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10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

Connect with more potential customers via social media

For a small business owner like yourself, social media provides immense potential to connect directly with customers, build awareness for your brand, and create more trust and authority that generates sales. Consider a few reasons why social media is essential for businesses today:

 

 

Social media can provide a powerful marketing reach. Social media pages show up in search engine results, they tell new users what your business is about and they can be used to sell products. Now that you know why social media is important for growing your business, here are 10 tips to get the most return from your social media marketing efforts.

 

1. Choose the right social media platforms

Every social media channel has different demographics. The older business professionals on LinkedIn have different needs than the teens and millennials on Snapchat. You want to hone in on the networks where your target audience spends their time. Take a look at Sprout Social's social network demographic breakdown for an idea of the networks that match your business.

 

2. Optimize social media pages for search engines

Each social network platform you're on is an extension of your brand. You want each page to show up in search results. Social media page optimization includes:

 

  • Writing bios and populating fields within the page using keywords you want your business to rank for
  • Making sure all information is up-to-date and accurate, including business name spelling and contact information
  • Integrating keyword strategy into social media posting strategy

 

To consistently brand your pages across different platforms, try to use the same vanity URL for each network (a unique web address that is branded for marketing purposes). This means, instead of having a Facebook page address that looks something like “facebook.com/pages/1234asdf,” you can instead have “facebook.com/[yourbusinessname].” Vanity URLs make your business easier to find in search, and they're easier for your customers to remember and share.

 

3. Set up notifications

If you plan to use social media as a customer support channel, you'll want to turn on notifications so you know when a user engages with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. This way, if someone pings you with a question or complaint, you can respond more quickly because you've been notified. Timely responses are a critical component of social media marketing success. According to Convince & Convert, 32 percent of customers expect a customer support response from a brand on social media within 30 minutes, and 42 percent expect a response with an hour.

 

Even if you have someone managing your channels for you, as a small business owner you may be interested in responding directly to your social media fans and followers so you can build rapport with your growing audience.

 

4. Promote your channels

Once you have social media channels set up, you'll want to grow your audience so more people see your messages. Here are some ways to promote your social media channels:

 

  • Add social media buttons linking to your accounts on your website
  • Add social media buttons to email marketing designs
  • Announce new social network additions through email
  • Add social networks to business cards and print marketing materials

 

You can also run ads on social media platforms to increase your engagement and build momentum. When users see that their friends are following your business, they might follow suit organically.

 

5. Follow influencers

You can increase the reach of your business by engaging with influencers on social media. Influencers are social media users who:

 

  • Have followers who interact with their accounts frequently and passionately, through liking and commenting on posts
  • Have followers who share the influencer's content with their own networks
  • Have a substantial number of followers with similar tastes, needs and pain points

 

Small business owners should follow bloggers, publishers and journalists in their industries on social media and interact with their content. The influencer might follow back, which signals to their own followers that they're interested in the business.

 

Following influencers on social media also exposes your brand to content you can share on your own channels. When you share influencer content, you strengthen an influencer relationship you're trying to build, which can help if your business decides to pursue influencer marketing campaigns.

 

6. Engage with users

Engagement is a significant factor in determining what content a social media user sees in their feed. On networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, for example, if a user has recently interacted with a brand on the channel, they'll be more likely to see the content that brand shares the next time they log into their feed.

 

Increase user engagement on your channels by:

 

  • Responding to user comments
  • Asking questions or leaving a call to action to comment in your posts
  • Sharing user-generated content on your own feeds

 

A 2017 study by digital agency Wunderman found 79 percent of consumers only consider brands that show they understand and care about the consumer. Building relationships through social media engagement is a way to show customers you care.

 

7. Create a content calendar

Sending the right messages to social media users requires organization. If your business simply sends out one message on all channels at the exact same time, you're not motivating customers to follow you on multiple networks. You also run the risk of not engaging users, since social networks are not one-size-fits-all.

 

With social media, put on a publisher's hat and get organized with a social media content calendar. You can use something as simple as a spreadsheet to list your channels and content you will post and share throughout the month. That way, you can ensure you're putting out unique messages and sharing content among all channels consistently.  

 

An editorial content calendar helps you see the bigger picture of your business. You can align social media posts with national holidays or business milestones, like new product launches. The content calendar can be shared among team members, so your marketing department has an idea of what is being posted and how they can support that.

 

8. Save time with automation

If you're on multiple social media channels (there are dozens to choose from), marketing automation can save you time and can decrease errors. A report by VentureBeat found 80 percent of users saw leads increase and 77 percent saw conversions increase when employing automation.

 

Social media marketing automation allows your team to pre-load social posts, see user responses, respond to customers and gather reporting all in one dashboard, without having to log in and go back and forth between channels. This eliminates the need to manually upload posts to each channel and gather data. A 2017 study by Forrester found 88 percent of marketers said reducing time preparing reports and analysis would be valuable. Automation not only saves time, but also increases accuracy and can give your business a clearer view of your return on investment.

 

9. Analyze results

Most major social networks have free built-in analytics so businesses can see which posts are reaching the most users, which posts are garnering the most engagement and how follower trends are evolving over time. Whether you use marketing automation for reporting or log on to individual networks, be sure to take a look at the data at least once a month to monitor your progress.

 

Social media reporting should include:

 

  • Follower growth
  • Top content reach
  • Top content engagement
  • Website referrals (look at your website analytics, like Google Analytics, for this info)
  • Sales from social (again, track this in a platform like Google Analytics)

 

Look for common themes among the content users are most engaged with to see what's working. You can glean insights that show similarities in copy, images and even the time of day you post. If one social network is performing much better than the others, look for reasons why.

 

Does the demographic match your brand better than other networks? Did you run an influencer marketing campaign that was a success? Is the content you're posting more engaging? Answers to questions like these can help inform your strategy.

 

10. Evolve your strategy

Using the data, apply and test new strategies on other networks. You may find that posting at a certain time of day on Facebook is your sweet spot, or that your Instagram users really prefer branded graphics over smartphone photos in your feed.

 

Use insights to continually tweak your strategy. Keep measuring, monitoring and optimizing to increase your follower counts, engagement metrics and sales.

 

Grow your business with Cadence Bank

Social media networks are free to join, but they require strategy, measurement and optimization to work for a business. Use these tips to set up branded channels, grow your followings, share content that resonates with users, and build relationships with your customers and influencers.

 

At Cadence Bank, we're passionate about helping small businesses like yours grow. Check out our full line of business banking tools and solutions. If you’re ready to talk to a business banker about how we can help you grow, contact us.

 

 

This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.



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