There’s no denying that social media changed the world and the way people interact with each other – after all, there are over 4 billion social media users in the world right now. However, it also impacted the advertising industry. Nowadays, most of the biggest national and international corporations have a social media profile, often dedicating a bigger part of their advertising budget to it than to traditional media channels, such as radio, television or newspapers.
Does it mean that social media marketing should only be used by big companies that have high budgets? Not really. Small and medium-sized businesses can also greatly benefit from it, and they can do it without spending a fortune. In this article, we will talk about things connected specifically with social media marketing for small businesses – what is a social media strategy, how can a small business benefit from it, what are the best strategies for a social media marketing campaign and more.
What Is a Social Media Marketing Strategy?
Contrary to what some people might think, a social media strategy it’s not just about posting content and liking comments on a social media channel – it’s a lot more calculated than that. It also involves other actions, such as investing in Facebook ads to promote the profile, partnerships, organizing giveaways and much more.
To put it simply, a social media marketing strategy is the plan of action regarding your business’s social platform, as well as what you are planning to achieve through your social profiles. The more detailed the strategy is, the higher the chances of it being effective.
Does Social Media Marketing Work for Small Businesses?
The short answer is yes – social media marketing definitely works for small businesses. If it’s done right, it can be an affordable way to reach large numbers of customers from all over the country as well as from other nations, that a business wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise. People tend to look at what others bought and do the same (a phenomenon also known as social proof), and a social media profile is a perfect place to use that knowledge to your advantage.
If you’re wondering exactly how social media helps small businesses, here are a few examples. Among the main benefits of using social media marketing for small businesses (but not only), you can find building brand awareness, increasing client base, as well as interacting with the current customers. What’s more, the brand’s social media account can be one of the customer service channels.
Instagram, TikTok and Facebook are among some of the best social media for small to medium businesses.
How Can My Small Business Use Social Media?
The way you use your social media and the social media content you post is completely up to you. Some companies use their profiles to show more of a behind-the-scenes look at what is going on – those profiles often include photos of the office, employees’ photos, or even posts not really related to the business itself but more to the atmosphere, such as photos from after-work outings. Others decide that their social media profiles are the perfect opportunity to showcase their products, by, for example, sharing photos of their customers wearing or using their products. There are also those who decide to do a bit of both.
The truth is that the way your business uses social media and the content posted is your decision and would depend mostly on how you want your company to be perceived by your prospective customers.
What Is the Best Social Media Strategy for a Small Business?
Before choosing what to include in your social media marketing plan, you need to do some research about the options you have. We did that bit for you. Here are some of the best social media strategies for small businesses.
1. Setting SMART Goals
SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In order to know if your social media strategy is working, you need to set goals that can tell you that. For instance, a great example of a SMART goal would be “increasing the number of followers by 2,000 by the end of the quarter”. Once the time comes, you’ll be able to check how many followers you actually gained and see if you met the goal.
Make sure that the goals you set for your business are realistic – while you cannot expect to, for instance, increase your sales by 20% right away, a social media goal like increasing the number of followers (your audience) is actually a doable one.
2. Focusing On One Thing
When it comes to marketing, less is more. So, instead of spending resources and time on all types of marketing, pick one or two that you will focus on – for example, email marketing, and social media marketing.
The less-is-more approach can also be applied to social media marketing itself – instead of trying to have a successful social media profile on all social media platforms, pick one or two (Instagram and TikTok would probably be the best choices nowadays) and focus on posting great content on them.
3. Understanding Your Target Audience
Your marketing efforts, no matter if it’s social media marketing, email marketing or some other kind of marketing will not be effective unless you know who you are directing them towards, which is why it’s important to establish your target audience before doing anything.
One of the mistakes businesses make when it comes to marketing themselves on social media is focusing only on the business instead of on the audience, in a sense that they don’t take into consideration how a product or service can help potential customers. It’s necessary to find the balance. Think about what content your audience might find useful.
For instance, if you’re a lawyer, don’t just post about the law itself. Instead, mix some fun facts or quotes worth mentioning with stories about trials and your cases – show how you helped your client. This way, a potential client will get the image of a person who knows what they’re doing and has previous experience to back up their knowledge.
4. Partnering Up with Others
Engaging in partnerships is probably one of the most effective ways of diversifying your content, getting new followers and clients, as well as building brand awareness. As a small business, you can partner up, for example, with micro-influencers – it will be beneficial to both parties, as both of you will gain access to an audience they haven’t reached before.
5. Scheduling Your Posts
Posting content regularly is very important when it comes to social media and keeping your audience interested. However, as a small business owner, you might not always have time to do it yourself. Thanks to technology you don’t have to do it manually – social media sites like Instagram and Facebook allow you to schedule when a social media post will be published, which makes managing the profiles on your own much easier. However, you cannot schedule an Instagram story so you might want to give this task to someone else to keep the posting consistent.
Social media marketing is very much type of marketing that requires a lot of trial and error. It might take a while before you figure out what is the best approach for your business and what works for your customers and your audience, which is why you shouldn’t get discouraged if the first type of content you put on the social media platform seems not to be working – just try a different one. Also – mixing together a few different types of content can help you increase engagement on your small business social media.
And remember – social media marketing is not something that will bring results overnight. In many cases, it takes weeks or even months to build a decently sized social network.
How Often Do I Need to Update My Small Business Social Media Marketing Plan?
Again, this is a question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer – the truth is that your social media strategy should go in hand with the current trends. You should use applications that are currently the most popular, and that can change every year, especially if a new social media platform is introduced to the global audience, as was the case with TikTok, which took the world by storm within just a few years. Its impact was so significant that it became the second-fastest social media platform to reach 1 billion active monthly users – the only social media app to do it faster was Facebook Messenger.
Should I Use a Social Media for Small Business 2020 Plan in 2022 and Beyond?
It depends on what is included in your small business social media marketing plan – if your business goals connected with social media haven’t changed and if what you were planning on doing or what you did then is still relevant in 2022, we don’t see a problem in reusing the social media advertising strategy.
How Much Is Social Media Marketing for a Small Business?
The cost depends on several factors. Those include:
Who will be responsible for your social media marketing. It probably comes as no surprise that appointing a person responsible for your social media from those you already have in your company (or doing it yourself) will be less expensive than hiring a freelancer or outsourcing the service from another company.
How many social media networks you want to focus on. The more social media platforms you decide to create a presence on, the more expensive it will probably be.
The number of posts you want to publish and the images you want to use. Both a freelancer and an outside company will charge you more the more content you require and on which social network. When it comes to images, custom images will generate additional costs, as a graphic designer or a photographer will have to dedicate their time to produce them. However, you can also use stock images, which can significantly lower the costs (just keep in mind that they need to be labeled for commercial use for you to be able to share them with your social media network).
Whether you want to organize a contest or a giveaway. Contests and giveaways are a great way of increasing audience engagement on your social media profile – after all, it is no secret that people love free things. It is also an opportunity to partner with another company, exposing yourself to their customers who might have not heard of you before.
Is Hiring a Small Business Social Media Marketing Company Necessary?
There’s no straightforward answer, as it depends on factors such as the small business’s budget and whether there’s someone on their staff that knows how to run social media and produce content for social channels – generally speaking though, hiring an outside company does more good than bad.
Thanks to outsourcing social media marketing, you and all your employees can focus on the more important matters at hand, such as developing the products and services you offer to your customers while an external team takes care of people’s engagement on your social media.
Also, social media marketing companies already have experience in creating strategies for and managing small business social media, which means that they will be able to come up with a plan of action the most suitable for your business. There are plenty of reliable social media management companies out there, like Sprout Social or Social Media Examiner.
However, if you don’t think that your small business is at a point where you can afford to hire an outside company to take care of your social media marketing and that for now, you’d like to do it yourself, then you should at least invest in tools that can make dealing with small business marketing easier – such as those from Weave.
Depending on what you want to focus on – whether that be getting and monitoring reviews, engaging in email marketing or something completely different – you can find a Weave tool that will make your professional life easier.
A good idea would also be to use free tools that Google provides business owners with, such as a free business account called “Google My Business”.
Social media have become an integral part of many people’s lives. Their impact can be seen, for example, in the amount of companies that decide to put a major part of their advertising budget into social media presence and digital marketing (e.g. influencer marketing or content marketing) instead of traditional advertising channels.
They do it because it works, by increasing their brand awareness and gaining them new clients – after all, every new follower on a social media site can be transformed into a new customer with the right approach.
And, contrary to what some people might think, it doesn’t only work for big corporations. Small businesses can also benefit greatly from establishing social presence on social media platforms – as long as they have a good plan of action in place or hire a company that can take care of it for them.
Either way, social media marketing is something that any business should give a try – it might not work, but it might also work. You never know unless you try. And if it ends up not working, at least you got the chance to learn more about what type of online marketing works for your customers.
Watch a demo from Weave, to see our marketing solution tools in action. Grow your social media presence with Weave today.