Social Media. Two small words that can invoke an array of emotions from absolute dread to total elation.
If you are a small business owner, you are probably stuck somewhere between wondering if social media marketing is really that important, and obsessively looking for ways to up the anti on your social media game.
If you have it mastered, then you are a rare being, but congratulations! If you are anywhere else, welcome to the majority of small business owners. This article will help to demystify what social media marketing is and give you a foundation to start a great social media presence, all while taking some of the dread away that social media marketing has a way of instilling in its users. Breathe. In ten minutes, you will already be feeling better.
Marketing companies selling to you use the words “social media strategy” like it’s a complex game of cat and mouse that you as a business owner couldn’t possibly understand all by yourself. If you believe that line, chances are your overpaying another company to sell your product or spending too much time trying to create the perfect social media site. It’s time to say enough. There’s simple tips and tricks you as a business owner can utilize for FREE to better advertise your business on an array of social media platforms.
Let’s break it down and see how easy it can be for you to up your social media game all by yourself without overpaying or wasting time. Social media marketing is absolutely something you can do on your own, and your social media game does not have to suffer in the process.
What is “social media marketing”?
Syntactically, the term “social media” defines itself.
Social: “tending to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others.”
Media: “a medium to cultivate, convey, or express.”
Simply put, social media is just that. Using a media form [e.g., pictures, videos, internet] to create interdependent relationships with others.
Similarly, social media marketing is a way to promote your service or product within the realm of those relationships, and relationships are the key. Think about your business. How much of it relies on relationships with your consumers? Chances are, if you don’t have positive relationships outside of your immediate circle, then you won’t be in business.
With this in mind, many business owners become stressed in thinking they have to have an immediate, amazing, eye-popping, professional social media presence to form those outside relationships. These high and often unrealistic expectations can be extremely overwhelming, especially if there is only one or two people managing the entirety of the business’ social media marketing strategy.
To help, here are some tips you can apply to all your social media channels and platforms right off the bat, and before you know it, you will be an old pro.
Social Media Tips and Checklist:
Make a plan
Every good business strategy begins with a good plan. The time and effort you put into your business’ social media channels represent an investment in your business. To know if you’re getting a good return on your investment, it’s important to set clear goals for what you’re trying to achieve.
Think about what you are trying to achieve through your social media and set goals and objectives that match those achievements. Additional tips about making a plan for your social media can be found here.
Checklist: Think about the ‘purpose’ behind your small business’ social media presence. What do you hope to accomplish through your social media presence/marketing? Write down a few key goals and objectives for your social media marketing strategy.
No one likes fake. Fake people are easy to pick out, and they turn others away. Not to mention, the façade is hard to keep up. You’re more likely to lose customers based on unmet expectations then if you were honest. The same is true on social media. As crazy as it may sound, people on social media still want genuine connection, whether they know how to verbalize it or not. When people go to your social media pages, they should instantly know who you are first, then what you have to offer.
Authenticity creates trust. Trust creates relationships. Relationships create loyalty.
Sounds like something everyone wants. Good thing you can foster that naturally in your social media profiles.
Checklist: Read over your posts for the day. What is one thing you can add to be your authentic self to your consumers? Don’t just post to post. Make it yours. Make it meaningful.
Don't be pushy
Another thing that people don’t like is pushy sales people. If you are selling products or services, it is probably evident you want the person on the other end to purchase from you. You do not need to sell something every post you put up. This is also known as content marketing. Businesses share information through social network platforms without explicitly promoting their product. That’s not saying showcasing your products and making offers isn’t great or actually necessary, because it is. However, remember to always create relationships first and inform your consumer why this product is helpful to them.
Everyone is selling something, whether that be ideas and beliefs, or products and services. People tend to think absolutely everyone must follow, like, and purchase what they have to offer. But not everyone will. It is reality. Find a target audience and focus on them. Don’t push them away by overselling your product.
Checklist: Do you have any posts today that are not selling anything? You should. Are you selling shakes and your blender broke? Guess what? People relate to that, and there you have an authentic, funny, and real post that isn’t selling anything. Try the caption: “A broken blender won’t keep us down, unlike what our shakes can do to the numbers on the scale!”
Business owners can get caught up very quickly trying to make every reach a million likes. Before they know it, posting to social media can take an hour or more, which in the small business world can be equivalent to six hours of a regular person’s day. Instead, find a number that is realistic for you to post daily. If that number fluctuates, so be it, but put it on a calendar. Consistency is key to creating relationships in the sometimes-fickle world of social media.
Amid this consistency, don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons on how you decide to post. Try varying the types of content you use. For instance, don’t post only articles or paragraphs of information utilize photos and videos as well. Sometimes a picture actually is worth a thousand words.
Checklist: Set yourself up with one week of scheduled posts. You can write it with pen and paper, put it on a marker board, or use a fancy app. It’s up to you but get it in writing. Then stick to it. You can make adjustments later.
This cannot be stressed enough. If you do not interact with your followers and do not give them material they want to interact with, then you might as well close up your social media shop. A fancy word thrown out is “engagement”, otherwise known as “relationship”. Look back at your objectives and goals and make sure to respond to a set number of comments every day. This will help you engage. The limit is yours to determine, but if you are growing fast, that number can grow quickly too. Liking everyone’s comments is old news. Don’t do it. Choose to have meaningful comments and interactions.
This will also build relationships with your targeted audience.
Checklist: How many people have you responded to today? It’s something you can do while sitting anywhere in your house, even late at night.
Have confidence in yourself
Social media can be a big scary monster in the closet until you open the closet door and realize it’s merely a little stuffed animal when the light is turned on. Here’s your light. Now close the door and get to work.
Are you Ready for a Rewarding Career in Social Media Marketing?
To start your path to a social media marketing career, check out Concordia's marketing program.