Social media is an often overlooked aspect of marketing amongst small businesses. Running a successful business today requires a lot more marketing effort than just taking an ad out in the local newspaper or buying a spot on the local radio station. Even traditional brick and mortar stores need a social media presence, and the absence of one can mean lost opportunities for your business.
Putting your business on social media will give you a global reach. And your business will receive exposure to countless millions of potential customers who would otherwise not read the newspaper or listen to the radio. Since almost everyone has a smartphone today, seeing an advertisement through a website or an app is more common than seeing an advertisement on television.
Think about the number of free advertisements businesses receive with social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Restaurants receive free promotions each time a customer takes a picture of the food and posts it on Instagram. Boutique fashion stores receive free advertisement whenever someone posts a picture of a new outfit on Facebook. Small business owners can use Pinterest as a store catalog to showcase their products. People rush to Youtube for reviews and product demonstrations.
In this article, will discuss some popular social media platforms, where to sign up for them, and some tips on how to best use them. You may even want to learn more information about a FaceBook Manager Account.
The power of social media marketing is that you can narrow or widen the scope of your audience. Do you want to market to specific geographic regions? Gender? Device used? Social media marketing allows you to choose who you want to target, thus increasing the conversion rate and your business sales and profile. Your advertising dollar is better used–it’s aimed at your demographic as opposed to a specific time slot on a radio show or printing of a newspaper.
The most prominent social media platform is Facebook. It boasts 2 billion monthly active users. Signing up for a Facebook account is easy if you don’t already have one. You can visit their website and sign up for an account. After you create your account, you can then create a Facebook Page for your business. Go to the Facebook Pages link and sign up your business. The Facebook page works similarly to your personal Facebook account, so the layout should be familiar.
You can remove your personal information from the Facebook Page if you’d like. You can find the page settings near the top of the page (pictured below) along with the Tab settings in the screenshots below.
Here are some tips to maximize your use of Facebook pages:
- Fill out information about your business, including the About Us and other tabs
- Your Facebook Page is indexed, so make sure you use keywords and phrases
- Customize your tabs so that you provide relevant content
- Actively manage your Facebook page by commenting, responding, and sharing content
- Engage your audience by asking questions and prompting responses
- Tag other posts
- Create Facebook ads to promote your business
Instagram is a social media platform designed for sharing photos and videos. Because this app is convenient to use, people are more likely to share with their followers. A 2016 TechCrunch article states that there are approximately 375 million active monthly users, so the platform is a great way to market your business. Because Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, you can integrate Instagram into your Facebook page.
First, you’ll need to visit Instagram’s Business page, where you log in to create ads. You can find the Instagram Business page here. When you’re using Instagram, be sure to use appropriate hashtags. Hashtags are words or phrases that begin with the pound (#) sign. These hashtags make your posts visible to people searching the site. You want to use brand-specific and general hashtags so that you can cross-promote. For instance, if you are selling tea, then you want to use #tea or #greentea. However, you want to avoid using too many hashtags. You can manage your Instagram from your Facebook page as well, making it easier to cross-post your business. You can sign in and set up that feature in the Instagram setting from Facebook Pages below.
Here are some other ways to utilize Instagram to improve your marketing.
- Share your followers’ pictures and respond to their posts
- Post photos and videos of your products or the result of your service
- Engage your followers by inviting them to share photos with your products
- Invite comments and discussions
Another popular platform for users is Twitter. Twitter puts its active monthly users at 328 million. You can sign up for a Twitter ad campaign here. If you are just signing up, you’ll need to be active on Twitter for some time to be eligible to use its ad campaign. As with Instagram, you want to make sure your Twitter account is active. Here are some Twitter tips.
- Tweet regularly to show that your business is active
- Follow and engage with trends so that your business shows up when people see those tweets
- Retweet material that fits your business philosophy or brand
You should similarly make use of Youtube for your business. Youtube has 1 billion active monthly users. You can sign up for a Youtube account here. Once you’ve created your Youtube account, you can begin to share your content. Many people prefer videos over text and photos. If you’re selling fashion and fashion accessories, you could have models showcasing your product. Likewise, for electronics, you could demonstrate new and exciting features.
Depending on your business, you can use this platform in many ways:
- Post videos about your business: interviews, your story, or your brand
- Post product demonstrations–people love to watch demos of new features for electronics
- Show tutorials for your products if they are complex
- Introduce new product offerings or a brand
Ideally, you should be using several social media platforms to promote the launch of a new product. Cross promotion is the best way to reach a broad audience. In addition to email lists, social media platforms allow businesses to create a loyal customer base, making advertising and marketing easier than it was in the past.
Other popular media platforms exist, like Pinterest. Many small businesses that cater to artistic and creative customers use Pinterest to advertise their catalog of products. Pinterest is a fantastic platform for such a use because of its ability to create Group Boards. These group boards showcase a particular subject and allow others to contribute. One popular site to search for boards is PinGroupie. Here’s an example of one group board, CHIC GOWNS AND DRESSES with 290,000 pins and 31,000 followers.
Other social media platforms exist, and there are far too many to go over. For instance, each country has different social media platforms due to regulations and preferences. So if you’re selling in Asian (namely, China) countries, you may want to look into QZone, WeChat, and Tencent’s QQ. Japan’s top social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Any business today would be making a big mistake ignoring social media. These platforms give you a worldwide reach, and one promotional or trending topic can catapult your business onto the international stage. Actively managing and promoting your business through these social media platforms will give your business an enormous advantage over competitors who don’t want to learn or use such platforms.