Your online presence is one of the most important ways to market your business to the world. Whether you have traditional brick and mortar business or a strictly online one, using social media is a great way to build your presence and grow your business. Here’s why it matters – and how to execute social media for your small business like a pro.
1. Social Media Builds Brand Recognition
Your brand is such a powerful thing.
It is an expression of who you are as a business and is essentially the start of a promise to your ideal customer. You have the logo, colors, choice of fonts and imagery, and even the voice that carries through in your published content – all very important elements that need to be applied consistently. If each of your social profiles looks like they are a different business, you end up with a disconnect that will confuse your audience. Brand recognition needs consistency across your entire online presence, from your website to your social profiles.
There is also the crucial piece of knowing how you want your audience to experience you in your business across every touch point – how you engage. And, with the uptake of social media, there has been a shift in the way that brands are reviewed. Pay attention to how you react and respond to your audience on social media, always. If you’re looking for tips on building brand loyalty online, here’s a great blog I came across.
2. Social Media Generates Leads
Social media is one of the least expensive methods of gathering intelligence on, and generating leads from, your ideal customers. From a simple Facebook post, for example, you could find out where your ideal customers are at with regards to an issue (e.g. “If you could get help in your business today, what would you want help in?”) … you could test the idea of two different approaches to launching an online course to see if they preferred PDF downloads or video… you could get their input on which visual for a new product resonated better with them and put across the image that you are hoping for. Social media has really made the test and tweak process much easier because of the number of users on sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Managing a social media presence and doing it right is a big investment of your time so I always say pick one (maybe two) social platforms to focus on — and show up consistently. The questions to ask yourself are where are your competitors… where is your audience… and finally, which of those places are you happy to commit time to every day? And when you figure that out, don’t treat your profile like an afterthought. You need to treat it like a secondary website – every section and interaction should have a purpose. Here’s a recent post I put out on what makes a properly optimized Facebook profile.
3. Social Media Can Drive Traffic to Your Website
Using social media to increase traffic to your website is a proven strategy. Every social media platform is different but there are rules that apply across the board.
- Share your blog posts more than once
- Post your content links in relevant social network groups and communities that you are a part of and engage in regularly
- Use social media to promote your products, services, and offers
- Lead with value in all your interactions
- Visuals and videos outperform other content types
- Tailor your message to the platform
We share some great tools for using social media to promote your business, including a great post scheduling manager, in this blog.
A final tip here though – use Google Analytics to slice and dice your social media traffic. Find out which platforms send the highest number of visitors to your websites and how engaged they are. Use that information to inform your next steps. To do this: Log in to your Google Analytics account, navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. Then, click on the Social column. At this point, you should see the social media traffic report for your site.
4. It Offers An Opportunity for Social Listening
Social media isn’t simply a broadcast platform. A successful social media strategy is constructed around reaching the right people at the best time with the most insightful content. In order to achieve this, you need to practice social listening.
Social listening includes monitoring your own social handles and replying to incoming questions or comments about your brand. It needs to also extend beyond that though. It should include tracking conversations around specific keywords/phrases, brands or industries (Google Alerts is a great tool for this). The industry trends and insights that present themselves as a result of this process is what you would use to track your brand health, steer your business strategy and improve your user journey.
5. Social Enables You to Reach Your Audience in Real Time
With the speed and mobility of data, it has almost become an unspoken expectation that news and information will be made immediately available to us. Immediacy is no longer a nice to have. If anything, it’s become a hygiene factor of doing business in today’s environment.
While it is important to show your expertise through longer forms of content like cornerstone blogs and whitepapers, your ideal client avatar is not always going to be in a position to spend more than a couple of minutes consuming your content. Instead of treating short-form content like a compromise though, consider that it has a place in your content strategy; tailoring to your on-the-go readers who only really have time for a quick update.
For small businesses, time is money and social media gives you some incredible bang for your buck – in fact, one study showed that as little as six hours of effort per week is enough to generate increased web traffic. Other factors that contribute to social media’s high ROI include better search engine rankings and a better customer experience.
So don’t put it off any longer – refine your social media management and marketing today!