As a start-up or small business owner, you’ve already realised that there is a lot to accomplish with limited resources, including setting up an effective marketing strategy. You’ve probably also realised that traditional forms of marketing can be expensive.
This is where social media marketing comes in. Social media is transforming the way business is carried out; marketing costs are usually lower and it gives you a direct line to current and prospective customers. A recent study by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK found that nearly 80 percent of consumers would be more inclined to buy more often in the future because of a brand’s presence on social media. For small firms knowing how to capitalise on this is crucial to the success of their business. To achieve your desired results you have to think smart and use the resources on offer efficiently. With this in mind, here is our guide for start-ups and small business owners on a budget:
Building your Brand using Social Media.
Research, Audience and Strategy
Essentially, social media is about connecting with your audience on an authentic level. To do this you have to understand your current and potential customers intimately. Behind every social media campaign is a detailed strategy. Start by defining your audience, and then write down three key marketing messages you want to communicate to them. Now find out which social networks they are using, and how.
Coordinate Your Social Channels
Your success will be limited if you treat each social media platform as a stand-alone effort. Your networks should work together to help you achieve your goals. Think of your website as your brand’s home base and aim to coordinate social media efforts to direct people to your website where they can buy your product or service.
It’s also a good idea to have a blog on your website. You can use this space to establish your brand’s voice, share relevant information and engage with your site visitors. By encouraging visitors to comment and responding to what they say, you have a valuable opportunity to create a rapport with them and lead them through your sales funnel.
Now that you’ve defined your target audience and you know where to reach them, it’s time to get social. The most important thing at this point is to start small. Social media takes time and energy which are precious resources, especially in a small business. Set yourself up for success by starting with a manageable load, choosing just one or two platforms to start with.
It’s important to remain consistent with your efforts, so try to incorporate social media into your daily routine. It’s an important part of your marketing so block out time in your diary to dedicate to managing your social media accounts.
Listen and Share
The great thing about social media is that conversations are happening all around in real time. Social listening is the perfect tactic to monitor what people are saying about your brand. Make sure you respond to comments, mentions and feedback, even if they are negative!
Your listeners also need something to listen to! Content is the crux of social marketing and unfortunately creating and sharing good content can slow and time-consuming. Set up a process for organising and aggregating quality content that provides value to your audience. Add this to your content pot and you can share it when you’re ready.
After creating and sharing content, it is also critical to measure and analyse your results. Tracking the impact of your data is the best way to identify which tactics are working and which aren’t. Most social networks have tools you can use to track and measure your performance such as Google analytics and Twitter analytics. Take note of growth, engagement and sharing, and, review your metric reports regularly, using what you learn to make adjustments to your strategy.
When using social media as a marketing strategy for your start-up or small business, the most important thing to remember is that social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Follow these steps and you’ll be positioned for success!