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“In just seven years, newsrooms have been completely disrupted by social media. Social media skills are no longer considered a niche, and solely the responsibility of a small team in the newsroom. Instead, social media affects the way the whole organisation runs.” – Claire Wardle – Previously, Research Director of the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School

Over the past two decades, the emergence of social media has drastically changed the information and communication technology. In these unprecedented times of global lockdown, while many businesses face uncertainty, the world is continuing to see digital transformation rise to another level.

Social media, defined by its connectivity, interactivity, and user-generated content, is growing to be one of the primary marketing channels. Nearly half of the world’s population and over three billion of all internet users utilise social media for information, entertainment, and news consumption. Now imagine 1% of 3.96 billion people purchased products or services from your business. Catch our drift?

In recent years, this comprehensive social platform has transformed into a digital marketing and communication hub among experts across industries encompassing news & journalism, media & entertainment, tourism & hospitality, retail & e-commerce, food & beverages, health & fitness, sports & recreation, lifestyle & influencers and more

Furthermore, the development of smartphones has dramatically shifted the social media dynamics, with about 66% of digital market penetration. 99% of the total active social media users across the globe access it via mobile devices with a 2.9% increase in social media users in the UK alone since last year. This allows consumers and businesses to connect anywhere, at any time on any device. Read on more to get a deep understanding of social media for your business.

1. What does Social Media mean for SME’s?

Across industries, social media is no more looked upon as just a ‘nice to have’ marketing and communication network. It has evolved into an essential component of any digital marketing strategy. Social Media provides immense opportunities for sales and growth for businesses all over the world, especially SME’s. An online presence integrated with sustained social media advertising has a significant impact on business success in terms of increased awareness, traffic, and revenues. It helps struggling SME’s to communicate cost-effectively with their customers on a global scale. Through social media, businesses can

  • Increase brand awareness.
  • Humanise their brand
  • Reach customers globally.
  • Boost brand engagement.
  • Build a community around the business.
  • Foster customer loyalty.
  • Establish brand trust.
  • Increase brand advocacy for customers in the region.
  • Grow influencer marketing.
  • Establish authority and industry expertise.
  • Drive website traffic and increase your conversions.
  • Generate and nurture leads.
  • Boost sales and growth.
  • Integrate with other channels.
  • Expand business connections.
  • Improve recruitment prospects.
  • Support customers.

According to a survey, the average amount of time each day that internet users aged 16-64 spend on social media is two hours, twenty-two minutes which makes up about 35% of the total internet usage. About 45% of survey respondents have reported spending more time on their social media due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.

3. How to Create a Social Media Presence for your business?

Step 1: Establish Goals for all social media platforms.

When establishing goals for all social media platforms of your brand, it is recommended to take the 3-step approach of awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Source: Hootsuite/ Global Report Q3

Step 2: Determine the brand’s voice.

The next step is to determine the brand’s voice. Brand Voice symbolises the personality and values of your business. It’s how your brand communicates its content and tone with the target audience. The overall brand voice of your business should be steady for all its content to develop a robust image in mind of the target audience. A successfully defined and implemented tone of voice is crucial to building brand recognition. While the brand voice remains consistent through all the social media platforms, the tone may change from time to time, depending on the audience, the medium/type of media and the set goals.

Why Does a business need to define its brand voice?

  • Builds Connection – The way a brand interacts with its audience helps to forge a strong bond with it. This correspondence allows your business to understand consumer problems and how to overcome them, hence developing brand loyalty for a lifetime. When deciding among brands, 65% of survey respondents say they are more likely to choose a brand they feel connected to emotionally.
  • Develops Trust – When you share values like donation and charitable work with your audience, 77% of consumers are most likely to buy the products or services that your business offers as they develop a feeling of trust with you.
  • Source: Oberlo/ Branding Statistics

  • Boosts Business Revenue – According to a survey, the average revenue growth of 33% along with 3-4 times more brand visibility is attributed to the consistency in the brands’ voice
  • Source: Oberlo/ Branding Statistics

  • Creates Brand Image – With the consistent voice and tone being used across all channels, 80% perception of your brand developed in the mind of consumers is built upon signature colours improving your brand recognition.
  • Source: Oberlo/ Branding Statistics

How to define and implement your brand’s tone of voice?

  • Acquire a clear understanding of your companies’ mission and vision statement – that aligns with your long-term business goals. Ensure the brand voice complements and supports the core values of your company.
  • Learn about your audience – to structure your message with the right choice of words and language so that it resonates with your target audience.
  • Track your audience insights on social media – to explore how your customers interact with your brand, and what are their interests? By knowing your audience well, you can develop a meaningful and unique brand voice.
  • Review current content – to analyse what it currently resonates and what you want it to change to now by choosing the dimension of your tone, whether you want it to be casual or formal, entertaining or informative?
  • Create a brand voice chart – by putting the brand’s characteristics along with a brief explanation about them under the description, followed by the do’ and don’ts of each attribute

With the data in hand, you can now maintain consistency in the eyes of consumers and move forward as one brand. A consistent brand voice helps your audience to recognise and be familiar with your positioning in the market.

Step 3: Know your audience: Understanding Social Media Personas.

Social media personas are defined as the illusory characteristics of your potential consumers. Who is your customer? Where can you find them? And what content do they like? These are some basic questions you need to sort out to define and layout a picture for your consumers.

In today’s world, people crave for personalisation. They have the urge to feel emotionally connected to the brand. Get to know your audience and tailor your message in a way that attracts them. You cannot reach everyone in the market; you need to target your audience based on their demographics, geographic, and psychographics who will show interest in your brand. Every person has likes or dislikes. What fits well with one persona may not be liked by another; hence you end up wasting your energy and money by marketing your products and services to a broader audience.

Q – How to Develop and implement your brands’ social media Personas?

Developing social media personas needs extensive research so that you can reach your potential consumer. Following are some crucial points that one should put light on when developing personas:

  • Identify your audience – You need to know everything about your target audience. Detailed documentation of who your targeted audience is and where they are should be developed. These are some factors that you can dig into, age, gender, location, income/spending power, personality traits, goals, pain points, and brands they support.
  • Choose the networks – You don’t need to be present on every social network site in the market. Exist where your target audience is. Penetrate in those platforms and capture the attention. Choose your networks carefully as it profoundly influences the tone of voice you will use for the content.
  • Determine your tone of voice – Now it’s time to work on the tone of voice for the content you are creating to attract your consumer. Every site has its content limitation and personalised style, so what works for one social media platform may not work for the others. Hence, carefully choose the best tone that simply gives your message. The tone symbolises your brand perception and culture in the market; therefore, it should be inspiring.
  • Update your Social Media Profile – Now it’s time to update all your social media channels to appeal to your buyer personas. Add a logo, tagline, and necessary information about your brand in the about section. Add visually appealing content to captivate your audience instantly. Do not change personas as it makes you inconsistent.
  • Create and Post Content Frequently – Create and post content on your social media channel regularly to enhance engagement in your feed. Continuous brand hammering is required to develop a brand image in the mind of consumers, and for this, your business page always needs to be active. Along with this, come up with informative yet creative content that makes your business stand apart from the others to help build brand authority and expertise within your community.

Q – What are the tools to develop data-driven Buyer Personas?

Social Media Analytics – Get insights about your targeted customer by digging into social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. It shows the interests and preferences of your audience. Through hashtags, you can monitor what they have been searching on their social media. You can also track who the audience is, how much engagement is there and when do they interact through your social media posts.

Other Analytics – Look for your audience activities in CRM Data, Shopping Data and Google Analytics to help you identify what your potential consumer is doing and how they are responding to other brands.

Survey – Get yourself motivated to ask thousands of questions through frequent polls and surveys online. This assessment can help you to interact with the consumer directly while exploiting their needs and wants.

Step 4: Define Success Metrics.

Moving on, defining the success metrics is integral for businesses to measure their social efforts. Deciding the right type of metric with appropriate data will help you determine whether your social media marketing strategy was successful or not.

Set clear standards for your social media campaigns, while you determine your success metrics so that you know when success was achieved. If growing the exposure of your content is the primary goal of your social media brand awareness campaign, then you are tracking audience reach. Now with the goal in mind, what would you consider to be a successful reach for your content?

The metrics you track can change depending on the type of content you create, which platform you share to, and the goals you set for your social media marketing efforts.

4. Social Media Analytics: Understanding Social Media Metrics and KPI’s

The world of social media analytics can be confusing to wade into with a dozen of KPI’s to evaluate your business performance and continuous addition to its metrics almost weekly. From followers count to engagement rates, to impressions and reach, it’s a broad field of study. Based on your business goals, we’ve listed down some key social media metrics to track:

Awareness

If the primary goal and purpose of your social media strategy is to increase brand awareness and perception, then impressions and reach are each essential metrics for you to track. Now that you have set these benchmark metrics, its integral for you to understand the difference between them.

Impressions

Are the total number of times the post showed up on someone’s feed.

Reach:

Is the number of potential unique viewers that your post could have.

Engagement

You can evaluate your social media engagement with these metrics. You can measure this by observing your social posts for likes, comments, shares and clicks.

Conversions

These conversions are tied to both social media marketing and sales strategy. You can track the website traffic and new leads with tools like Google Analytics. You can also make use of lead generation campaigns to reach out to your potential customers.

Social media challenges and how to overcome them?

While Coronavirus continues to upend the world and the media takes centre stage, people around the globe are turning to social media challenges like #dontrushchallenge to keep the boredom at bay. At the same time, SME marketers are struggling to brainstorm solutions to some real challenges faced across social media networks. We’ve listed down some most common challenges and tips to overcome them.

Humanising your brand

Humans connect with humans, not logos.” – Amy Jo Martin, CEO of Digital Royalty

On the report of Trinity Mirror Solutions, 42% of consumers distrust brands with excessive power and influence. Consumers consider them to be part of the establishment and therefore remote and unreachable.

Stand out and win consumer trust by building a brand image that portrays your business as more approachable, relatable, and reachable. In other words, make your brand more human, just like the consumers.

Amy Jo Martin: How Humanising Your Brand Makes Money | Inc. Magazine

Dana White, President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), saw headlines and increased engagement levels after he accidentally revealed his phone number while responding to a fan tweet. As a consequence, Fox which previously held exclusive broadcasting rights to UFC through the year 2018, saw a boom in tune-ins which then translated into pay-per-view buys, ultimately helping UFC rank in the top MMA promotion in North America. Humanise your brand effectively on social media by following these tips.

  • Develop a unique brand voice – that fits the overall image you want your business to portray and which tunes in with your brand values. For instance, being a personal care brand, Dove maintains a voice that advocates women embracing natural beauty. The company defines its voice in a down-to-earth and soothing tone, that perfectly aligns with its products and message.
  • Showcase the community behind your brand – by recognising important team moments and celebrating employees. You can feature them in weekly posts and behind-thescenes videos exhibiting your work environment. Connect with your audience – by engaging with them through hashtags, reviews, polls, live streaming IGTV videos, likes, comments, personalised message responses, and by telling them your brand story.
  • Grow your Influencer Marketing – by partnering with social media influencers helping your brand build trust and connect with your target audience. You can collaborate with them through interviews, podcasts, and interactive Q&A session. In contrast, brand ambassadors are also a great asset to put a human face to your brand.
  • Consumers look up to social media influencers for product recommendations, reviews, etc., before they make a purchase decision. Alex Gastle, founder of an influencer marketing agency – Vetterview, in an interview states;

“Working with influencers that not only have established relationships with your target audience but also believe in your message is key to crafting consumer brand perception.”

Turning employees into brand advocates

While every business would like to think their employees are engaged, the reality is quite different. Only 13% of employees around the world are committed to business success and put discretionary effort into their work. Read on more to learn how to create an employee engagement program to turn your employees into brand advocates and amplify your brand image further.

  • Define a social media policy – providing guidelines to your employees to apprise them on identifying and selecting the appropriate subject matter to be shared on their social media.
  • Nurture and train your employees – providing them with recommendations on the preferred channels and content types as well as educating them social media best practices. You can also aid employees to build their social profiles and ask them to associate with your company on LinkedIn and other platforms.
  • Nominate star employees – empowering them with leadership opportunities by getting them involved first. Your star employees are insightful and always willing to take the initiative, and thus feel most valued when working towards the success of your business. This will motivate others to follow, as well.
  • Create an incentive – like an employee of the month, encouraging your employees to like, comment on, and share your top content and garner engagement on it. A little recognition goes a long way. Content shared by employees has two times higher engagement, adding credibility and trust to your brand.
  • Devise and evaluate analytics report – providing real-time updates on the progress of your employee advocacy programme. With the metrics in place, you can track, evaluate, and make improvements where necessary. While this program is in its initial stages, treat it as a “test and learn”. When done right, employee feedback can be an incredibly powerful tool in evaluating your business performance.
  • On average, your employees have a network that is ten times larger than your company’s followers base. Leveraging the power of their social connections can magnify your business reputation and help you reach a broader audience.

5. How to perform social media competitive analyses?

Although you can measure your social media success based on your networks’ metrics, does it show an accurate picture of where your business stands when a competitive analysis is performed across similar brands in the industry? A 10% increase in followers. A two-times increase in average engagement. While it’s great to have all those numbers rocketing the success metrics, you can get some real face value insights into what works and how you can improve your business in certain areas. Follow the steps below to perform a social media competitive analysis:

  • Identify your business competitors.
  • Gather the data.
  • Analyse their social media activity and web content.
  • Apply what you learned to your social networks.

6. How to create an effective social media content strategy?

After you have successfully established a social media presence for your business, it’s about time you start creating an effective social media content strategy by following the steps below:

Audit Your Content

A content audit can instantly let you know if your marketing strategy is working out or not. If your posts are not engaging for the target audience, there is no way you will ever succeed. A social media audit would also highlight your strong performing content so that you can use them as benchmarks to improve further and build your content.

Create a list of relevant keywords.

Social media listening is a tool used to monitor critical aspects of your brand’s social media. Some of these aspects being customer feedback, related keywords regarding prime discussions, and direct mention of your brand. This data can also range from information about competitors and industries of interest. It can further be used to gain valuable insights through features such as content suggestion and hashtag feed on LinkedIn, to manoeuvre the brand’s social media campaign better and in turn, be even more effective.

Research Industry Trends and Topics

It is of paramount importance to align your content according to the latest available research, trends, and high-interest discussions to keep maximum target audience retention. These steps are necessary to establish your brand as an authority in your industry. A few sources that can help your research can be newsletters, webinars, ebooks, blogs, and forums. Develop a posting schedule

This step depends on various aspects like the type of business, audience, and campaign. Nonetheless, here is an example of how often posts must be made on different social media platforms to keep the target audience engaged.

  • Pinterest: five-ten times per day.
  • Facebook: three-ten times per week.
  • Twitter: at least fives times a day.
  • LinkedIn two-five times per week.

It is important to realise not to send out mediocre posts just to meet or exceed the post target of each week. Much care should be put into the quality of the posts’ content. By using the analytics tools available, you can compare how much traffic you received for the set number of posts per week, and through this data decide the optimal frequency of posts for your goal.

Brainstorm Content Ideas

Here is when you must call upon your creative skills and come up with fascinating content that resonates with your target audience. Inspiration is key to maximising the brainstorming session. You need to put yourself in a position where you can manifest your ideas easily. You can look at your previous posts and see what kind of content your target audience reacted to most and play around from there. Or think of what your business can do and try to turn that vision into engaging content like, for example, live streaming and video sessions.

Gather Resources

When you have determined the nature and frequency of the content best suited for your target audience, you can begin gathering resources. Once you’ve determined the content types pertinent to your business and have decided on a cadence for content delivery, start gathering your resources.

Create Your content

It’s finally time to start the creation process. It is important to have achievable deadlines for project completion, make sure to build the social content that resonates with your brand voice, and speaks to your target audience. All of this should fall in according to the posting schedule that you decided prior.

Optimise your Content

Often overlooked, the optimisation process can give your content the edge it needs to reach its maximum effect, especially in a populated market. Here are a few optimisation techniques to enhance your audience engagement.

  • Include content-related images.
  • Adapt content for varying social channels.
  • Include hashtags related to content.
  • Shorten links for ease of understanding and reduced clutter.

Create a call to action

If your primary goal of social media marketing is to drive traffic to your website and turn your visitors into sales qualified leads (SQL’s), look no further. You can prompt your potential customers to take action with a clear and compelling CTA (Call-To-Action) like Book Now, Call Us, Visit Our Website. Subscribe To Our Channel, etc.

Amplify Your Efforts

After you have begun promoting your content on various platforms, think of ways you can further propel your content to a broader audience. A few forms of doing such can be growing your influencer marketing to further extend your reach based on their audience. Providing an incentive, i.e. a giveaway or discount for customers who share your content on their social media, is also a great way.

Put Paid Behind Your Best Content

Paid content or paid ads can significantly boost your content reach and engagement. Select the content which is already attracting the most traffic in your marketing campaign and put some paid magic behind it, to take it to that extra mile. Algorithms for acclaimed social media channels like Instagram and Facebook are now starting to favour paid content more than organic content. This goes to show how investing in paid content can do miracles for your campaign.

Engage with your audience

It is essential to engage with your audience, which can provide many benefits for your business, such as building trust and adding authenticity to the brand. Engagement can be in the form of responding to comments on social posts on various social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, etc. Asking questions and feedback in the comment sections where available is also a great tool to engage your audience.

Report Out

Now would be the time to track and monitor your set goals and measure your marketing performance. With the use of social media analytics tool, you can prepare your report using visual charts and graphs to demonstrate how your content has performed through various social environments. The analytics tool can also help you to identify trends in engagement levels for your content and can even place real business value on your social media marketing efforts.

Revisit and readjust your strategy

It is integral for businesses to stay up to date in the world of social media marketing and adapt to their findings when required. To stay ahead of the curve, you must continually revisit your marketing strategy and alter it based on the latest trends and the gathered analytical data.

Final Thoughts

In an article published by The Guardian last year, analysts predict that half of UK retail sales will be online within the next ten years.

Also, in recent months, the online retailer Amazon’s stock has rocketed to a 57.91% record high with a 40% rise in its share price. Amazon is currently reaping $11,000-asecond on its products and services amidst the lockdown.

Business models like these were made possible only with affordable digital technology and easy access to the internet, rather than traditional marketing methods.

Source: markets.businessinsider/stocks/amazon-stock

Follow these insights to put your best foot forward on Social Media. If you need any further assistance regarding your social media marketing, or if you’re considering rebranding your business, you can call us anytime at +44 7747 853337.

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