Importance of Social Media for small businesses.
We are currently living in the era of digital marketing. Methods of attracting public attention, characteristic of the marketing of the “old school”, began to be perceived too obsessively. Modern consumers have often ignored traditional advertising. Its “savvy” makes it easy to bypass the established channels for the distribution of advertising messages. Social media has allowed people to directly interact with society, share their opinions and exchange useful information.
Initially, network communication services made it possible to unite friends and acquaintances into a certain Internet community. But businesses quickly saw the benefits of social media. Today, almost any company considers it justifiable to be present in a fairly new environment of “Internet living” for the target audience.
How Social Media Affected Marketing
Social media has allowed private entrepreneurs to reduce the cost of attracting potential customers. This is perhaps the main criterion for small businesses – to increase the economic efficiency of the advertising budget, aimed at increasing consumer coverage.
Social media provided a unique opportunity to establish direct contact with the target audience. Consumers are interested in gaining a new “valuable experience”: to independently select the desired content, share it and express their opinion. People try to unite in communities where they will be heard and understood. At the same time, they actively defend their individuality.
The rapid growth of the social media audience is supported by technological innovation. You can communicate through computers, smartphones, tablets, game consoles, TVs. The Internet is probably connected everywhere, and there are no boundaries for it. It has become practically available to everyone, and you can keep in touch in real-time.
Social media has changed the way people communicate. This fact is difficult to ignore. Therefore, digital marketing must learn to use the opportunity of direct contact with the potential to transform its visitors into a virtual sales group.
Key Goals for Social Media Marketing
In a modern, interconnected world in which customers shop online, share their impressions of the service provided, and easily receive tips and tricks from friends and communication participants, it is important to have a vibrant and interactive presence in social media. Therefore, from the very beginning, it is necessary to determine the goals of promotion and outline an effective strategy.
What do you want to achieve through social networks? How will you use them to promote? You need to determine what is needed for your business in terms of growth. For example, you can set the following goals:
increase brand awareness
improve engagement with your audience
distribute coupons and special offers
drive traffic to your website
launch a new product line
Your goals should be concise and realistic. They should be specific and describe the state that you are striving to achieve.
Answer what you want to achieve? How much time can you spend on this? How should this affect your income? Your answers will allow you to establish measurable indicators, and you will know for sure that the goal is achieved.
To measure success, the basic key performance indicators of SMM will help you: the number of subscribers, the number of views, comments, reposts or visits to the website. They will show you the degree of coverage and involvement of the target audience, the correctness of your chosen strategy for promotion in social media.
Traditional marketing is based on costly marketing research, which will tell you which distribution channels advertising should invest in an advertising budget. Today, small businesses can take advantage of more accessible information about how consumers use social media. Knowing how your existing and potential customers use social media is an important part of developing an effective SMM strategy.
Key Points for Building a Social Media Promotion Strategy
1. Understand your audience
The most important point in planning a strategy on social networks has been and remains the knowledge of its audience. A business should have a clear idea of who the messages are aimed at, which channels on social networks your consumers prefer, what they read, what they share, and what topics they discuss. Try to find their pain points.
These means of communication can be represented as a “two-way street.” It is important not only to be able to speak beautifully but also to listen carefully. Due to the viral nature of social networks, one timely interaction with your audience can quickly spread throughout the Internet. The right message, published at the right time for the right person, will increase the effectiveness of the advertising campaign.
2. Decide on categories and types of content
The content that you decide to share largely depends on your business and your goals. Your message should be up to date and fresh. Focus on customer interests, not your company. Remember, social media is an exchange, not just advertising. Education-based marketing is usually more effective than a direct commercial offer. The formation of a wide base of loyal fans is a very important task of marketing in social networks.
Content should be divided into categories and types. Categories are topics that you will cover in social media. In this case, you need to decide on the format for presenting your topics: photos, videos, statuses, articles, links, polls or quizzes. This is the type of content that should affect the “pain points” of your audience.
3. Set the frequency of content placement
Along with defining the categories and types of content that you will provide to loyal fans, you must determine your frequency of posting. This is a key point of the promotion strategy. If the number of your subscribers and fans regularly grows after two training articles posted every week, then you should not change the frequency. Publications at random can adversely affect your business. You may seem unreliable and disorganized. The interest of even the most loyal fans may disappear. Content should be posted on a regular schedule. This will help you stay on top of the interest of your subscribers.
4. Align your influence with your goals.
Social media influences consumer decisions. Your followers and fans can have a big impact on your customers. When it comes time to make purchasing decisions, consumers will consult with their friends and family.
Your ability to influence your decision making depends on two factors: ( a ) your credibility and ( b ) your reach. A strong, professional and attractive presence on social networks increases your credibility. Your reach can expand beyond the number of fans and followers through the connections that they have when they share your content.
5. Determine the contractor for the project.
As your online presence grows, you will find that you no longer have the time (or energy) to devote yourself to social media. If you are fortunate enough to create vibrant and active social media profiles for your business, maintaining them can lead to full employment. You may need to hire a manager.
6. Choose the best social platforms and outline their coordination.
There are dozens of social platforms that you can use to connect with your current and potential customers. While it might seem like a good idea to cover them all and have a presence everywhere, it’s best to focus your energy on a few, carefully selected networks that match your goals and audience. Each platform has its unique features, your content and audience may be suitable for one network, and not appropriate for another.
If you start treating each social network as an isolated channel, your success will be limited. The platforms you choose should work together to help you get your business moving.
And remember, on the Internet your site is the base of the brand. You need to coordinate your efforts in social media to push people to a site where they can buy your product or service.
7. Analyze the achieved results.
The final stage in the formation of a promotion strategy is the most important point: the ability to measure and analyze the results of SMM.
Tracking totals is the best way to determine the effectiveness of your campaign’s tactics. This makes it possible to evaluate which content works and which does not.
Most social networks have built-in tools to track and measure promotion results. Regular analysis of the execution of the media plan allows you to make operational adjustments to the strategy for each channel. Monitoring the coordinated efforts of the selected social platforms that provide traffic to your site, allow you to spend such popular resources as Yandex Metric and Google Analytics.
When using social media, it is important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. It is necessary to plan the time, means and efforts that will bring strategic success. For sprints, contextual advertising is more suitable, but this is another topic.
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