The biggest failures small businesses face in social media come from not knowing who their consumers exactly are, who they’re competing against, what platforms to target, and how to engage their audiences. Most are unaware of native analytics in all major social networks and don’t know how to better integrate their online and offline marketing activities or how to automate their scheduling.
In this blog, I will be showing you seven crucial social media marketing tips that small businesses should know before embarking on their social media journey.
Always remember that having competitors who target the same set of people is great because you can always check what is working for them and what isn’t, and use this knowledge to adjust your own marketing strategy.
My advice is starting out with the big fishes. These guys must be doing something right to get the kind of following and engagements they have, so why not learn from the best? There are a few easy ways of doing this.
For instance you can use Facebook’s Pages to identify your best performing competitors and compare their activity, engagements, and audience growth rates to your own. You can see what content they’re posting, how often, and at what time of the day they’re posting. Remember to not only look at their follower count but total engagements: it will tell you how their followers are interacting with their content. Brands with higher engagement rates are usually the ones to keep an eye on.
Not entirely sure who your competitor is? That’s fine. There are many tools available online that can help you find the competitors you might not know. For example, with SEMrush’s Competitive Positioning Map, you simply need to do is to enter your URL. This tool will automatically compile data showing you the top competitors, how much traffic and engagements they’re getting and the keywords they’re actually ranking for:
Pay close attention to the bubbles located above you and to the right of your screen. They represent the competitors whose traffic exceeds yours and who are ranking higher for more keywords than you are.
This report will give you an excellent idea of who has a stronger online presence and who is investing heavily in their marketing. Brands investing in marketing and getting loads of traffic have strong social presence, so they should be your radar.
If you need more advanced social media analytics, tools like Klear, Rival IQ, SproutSocial, or SEMrush can provide them. It will help you track your competitors’ social pages to see how their content perform, how much engagement they are getting, which hashtags they utilize, and what special offers they’re running on social media.
Note: Never skip the competitive analytics if you’re starting out. Your competition has tried-and-tested methods of what works and what doesn’t. Utilize them to your advantage.
There are a lot of social media platforms out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to be on all of those.
If you are starting out your social media journey from zero, it’s a good strategy to pull together a survey and ask your subscribers which social media platforms they prefer or use the most.
If you’re already active on SM platforms, check their efficiency. Compare the size of your audiences across different platforms, your engagements, and engagement rate metrics. For instance, the overview report in Social Media Trackers shown below will give you an idea of which platforms are worth putting effort into:
Another way to pick the right target platform is to analyze your competitors’ activity. Check which platforms they put their energies into, and start targeting them too. In essence, your chances of getting noticed by the audience will double.
ProTip: Be ruthless in getting rid of some of your handles and prioritize your social media marketing capability. Not ready to make videos? Skip YouTube altogether. Don’t have time for writing? Leave blogs for now and concentrate on one or two platforms.
Creating social media content takes time, but not as much when you have the right tools at hand.
For instance, Inoreader will help you find relevant content and keep up with your information sources. It allows you to save any web pages for viewing later, and subscribes to social feeds (even with the free-version you can subscribe to as many resources as you like).
Photos and videos you take can be quickly processed with tools like VSCO and Canvas right from your mobile device. Tools like SEMrush Poster, Buffer, and Sprout Social, will help you with scheduling and posting it across different social networks.
Now, Social media managers are always at risk of making errors, and social media can be ruthless if you make even a minor mistake. Use spell check tools like Grammarly to keep your brand’s reputation intact.
To find any hashtags, use RiteTag—it is an absolute must have for any social media manager. It gives you tag suggestions for images or text on any site or social network. All it takes is a simple right-click on the text or image.
Key Takeaway: have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule or Pareto principle? Apply ite to the time you invest in social media. Plan 80 percent of the content in advance, and spend the other 20 percent on live conversations with an audience.
In case you don’t make an effort to automate your posting schedule, you will never have the time to focus on things that can genuinely help your business.
If you manage several different social networks at once, consider tools like Social Media Poster and Hootsuite. Instead of switching between different tabs to post in each individual network, you will be able to schedule content for all of your social handles from one tab and create a personalized posting routine. You’ll have several scheduling options as well, whether you want your posts to go live immediately, schedule it for a later time or create a draft and revisit it when the time is right:
There are two sides to this.
The first is about monitoring your online mentions across the website and responding to them. The second is about not forgetting to respond to your followers’ messages on social media. Both are important if you want your business to succeed. So how can you manage both?
People will talk about your brand or service across the web. And they will either be very happy with your brand and want to say a thank you, or they’ll be disappointed. Therefore, you have to respond to both types of mentions, be it a very positive review or a total diss.
Social monitoring tools such as SEMrush Brand Monitoring, Mention.com, or Brand24.com track and categorize your online mentions, help you find influencers, and identify new opportunities for promotions.
If you have more than one social handle, I’d recommend trying Buffer Reply. It assists you in keeping all your social conversations in one team inbox and you can respond to them from the tool’s interface. Another good thing about Buffer Reply is that it offers you sufficient data about the person you’re talking to, allowing you as well as your team to create personalized responses for them.
Keep in Mind: Your consumers may contact you directly, or they may leave a review. Either way, they want and need to be heard by you. Make communication with your audience a priority, whether online or offline.
Test different content formats. You should try quizzes, videos, live streaming, and anything else you can think of. Take pictures of your products, consumers with your products, competitors with your product, and cats (or dogs) with your product. Try jokes, memes, and even funny statements—experiment with the huge potential of humor. Don’t forget to set up an engagement metric for all the content. Otherwise, how will you know what’s working and what isn’t?
You can entertain your audiences with thematic and occasion-based marketing campaigns. These could be campaigns built around certain holidays and events such as an game release or a TV series premiere. They usually require minimum effort and investment on your part. Because the interest in that event is already there before you even begin, all you need to do is utilize it to attract people’s attention to your product or service.
Remember: Test, experiment with, and measure metrics for different types of content. See how your audience responds and then test it over again. Social media marketing is all about experimenting, innovating and evolving with time.
Surely you must have thought about running some special offers and competitions for your consumers! You should make an effort to promote your offers and sales through social media handles. All it takes to integrate your online and offline marketing campaigns is the right hashtags. Tools like Ritetag and Hashtagify will not only help you brainstorm new hashtags but also show you the popularity, potential reach and impact of specific terms:
Remember to make a branded hashtag for your product or service and an additional hashtag for any marketing activities.
The same goes for your offline events. Organizing a charity ball or an e-mail marketing panel? Be sure to create a location specific hashtag to help you connect with your local audiences. Examples: #dallasfood ,#wintergardenfarmersmarket, #phillysports. Keep in mind that hashtags are ever changing so you will need to change your hashtags after a while.
Remember: Promoting any offline events online is an essential step to a successful marketing campaign. Integrate your offline and online marketing with the use of right hashtags.
Do you have any more tips for small businesses wishing to grow their presence and reputation on social media platforms? Let us know in the comments below!