It’s 2022 so there’s no excuse for any business not to have a social media presence. With roughly 4 billion social media users around the globe, leveraging the power of social media is not an option but a necessity. Though social media is not the solution to all your marketing woes, it is a reliable tool to increase your brand’s popularity, communicate and build relationships with customers, and inform customers about your business and products. Additionally, it is a good way to attract new people and find out what old and new customers think about your products and services.
This article talks about why social media is integral to promoting your business and how you can make the most out of social media for marketing.
While the fact that billions of people are on social media is astounding enough, if you factor in the detail that each person spends around 2.5 hours of social media a day, then you can fully understand how powerful social media is. Below are the pros and cons of using social media for business:
- Reach – Social media is available in almost all parts of the world, so anything you post has the potential to reach millions of people.
- Low (or zero) cost – Making a social media page requires no more than an internet connection and an internet-capable device. Paid options for business pages are often low-cost.
- Fast – Create a post and spread information in a matter of minutes, or even seconds.
- Beginner-friendly – It doesn’t take a computer science degree to participate in social media. Average computer skills and a standard computer are enough.
- Personal and interactive – Unlike traditional advertising, social media marketing allows companies to communicate with customers on a personal basis. Communication is two-way, and the company can get immediate feedback while the client can get immediate results whether for an inquiry or a purchase.
- Range of features – With social media, you can target specific audiences based on criteria such as age or location. This often leads to greater engagement and conversion rates. But that’s only one of social media’s many business-optimized features.
- Privacy issues – Handling customer information with care is key to avoiding legal trouble. This requires an investment in cybersecurity.
- Little or no tangible return – Going viral on social media should not be the ultimate goal. Without setting goals and gauging them properly, social media popularity cannot translate to real gains.
- Bad publicity – A badly phrased post or reply can earn ire from customers and other internet users. Content should undergo rigorous quality control to avoid sticky situations like this.
Clearly, the benefits of using social media for business outweigh the risks, and the risks can be mitigated with enough knowledge and experience. So, the next question is, how should social media be used for marketing your business?
Sadly, there is no singular, foolproof step-by-step guide to ensure that you can succeed in using social media for business promotion. The good news is that there are some social media tips that are generally useful for all sorts of businesses.
Just because it costs zero cents to start a Facebook page or Twitter account doesn’t mean you should dive in without a plan. Every great business strategy starts with a great plan. Here are the key elements of a social media strategy:
- Specific and measurable goals – Is your goal to expand your customer base or to introduce a new product? Whatever it is, it should be stated in clear and objectively measurable terms. For example, you can say you want to acquire 1000 new customers in a month. These goals will become the metrics you will measure and use for possible adjustments.
- Research your competitors – How are your competitors utilizing social media? Learn from their best practices and failures.
- Conduct a social media audit – If you’ve been using social media for a while, conducting a social media audit can help you evaluate your existing initiatives. Stick to what works and discontinue what doesn’t. On the other hand, if you haven’t opened a social media account yet, start with choosing the platforms suited for the audience you want to target and the nature of your business.
- Create a social media calendar – Posting the right content in the right channels at the right time is easier if you have a calendar. The 80-20 rule is recommended for deciding content. 80% of your posts should be informative or entertaining and only 20% should be direct promotions.
Besides researching your competitors, it also pays to research your target customers. Which social media platform are they usually on? At what time and day? These details will help you build a successful social media marketing strategy. However, it is equally important to know and establish your own brand. Having a consistent style for your visual materials as well as your writing should be prioritized. Last but not least, remember that setting the tone for your business starts with determining your brand’s goal and values.
While you plan for hosting post-pandemic events, it would be worthwhile to build a community online in the meantime. Building a community is helpful because it assures you that there are people who will engage with each other and help you promote content. Plus, the content made by people in your community can be used to encourage other people to try your products.
Inevitably, you’ll run into misunderstandings and face negative reviews on social media. Addressing these issues with grace, humility, and speed is key to building your brand equity with social media.
When using social media to promote your business, you should have a plan, know your business and your customers, and foster an engaging and positive community.
Sophia Young is a content writer covering lifestyle and fashion topics. She’s actively participating as a guest blogger for various blogs and has been co-authoring some articles of her colleagues. She’s currently enrolled in a content marketing course hoping to expand her knowledge in digital marketing.SOPHIA YOUNG