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In the early days of social media, business leaders could leverage the networking tech to connect with their target audiences with minimal time and investment — but that time has long passed. Now, every business has a presence on at least the major social networks, and social media users are regularly bombarded with marketing messages, which means that small businesses need to put in extra effort to engage with local audiences effectively and create communities around their brands and products.
Small, local businesses can benefit from social media marketing, but only when business leaders invest in the right tools, strategies and services. Here are a few small tips that any small business can leverage to improve their social media marketing today.
As much as a small business leader might hope to manage their social media marketing on their own or at least in house, the truth is that doing so is almost inevitably much less effective and can be much more expensive for the company than hiring social media experts.Social media for local businesses is a niche area of marketing, and small businesses can and should capitalize on the expertise of trained and experienced marketers to achieve their goals.
There are dozens of social media platforms that boast over 100 million active users, but not every small local business needs to create an account for every social media site. Leaders should consider the demographics of their target audience and select the channels that are most likely to connect their brand with local users. For example, a yarn shop might focus on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, where local knitters are more likely to spend their time.
There are a few small, local businesses that have gone viral, garnering international fame for their unique products or branding, but the vast majority of local companies can expect a modest increase in consumer traffic as a result of their social media efforts. Small business leaders need to keep their social media marketing goals reasonable to avoid feeling disappointed by what they do accomplish.
Many business leaders focus on content generation and follower engagement when it comes to social media marketing, and while these aspects are undeniably important, there is an even more fundamental component of marketing on social networking sites. Business pages should be optimized with information to help customers understand the company and the brand, to include contact information like phone numbers and addresses easily located in the page bio.
Hashtags help thealgorithms on social media sites sort through posts so that they can deliver the right content to the audiences most likely to engage with them. Though it is tempting to use only the most popular hashtags, as those might seem to lead to the largest audiences, a better strategy is to use a few trending hashtags but focus on niche hashtags more likely to connect a company with a local audience, such as locations and specific phrases.
Many would-be customers reach out to business social media pages when they have questions about products or services. Failing to address questions and concerns is a good way for companies to lose what could have been sure sales, so business leaders should assign some employee to check comments and direct messages several times per week to keep customers happy.
Consistent posts help to keep a company’s community of social media followers engaged with the brand, and they inform prospective followers that the business is very much active. It is wise to develop a schedule with a business’s entire marketing team to ensure that content is produced and published in a timely manner.
Social media sites are constantly releasing new features to make their platforms more fun, more intuitive and more addicting for users. Businesses should experiment with the latest features as soon as they are available; not only are new features likely to become popular, but they also often allow businesses a new content channel to use to engage with consumers.
Video marketing has reached an all-time high, and for good reason. Social media platforms increasingly promotedynamic video content over more static text and image posts, and social media users tend to engage with video content to a higher degree. There is a vast array of video content small businesses might produce, from product FAQs to animated ads, and small businesses might need to experiment with different styles to find the video content that works best for their brand.
Social media is necessary for every business, even small businesses targeting a local clientele. Fortunately, it is possible to survive and thrive on social media — as long as business leaders maintain a simple but effective marketing strategy.