Before you dive right in and publish something on social media, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The first step is to think about your social media strategy.
What are your goals? How can social media help you achieve business goals? Some businesses use social media for increasing their brand awareness, others use it to boost website traffic and sales. Social media can also help you generate engagement around your brand, create a community, and serve as a customer support channel for your customers.
It is important to choose the right social media platform. The major social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. I am missing Chinese social media platforms on purpose. I'll write a separate blog dedicated to them. There are smaller and up-and-coming platforms, such as Tumblr, Tik Tok, and Anchor, and social messaging platforms, such as Messenger and WhatsApp. When starting out, it’s better to pick a few platforms that you think your target audiences are using. A common mistake is to try to be on all social media platforms.
What type of content do you want to share? What type of content will attract your target audience best? Is it images, videos, or links? Is it educational or entertaining content? which will help you answer these questions. And this doesn’t have to be fixed forever; you can always change your strategy according to how your social media posts perform.
2. Planning and Publishing
Social media marketing for small businesses usually starts with having a consistent presence on social media. Close to three billion people use social media. By being present on social media platforms, you give your brand an opportunity to be discovered by your future customers.
Publishing to social media is as simple as sharing a blog post, an image, or a video on a social media platform. But you will want to plan your content ahead of time instead of creating and publishing content spontaneously. Also, to ensure that you are maximizing your reach on social media, you need to publish great content that your audience likes, at the right timing and frequency.
There are now a variety of social media scheduling tools, such as Buffer Publish, that can help you publish your content automatically at your preferred time. This saves you time and allows you to reach your audience when they are most likely to engage with your content.
3. Listening and Engagement
As your business and social media followers grow, conversations about your brand should increase. People will comment on your social media posts, tag you in their social media posts, or message you directly.
People might even talk about your brand on social media without letting you know. You will want to monitor social media conversations about your brand. If it’s a positive comment, you get a chance to surprise and delight them. Otherwise, you can offer support and correct a situation before it becomes worse.
You can manually check all your notifications across all the social media platforms but this isn’t efficient and you won’t see posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile. You can instead use a social media listening and engagement tool that aggregates all your social media mentions and messages, including posts that didn’t tag your business’s social media profile. At Swap Agency we provide this service for our clients. By having a team of marketing professionals monitor your social media results all you need to do is take strategic decisions.
Along the way, whether you are publishing content or engaging on social media, you will want to know how your social media marketing is performing. Are you reaching more people on social media than last month? How many positive mentions do you get a month? How many people used your brand’s hashtag on their social media posts?
The social media platforms themselves provide a basic level of analytics. For example on Instagram you should check the "Insights" option in your profile menu. For non-business accounts you don't have this option. To get more in-depth analytics information or to easily compare across social media platforms, we use a wide range of analytics tools at Swap Agency to advise our clients on what they are doing well, engagement rates and hashtag performance. Before any social media ad investments it is crucial to carry out a performance check. This way you can measure the impact of your ad campaign.
If you have funds to grow your social media marketing seriously consider social media ads. Social media advertising allows you to reach a wider audience than just those people who follow your account.
Social media advertising platforms are so powerful nowadays that you can specify exactly who to display your ads to. You can create target audiences based on their demographics, interests, behaviors, and more.
When you are running several social media advertising campaigns at once, consider using a social media advertising tool to make changes, automate processes, and optimize your ads. It's not always easy to optimise your campaigns. Do not hesitate to ask for expert advice on how to get the best bang for your buck.