How To Get Started With Social Media Marketing For Your New Online Business
You are starting a new online business and have no idea where and how to begin with social media marketing. You have limited resources, you have a lot to do, you want to grow your business, you feel overwhelmed, you have no idea where to start and it is a completely new concept to you. Does this sound like you?
What is social media marketing? It is essentially online marketing communications and branding that utilises a number of social media networks to achieve your goals. Social media marketing activities include sharing images, videos, social content and paid social media advertising campaigns.
Social media marketing can be very cost-effective, and best of all you can begin doing it yourself without needing to hire a digital marketing agency or consultant. Why should I bother with social media? The answer is simple…it humanises your brand and reveals what your business gets up to.
Furthermore, social media marketing is pivotal for establishing and increasing your brand awareness, increasing search engine rankings, reaching customers, acquiring new customers, engaging with them and sharing your content.
To make it easy for you and help you get started with social media marketing, follow these 20 tips:
It starts with formulating a clear strategy! Ask yourself what are you trying to achieve? What are your competitors doing? Who are your customers? Strategy is essentially 'a logical flow from the determination of goals and objectives to the allocation of resources'.
Focus on one or two goals. Are you looking to increase sales? Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Are you looking to attain loyalty from your customers? When it comes to goal setting, a S.M.A.R.T goal is one that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Set objectives to meet your goals and ensure that they are measurable by analysing them. If a goal is to increase brand awareness then an objective maybe to increase brand mentions from social media by 30% in 6 months.
Your social media strategy approach should reflect your business brand by being true to your brand personality. Be yourself!
Define your target audience to ensure social media strategy success. It is about targeting the right audience with the right message. Understand who your customers are, the type of content they engage with most (photos, videos, tips) and what they are looking for.
Do some research and look at what your competitors are doing on social media to get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. What type of content are they posting? Are they posting photos, how to tips or product/tutorial videos? How much shares and likes are these posts getting?
Choose the right social media platform for what you are selling. Start on one or two social media networks relative to where your target audience spends most time on. Don’t overwhelm yourself by starting on several social media platforms, some which you may not even need to be on. Build and nurture a following on one or two social networks. Acquaint and familiarise yourself with the social media network.
Put effort into your social media page by ensuring you have an appropriate profile photo, cover photo, description and contact information. This can be your business brand logo or products.
If you are using two social media networks, ensure that they are consistent across both networks in terms of content and profile.
Create a consistent and frequent content/posting schedule or calendar. Social media management tools allow you to queue and schedule your content. Facebook has a handy schedule feature for posts that allows you to draft and schedule posts weeks or even months in advance.
You can use a social media management tool to manage your social media activities, and there is a plethora of tools available. Take some time and explore each one and familiarise yourself with them. HootSuite and Buffer are social management tool that allow you to schedule, analyse and monitor your social media activities. You may find that you need to use a combination to meet your goals/objectives and to suit your needs.
Manage your time effectively and automate content using those tools. Don’t over-automate, you still need to be human and create your own content/personally engage with your customers.
Content is king! Create and share quality content that your target audience will find valuable and informative. Don’t overdo it with promotional content, be consistent and share a mix of content.
Build and nurture a relationship with your followers and regularly engage with them through conversation/responses. Monitor what they are saying about your brand through social listening and don’t spend all your time just talking. Your followers/customers can do your marketing for you by sharing your content.
Do you have a website or are you creating one for your online business (or at least you should be)? Social media and your online website should be working together in unison. Include social media buttons on your web pages, add share buttons on your product pages.
Search engines love new and fresh content! Ensure to include a blog section on your website and start blogging regularly. Create interesting content and update your blog regularly, quality content gets rewarded and helps your website rank higher in search results.
Don’t stop there! Encourage your readers to share your content by including social media buttons in your blog posts. Blogging is part of building your business, building relationships, increasing SEO (search engine optimisation) and positioning your brand as an industry leader. Share and promote your blog posts on your social media pages.
Measure your progress and use analytical tools. What content that you are posting is generating most interest? What are your customers liking, sharing, commenting on most? How much traffic is being driven to your website from social media?
Make adjustments to your social media strategy tactics where necessary and over time based on the metrics and information gathered.
Lastly, be patient! Rome wasn't built in a day.
Abdaraouf Zouai is an experienced marketer, strategist and technophile with great fervor for marketing, imparting marketing insight and advocating all things marketing related. A storyteller - developing compelling content that inspires, educates and engages.