Originally published on May 10, 2018. Updated on June 30, 2020.
You’ve started your own business. You’ve got a steady stream of customers. You’ve got a website. You’ve got a great reputation and plenty of word-of-mouth recommendations. Things are going well – really well – and you’re looking to take your business to the next level. Social media marketing will play a key part of this, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to set up some accounts. From there, you can develop a social media marketing strategy.
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Getting started with social media marketing
First things first, what accounts do you need?
Well, it depends a little on your business, but we always recommend Facebook and LinkedIn. These two create a solid foundation. Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world, which means it has enormous reach, as well as a really comprehensive advertising platform that means you can connect directly with your target customers. LinkedIn is a business networking platform, which is a great way to connect with other business leaders in your area and stay across the latest trends and developments in your sector.
Of course, there are many other platforms available for businesses to join. If your business is lifestyle based, very visual, or primarily works with women, you might find it helpful to have an Instagram page. If your business primarily works with young people, you might want to consider a TikTok. If you work in a technical field and most of your customers are men, you could consider investing in YouTube. Different platforms are optimized for different demographics, and each one has its pros and cons in terms of ROI.
When you’re starting out, however, Facebook and LinkedIn are great first steps.
Read more: What are Facebook Ads and how to we use them?
How social media marketing works
Second, you’re going to need to develop some content – but how can you tell if it’s working?
There are four key factors that determine whether your social media marketing strategy is successful or not: reach, engagement, leads, and conversions. We’ll delve into the first two in a little more detail below.
Social media marketing for reach
Put simply, reach means the people who are seeing your messaging. This includes the people who follow your account, as well as the people who see any ads you run across the network. As you can imagine, the bigger the reach, the better your chance of targeting the right people, so it helps to develop a big audience.
This means publishing the kinds of content that people actually want to see – for example, things that are interesting, amusing, or helpful. It could be a snippet of important local news, a how-to guide to solving a common problem your customers face, or a personality filled post with an accompanying image that will brighten someone’s day. This will make you memorable and will ensure as many people follow you as possible.
However, social media marketing is different than traditional marketing. In the pre-internet days, advertisers would post messages everywhere, with the hope that casting a wide net would generate a few bites from the right consumers. Facebook’s biggest attribute is undoubtedly its ability to cultivate audiences based on interests. The people following you will be interested in your business, as well as your products or services, which makes them far more likely to take you up on any offers, deals, or promotions you’re running.
As you can see, reach is a really important component of your social media marketing strategy, so we recommend spending a little bit of time thinking about your target customer and creating a buyer persona. Then, it’s a great idea to sit down and create an editorial calendar with a bunch of ideas of interesting and engaging things you can post and share to capture this person’s attention. Make your account as interesting as possible!
Read more: 10 tips for optimizing your social media.
Engagement is the core of social media marketing
Once you’ve built your reach, you need to focus on engagement. You’ve figured out who your target customers are, you’re posting interesting content, and you’ve built up a solid audience of current and prospective buyers. The next step is to elicit a response from them, which will ensure you’re top of mind when they need you. There are three main responses you will want to watch for and track: likes, shares, and comments.
Likes are important on a post because they show the algorithms of most platforms that this content is something people “like,” which means it warrants making it into more people’s feeds or a higher ranking in search results. Also, people tend to pay more attention to a post with more likes; it means to us that this post is “popular” and we should follow the crowd and like it too. It’s a relatively passive response, but it means your posts will show up in newsfeeds extending past the collection of people who follow your account. Free advertising? Sign us up!
Shares have a lot more value than likes, because it functions as an endorsement. Pay attention to how many shares your posts receive, because the more, the merrier. When your material is being shared, that means you are hitting the mark and producing content your followers find interesting enough to share with their friends. Essentially, they are putting their name behind the material once they send it out to all of their friends, colleagues, family, etc. This is great when it comes to building awareness of your brand and promoting special offers.
Comments are a good indicator of engagement because they mean that your material is resonating with people and they want to take the time to leave a comment. Of course, there’s no way to control what people will say, and you may get a mixture of positive and negative feedback, but we encourage our clients to open up comments for a couple of reasons. First, comments show that your material is hitting the mark with your target audience. It’s not boring! Congrats. Second, allowing comments is an excellent opportunity to have a conversation with the people who have chosen to view the content your company is putting out. Anytime you can have a conversation it is a great chance for you to engage and learn more about your customers and prospects.
Read more: Facebook Ads – what analytics should I track?
Leads and conversions in social media marketing
That’s all we have time for today, but stay tuned for another blog about using social media to develop leads and drive conversions. In the meantime, you can read more about capturing qualified leads with landing pages, or if you work in the functional medicine sector, how you can use marketing to convert leads.
Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation.