Can small business get results from social media marketing?
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The short answer is "Yes!" Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for small business. But before you jump into it—or if you're already there and wondering why it's not working for you—consider the effort and your expectations. Getting results from social media takes a lot more than setting up a Facebook page. Like any worthwhile marketing activity, social media requires an investment of time and money, along with the commitment and patience to get it right.
Before you get started on social media marketing, set some goals and decide on a strategy. Figure out if you are truly ready and able to commit the time to make it work, or if you need some outside expertise or extra hands to help.
1. Be Focused
What purpose do you want social media to serve for your company? Create goals for each network you plan to use and define your target audiences to help keep your marketing efforts focused. Don't look for an immediate ROI on social media. Instead, look for a return on relationship. Use social media as a tool to strengthen relationships with your followers and customers. Once you define clear, focused goals for social media, you can move forward with a creative strategy to reach these goals.
2. Be Creative
How are you going to reach your goals? What type of content will you share? Will you run campaign ads to promote your products or services? Be creative when answering these questions. Think of your favorite brands that you follow on social media: What do they share on that keeps you interested? There are many ways to engage your audience on social media. Videos, photos, and memes make especially effective posts. In fact, social media posts with images get 94% more views than content without images.
3. Be Relevant
Consider if the content you share on social media is relevant to your followers—is it of value to them? Do you know what interests them? Create a list of topics relevant to your products or services and brainstorm what related content you can create and share. When posting links or images, include short text descriptions that help spark a connection for your audience. Relevant content is more likely to earn likes, inspire sharing, and attract comments. When it comes to crafting social media ads, relevance is what will motivate someone to click through to your website or offer.
4. Be RESPONSIVE
You can learn more about your followers' interests by engaging with them. If they comment on your post, or write a review about your business, always take time to respond. This shows that you value their opinions and value their business. Yes, this even applies to negative comments and reviews. The key is to stay positive when responding to negative reviews.
When you actively engage with your social media followers, you also gain a better understanding of what they are interested in learning, information they find relevant, the causes they care about. Once you've established an active and engaged base of followers, you can reach out to them with questions, ask for comments, and use other social media features, such as surveys and polls, to learn more about your audience. You'll discover social media is not a one-way communication, but a great tool for opening up conversations and building relationships with your past, current, and future customers.
Sources cited in this article: "37 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2016," Hubspot
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