How to Get Started with Social Media Marketing header

How to Get Started with Social Media Marketing

If there is one thing that is hard about creating a presence on social media for your small business – it is getting started. This is particularly true nowadays, when social media is as diverse as never before. However, the good news is that the majority of your customers and potential customers have coalesced in the major social media channels, making it a missed opportunity not to be present on platforms (such as Facebook) where the party is currently going on without you (and with your competitors while at it).

This post will help you figure out where you should be present, and how to take the first steps to creating a community around your small business. First things first: Why bother?

There are a few reasons. First and foremost:

  1. The power of words of mouth. Your current customers are your biggest asset – you already know that. But how many of their friends and family know they’re your customers? Probably their very close social network, if at all. But if they talk about your business with their social media network, that’s hundreds of strangers now hearing about your business. By being present on social media you can create that impact simply by leveraging what you’re already doing anyway. People trust recommendations from peers more than any other form of advertising. If you’re already selling to people, why not make it easy for them to become your ambassadors?
  2. You’re losing some of your current customers by not being present. Nowadays customers expect any business to provide customer support on social media.
  3. Your competitors are there.

There are so many channels and such little time, how can you tell where to focus your efforts?

Learning where your customers and potential customers hang out is the first step towards building successful social media community. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat those are the most popular social media platforms out there. There are plenty of social media platforms to choose from, and without a mouth-watering budget and a team of dozens, it is virtually impossible to use them all. But there’s no need to panic – you don’t need to be everywhere. What you need to do is narrow your choices down, and you do that by analyzing your current and potential customers. Who are they, where do they hang out online? Ask your customers, maybe even give them a discount or a special offer if they would answer a short survey. If you want to opt for a default network, start by creating a  Facebook business page – with more than two billion active monthly users, Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform and as such, for most small business that aren’t super niche – it’s a safe choice (and one that most businesses shouldn’t overlook).

How to open a Facebook page

Opening a Facebook page for your small business shouldn’t take longer than 5 minutes. Here is a link to do so. You’ll need to think of a short description for your business and to upload a profile picture and a cover photo.

Facebook page setupImage credit: Facebook

How to get people to follow your brand or product

Of course, setting up the business blocks for your social presence isn’t enough. You’ll now need to gather a following.  There are a few quick hacks that’ll help you do just that:

  • Invite all your customers to follow you on social media
    • If you have a local store, add an invite to your printed receipts, wrapping papers, bags etc. Also, encourage people to “check-in” to your business and to share photos of their experience (offer them a loyalty reward in return).
    • If you send out emails, add invites through them. If you have a database of customer emails, send them all an email inviting them to join your new social media community.
    • When speaking with customers, mention your new social community.
  • Encourage your current customers to invite their friends to join your social community.
  • Advanced tip: buy an ad to target relevant audiences and invite them to join your social media community.

The type of content you should publish

Despite what you might think, there is a lot of content that’s already at your disposal simply by being there in your business. You social media community is the insider’s club for your customers and potential customers. Start publishing content that will appeal to your customers and potential customers. This could be:

  • Behind the scenes pictures of the day to day of your product or brand. You can also use your smartphone to shoot short videos and share them
  • Customer spotlights – choose a loyal customer and thank them publicly
  • Share social community members only benefits discounts and rewards

Don’t worry about making this pixel perfect. Social media is about being authentic and “rough” so you can upload what you may not feel comfortable publishing anywhere else.

Codes of conduct

  • When engaging with your social media followers let the following rules guide you:
    – If they asked you a question, make sure to provide a proper and timely answer.
  • try to solve customer problems as quickly and painlessly as possible. Depending on the media in use, throw a little sprinkle of comedy relief around your activities.
  • Always attempt to show the human side of our business – that is the best way to connect with your customers and create a long-lasting, meaningful relationship.

Adding paid advertising to the mix

All of the above mentioned things will help you reach your current and potential customers on the place they spend a lot of their time – social media. However, it’s worth noting that there’s a glass ceiling you might get curious about shattering with time. Nowadays there’s a limit to the amount of people you’ll be able to reach without having to pay for exposure. Don’t let this discourage you – being on social media is crucial with or without paid efforts and as you’ve hopefully learned by reading this post, there’s a lot you can do that can help your small business grow.

Summing things up

There is a lot of untapped potential on social media and it’s actually very easy to join the party. By leveraging your largest asset – your current customers, you can build a thriving community around your product or service and turn your customers to your ambassadors. Don’t be afraid to get started, experiment and be authentic. People will appreciate it and with time, you’ll reap the rewards of your efforts.

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