only a great way to increase your following, but they can also help keep your fans and followers engaged along the way. You can give away gifts, products, or even discounts and coupons to keep users interested.
If you want your followers to like, share, and comment on your content, then you need to give them something to be excited about. Through consistent engagement, your brand can work to build more of a following while strengthening relationships with current customers.
Phase 4: Convert Your Audience on Social Media
Once you’ve got your audience engaging with your social media content, it’s time to start using social media for business at the next level. Social media is a great tool for lead generation, but you’ll need to use the right tactics to convert your social media followers to qualified leads and convert your leads into buyers.
Here are just a few ways that you can work to convert your audience on social media:
- Create content that’s tailored to the platform. If you want users to click on your content or take advantage of your product or service offers, you’ll want to make sure that the content you post is created with each social media channel in mind. For example, Instagram is a mobile platform, so you’ll want to create content that is able to capture the attention of an audience that’s most likely busy or on-the-go.
- Use gated content. Creating gated content is one of the best ways to collect lead contact information that you can follow up on later through email or over the phone. Once you have created a great piece of content that you think your followers will find valuable, you can link to a landing page from your social media profile that collects lead contact information before allowing them to access the content.
- Take advantage of advertising opportunities. Social media advertising is another powerful way to turn followers into leads and leads into buyers. With sophisticated targeting capabilities, social media ads allow you to reach the users who are most likely to be interested in your content and your product or service offering. Make sure that you are tailoring the content or offer to your audience’s preferences.
Social media lead generation and conversion take time and careful planning. You’ll also need to conduct testing to find which offers or types of content work best for your audience. The tactics above offer you a great place to get started with using social media for business.
Phase 5: Remarketing and Advanced Tricks
In addition to basic social media strategies for reaching and engaging your target audience online, there are also advanced tactics that help you go even further, such as social media advertising. Here are just a few tools that you might use to take your social media for business to the next level:
Remarketing is one of the most important mechanisms to increase conversions when using social media for business. Whether they got distracted with something else or they want to continue shopping around, consumers will often leave your site without finalizing your purchase. While at first, this may look like a missed opportunity, in reality, there are still ways to bring these individuals back to your site to convince them to convert.
Remarketing ads allow you to reach back out to customers who have already visited your site. You can then deliver targeted content that encourages them to return to your site to make a purchase or get more information. Facebook and Instagram allow businesses to use remarketing ads to re-engage previous site visitors on these social networks. This allows you an additional opportunity to communicate the value of your products or services to those who have already shown interest in your brand.
Facebook Lookalike Audiences
Another powerful advanced feature on social media is Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences. This Facebook advertising targeting option allows you to target Facebook users who closely resemble your best customers. That way, you can reach the people on Facebook who are most likely to be interested in your company.
Here’s an example of how it works. Let’s say that your business sells products or services that young people enjoy and use. Your current customers are within a certain age range and live in specific demographic areas. They also tend to have the same interests. Using your current list of customers, Facebook can help you find other individuals who share these same characteristics so that you can deliver targeted ad content that speaks to them.
Another helpful tool offered through most social media platforms that offer advertising is conversion tracking. This feature lets you track the conversions on your social media posts and ads to see how many of your followers clicked on your link and took the desired action. This action doesn’t always have to include making a purchase, it can also be filling out a lead form or visiting a specific page.
Conversion tracking helps you see how successful your social media posts and ads really are. If you notice that conversions are lower than you expected, you can n
Strategy and Implementation
Now that you know what you need to get started with your social media for business, let’s discuss how you can implement some of the strategies and tactics that we’ve addressed above.
First, you will need to consider what resources you currently have in place to help with implementation. Do you have a dedicated staff that can work to create consistent social media content? Does your team have enough knowledge of social media targeting and advertising to help meet your business goals?
Social media is an important part of your overall marketing strategy. However, it takes time and resources to get it right. Not to mention, if your staff is not experienced with different social media platforms, your business may not be getting all of the benefits that social media has to offer. If you do not have dedicated and experienced staff in place to manage your social media on a consistent basis, it may be time to call in the experts.
Our social media marketing company specializes in social media for business. Our team of social media experts are experienced in creating and implementing social media management and advertising strategies that help our clients get the results they want from their social media marketing. If you’re ready to get grow your business using social media, contact us today.