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7 Essential Social Media Marketing Tips for Business Owners

Social media marketing has rapidly become one of the most powerful – and essential – marketing activities that a business can take on. Whether your business is large or small, social media marketing can be a cost-effective addition to your overall marketing strategy.

According to one recent report, around 80% of SMBs use social media to grow their business, and around 60% report that they have direct evidence that their social media efforts have directly resulted in new customers. As a result, nearly 100% of top brands in the United States are utilizing both Facebook and Twitter, and between 60% and 70% are on the smaller platforms, which include Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest.

There are a number of reasons why social media marketing has become such a powerful, popular, and effective tool, however there are two statistics that summarize many of those reasons: the average American spends 37 minutes per day on social media, and nearly half of them (46%) use social media when making at least some of their purchasing decisions.

The following are seven social media marketing tips that will help make your efforts as effective as possible.

1. Know exactly what you want to achieve through social media

Before you can even begin to establish an effective social media marketing campaign, the first step is to determine what your actual goals for the campaign will be. Just like anything else in business – and particularly with marketing – knowing what you want to achieve should be the guiding principle from start to finish.

Each business’s objectives will be different, and you should spend some time determining how social media can best benefit your business. One common example is determining whether engagement or branding will be the focus of your campaign. If your primary goal is to utilize social media as a way to interact (i.e. engage) with your customers and prospective customers, then your efforts – and the metrics you use to measure them – should reflect that goal. If your primary goal is to build awareness of your brand, then the same rule applies.

You might be tempted to want to accomplish both of these goals. While that is certainly noble and worthwhile, each requires its own distinct campaign. If you are new to social media marketing, you are better off focusing on one, excelling at it, then working on the other.

2. Identify your target audience(s)

You probably already have a decent sense of who you target audience(s) is (are). However, with social media your audience can be broken into far more granular components. The more specific you can make your audiences, the more customized – and thus effective and cost-effective – each element of your campaign can be.

3. Build out a concurrent (and complimentary) content marketing strategy

A sometimes-overlooked element of social media marketing is ensuring that you have a large and growing bank of content for your audience to consume. Getting social media engagement and followers is only part of the battle; you must also have something useful, engaging, and share-worthy for them to consume (and share). Every social media marketing strategy should have a corresponding content marketing strategy to go along with it.

4. Build a list of competitors and research them extensively

You can learn a lot from your competitors. This is true in general, but it is particularly true if they have more experience than you do in the social media arena. Don’t be afraid to research, and learn from, your competitors. You can rest assured they will be doing the same to you.

6. Assign at least one employee who is responsible for social media customer service

This tip is more self-evident if your primary goal is engagement (as opposed to branding), but it is an essential part of every and any social media marketing campaign. You should have at least one employee whose only job (or at least one of their primary responsibilities) is to actively engage with, respond to, and assist social media followers who reach out to your company.

7. Develop an understanding of each social media channel, and treat them as distinct entities

While Facebook is certainly the leading social media platform, the other platforms are worthwhile (and widely used) as well. Remember that each platform has it’s own distinct strengths and weaknesses, and tailor your campaigns to the uniqueness of each platform.

Hopefully these social media marketing tips give you a better sense of what to look for and think about in the social media realm. Remember that there is help out there if you seek it out!