Social media is an excellent, free tool your local business can use to expand your reach. However, you want to make sure you are using effective strategies to see the best results. Here we explain how you can implement a simple, effective social media strategy to grow your local business.
Have a Social Media Plan?
Don’t start using social media willy nilly. Social media requires effort, so although an account is free how much time you spend using it costs money. A plan helps you increase your ROI by keeping you organized and goal-oriented. Some tips to set you off on the right foot include:
- Set SMART business goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
- Align your goals with measurable metrics so you see how your efforts are working.
- Choose the right channels to reach your audience so you don’t waste time on too many platforms.
- Keep an eye on your competition as well as the industry to see how they are using social, what they are doing, and how many followers they have. Then aim to use their success for inspiration and outsmart them.
- Create a social media calendar so you have a plan for relevant content with a good mix of posts.
- Keep a good balance of 80% content that is educational, informative and entertaining and the other 20% for brand awareness and sales.
These tips will keep you focused so you avoid wasting time.
With a plan in place, it makes it easier to automate and schedule posts to improve efficiencies. Your calendar allows you to create your posts in advance and then have them posted at a scheduled time. You or your team can put aside a few hours each week to do a week’s worth of posts, so you never forget to post, and keep up the momentum. This frees up more time to focus on other higher-value tasks. To keep people engaged, you can also use chatbots so there is always a response when someone asks a question.
Focus on the Right Audience
Make sure you know your audience so your content resonates with them. Who are your current customers? Who is following you on social media now? Who engages the most with your brand online? Who are the buyer personas using your brand? Once you know your audience you can speak to them in a language they understand and remain relevant to your followers.
Expand Your Reach
Your current buyer personas are not the only people who might respond to your brand. Consider using social media advertising to expand your reach. You can use geo-targeting to help find people in your area, and also focus on local-based conversations to attract more shares.
Let’s look at some of the most important Social Media Advertising statistics data from Hootsuite.
- Ad spending on social media is projected to reach over $173 million in 2022
- Social media usage continues to dominate the digital landscape
- In 2022, social media video ad spending will grow by 20.1% to $24.35 billion
- Running ads continues to be a failsafe way to increase your brand awareness
- Trust is still everything when it comes to social media and ad interaction
- Brands will be spending more on social ads in 2022
- Social media will account for 33% of all digital advertising spending in 2022
Focus on Relationships
This is the social part of social media. You have a direct link to your customers and followers that allows you to nurture relationships. Your involvement with your followers allows you to start conversations, encourage comments, and become more authentic as a brand. Instead of focusing on sales, help people with information that allows them to get to know you. Don’t be silent, but instead engage in conversations, ask questions, and provide answers so you get more shares and likes. You create a sense of community that helps improve customer retention which in turn makes you better at finding new ones.
Facebook Groups bring like-minded people together. This helps build brand loyalty. A Facebook group relevant to your industry and audience as well as fellow small business owners can help draw attention from influencers who can really help boost your authority. Your brand becomes more trustworthy, and you also create stronger relationships both with customers and within your local business community.
This is the secret weapon of savvy social media users. Branded hashtags help you see more information in your social feed that you can share and like. Your followers see you are engaged in their content, and they are more likely to do the same. It is also probably one of the most effective sources of social proof. Tagging followers when you share their content creates a mutual admiration club online. You’ll be more likely to get tagged in follower stories and see who is doing the tagging making it easy to keep things going.
Leverage Free Platform Tools
Take the time to learn more about the free tools each platform offers. This way you can leverage them to make the most of your account. Things like Twitter polls and Instagram Stories interactive stickers help get reactions from followers. You also get valuable insights on things that matter to your followers such as a program you introduce, or an event you run.
Spot the Trends
Trends on social platforms are important because it tells you what people are into. Although memes can get old real fast for brands, they still teach you more about the type of content people want. When you see what’s relevant in your industry or even in your community you become better at posting content that resonates with people.
The pandemic is a perfect example of something that influenced social trends such as mask fashion, dating during COVID, breadmaking and more. You can use these trends to help your followers cope and make life easier. At the same time, you become better at anticipating needs.
Understand Why People Use Social Media
There are five reasons people use social media, other than being obsessed:
- Keeping up with news and current events
- Passing time
- Staying in touch
- Sharing content
When you understand these needs, you can adjust your content to help meet them.
Keep Your Ear to the Ground with Social Listening
Social listening helps you understand what your audience wants from you. By monitoring social channels, you gain insights into what people are talking about, what people feel and the number of views on your brand and products.
Embrace Social Commerce
This is a very effective tool for companies selling products. Social shopping tools have transformed ease of access for customers who can see a product in their social feed and buy it on the spot. You don’t even need a website (although you still really do) to make sales and fulfill orders thanks to Instagram Live Shopping and Facebook Shops.
Use Different Types of Content
Don’t get stuck on using one type of content. You have different options and formats whether it is text, images, video or a mix. There are also platform-specific options like reels, live video and stories. You can see which formats work best for your audience, and also which work best for each channel. Don’t assume images always win out, as you might find your audience responds in unexpected ways based on the channel. Content diversity is also considered in algorithms so you can boost your reach when you experiment with different formats.
Remain Inclusive and Accessible with Posts
Make sure your brand isn’t caught up in too specific an image in your posts. You want to be true to your brand, but also remain inclusive and accessible. Be sure your images speak to your audience and the many diverse individuals that includes. You want to represent everyone through your images.
Quality Not Quantity
Accept the fact that somedays you might not have anything to say. You want to keep up a consistent drumbeat on social but not to the point where your team or your followers become overwhelmed. Therefore, quality over quantity is the rule of the day. Regular posting is a must, but the posts must be useful, entertaining, informative, or inspirational and never focused strictly on sales. Be authentic and stick to your brand to engage your audience.
Track and Measure
There are easy-to-use analytic tools available that help you track and measure your performance so you can keep improving. Each social channel offers free analytics tools you should learn to use. These overviews help you find the right voice, images, and content for your posts. One of the easiest and most effective ways to measure success is using A/B testing.
Test different images, headings, links, colors, wording, calls-to-action etc. against each other to see where you get the best engagement. You can slowly fine-tune your efforts, so your posts become better and better at hitting the mark and helping you meet your goals.
Use Smart Calls-to-Action
Your A/B testing is the perfect way to create smarter calls to action. Your posts should always invite people to take action, whether it is a question like, “What do you think?”, an invitation to learn more, or an enticement to chat now. Posts without an incentive for engagement are missed opportunities.
Improve Content with Social Media Tools
Social media tools help you create better content while also making life easier for your team. You can find tools to help with various aspects of your social media marketing strategy whether it is understanding follower engagement, tracking data, or improving the appearance of your posts. More importantly for small businesses struggling with social media marketing workload, you can find tools that help make posting easier from content curation for ongoing ideas to photo editing tools and from organizing content to watching for errors. Of course, an SEO company can also help manage the workload.
We can help you save time while also getting the benefits of utilizing social media. Contact Outreach Local today for a discovery call.