Good design doesn’t matter, right? Right?
Social media is notoriously divisive. You either love it, you hate it, or you really hate it.
If you fall into one of the latter categories, we get it. Social media is addictive. It’s often inauthentic, and it can leave us feeling less connected to others.
But whether you love it or you hate it, here’s the truth: every business needs social media.
Why? Because . . .
Literally everyone is on it. (Okay, maybe not everyone. Only about 4.5 billion people of the total 7.8 billion people on the planet. That’s more than half. But still, not everyone.)
Still not convinced that social media is the place to be? By the end of this article, you will be. Trust us. We’ll cover everything you need to know and then some.
For a business, social media is more than pretty pictures and clever captions. Social media, used wisely, can do all the heavy lifting your marketing manager used to do. (Just kidding. Don’t fire the guy.)
You may have heard of the marketing funnel, in which customers are moved along a step-by-step process that ultimately leads to the purchase of a good or service. Typically, the first step of this funnel is brand awareness. A customer can’t buy from you if they don’t know who you are.
With that in mind, let’s talk about how social media can be this perfect first step.
If you’re already a brand expert, skip on down. If not, we’ll give you a quick overview.
Let’s take ToasterTubs, for example. How do they differentiate between their company and all the other toaster/hot tub combos out there? After all, a hot tub is a hot tub . . . right?
Wrong! ToasterTubs is different, and they tell you how they’re different with every interaction. They don’t tell you that their bread is simply toasted. Instead, it’s “baked to perfection” with an “in-jacuzzi toaster pop-up unit.”
In other words, ToasterTubs is more than warm bread and warm water. It’s luxury.
The point is, you need to define what makes you unique. Lean into it, then take it to social media.
Okay, Back to Building
Establishing your brand on social media takes work. It also takes time and consistency. But it’s totally worth the effort. Start by:
Jeff Bezos famously said, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” On the internet, your personal brand is what people say about you after seeing your latest post.
Great social media content will increase traffic to your website. And more traffic = more sales. In fact, according to small business marketers, traffic generation is one of the major benefits of using social platforms. So if you’re looking for more customers (and really, who isn’t?) social media is a great place to start.
Your first goal is simple: create a profile on all the relevant platforms.
(What platforms are relevant to my business, you ask? We’ll cover that later on.)
Once your profile is live, you’ll want to post content that is clickable. That means posting interesting articles, compelling quotes, sharp images, and more. If the viewers like what they see . . . they click. And boom. They’re onto the next phase of the marketing funnel.
Clickable content is fun and easy. It can take the form of a shopping sticker on an Instagram story, a collections pin on Pinterest, or a product tag on a Facebook page. Or, if you want to start small, simply add a link to your bio. All of these features will send a viewer straight to your webpage with a click.
So far, these tips fall under the category of organic leads, meaning you don’t have to pay for them. If you want to take your social media marketing to the next level, you can invest in some paid social media ads. While this might cost you more money upfront, it’s proven to result in an even higher rate of conversion.
All this is to say, social media is a great marketing tool. It’s also a great customer service tool. If you’re looking for a better way to interact with your clients, answer their questions, and field their complaints, social media is a great way to do all of the above.
But with great power comes great responsibility. If you create a platform for your business, you need to deliver. Ignoring comments, questions, and concerns is bad for your brand.
From there, social media becomes a kind of choose-your-own-adventure experience. This can be fun, but intimidating—considering the fact that there are a million and one different platforms to choose from. Luckily, you don’t have to join every platform at once. Even one or two is enough to give you a leg up.
So what is a relevant platform? It’s whatever platform your clients (or potential clients) are on.
Below, we’ve covered what we like to call The Big Four. Keep reading to get a better idea of which platform(s) are relevant to your business.
Instagram is home to one billion users, making it a heavy hitter in the social world. The biggest demographic for this platform is people between the ages of 25 and 34, although 18- to 24-year-olds are a close second. It’s a great place to be if you work in the fashion, beauty, travel, or auto industries.
And if your business is teeming with visual appeal, even better. A cafe, for example, might thrive on Instagram by sharing images of their beautiful baked goods and latte art.
YouTube is more than funny cat videos and Charlie Bit My Finger. In fact, more than a quarter of the world’s population uses Youtube on a monthly basis. The platform has over two billion active users, with the primary demographic being people under 35.
A lot of small businesses are moving to video marketing. And YouTube is especially helpful if you are trying to market a specialty product or service that is easier to showcase via video. So if you fall into the manufacturing, retail, or service sectors, go ahead and sign up.
Facebook is quickly closing in on 3 billion users; it’s the biggest social media platform in the world and it’s not slowing down. So if you were to blindly jump onto one app, this would be an excellent choice.
The platform is great for big brands, small businesses, public figures, you name it. On Facebook, you can post all forms of content, including pictures, videos, links to blog posts, status updates, and more. Even better, it’s easy to gain new followers and engage with your community.
If you are looking for a global platform, Twitter is the way to go. Its ads are available in over 200 countries and territories. Plus, it’s easy and quick to use, making it the perfect platform for communicating with your customers.
Do you want real-time access to your field’s latest trends and breaking news? Join Twitter. It’s especially effective for business owners who work in ever-changing industries, like tech and finance.
Now that you have this article under your belt, you have two jobs:
Are you ready to focus on building your brand? Is it time to pick up new clients and grow your business? Or are you more interested in improving communication with the clients you already have?
As you start, don’t expect to accomplish each of these goals at once. We recommend that you pick your platform and set your priorities. Then, focus your energy, resources, and time toward accomplishing that one goal.
(And when we say time, we mean it. One hour a week is not going to be enough. If you want to start small, one hour a day may be a more reasonable goal.)
Listen, we know this is a lot. We don’t expect you to go from zero to one hundred in a week. But we strongly recommend that you work social media into your daily schedule. As you do, you’ll get more comfortable with the platform of your choice and you’ll begin to understand what quality engagement looks like.
And if you need a little help, there are lots of tools to choose from. We recommend a content calendar, for starters. This will help you stay organized and consistent with your social media strategy. Plus, it will keep every member of your team on the same page so that your social media strategy and your overall marketing strategy remain cohesive.
(If you’re in the market for a content calendar, we recommend Airtable. It’s customizable, allows interactions with other software, and is perfect for project management.)
Finally, if we could leave you with one last tip, it would be this: choose quality over quantity. Every time. If you dedicate an hour or two a day, and that comes out to one killer status update and a handful of comment responses, that’s great! Start small and let us know how it goes.
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