Social media can give small business owners an edge — a chance to affordably expand marketing and brand outreach to remain competitive with larger companies or those with more resources. It reaches a wide audience organically, but also offers demographic filters so that businesses have a better chance of getting their name and content in front of their ideal customers. But effective use of social media isn’t always as simple as it may seem.
Here, we’ll outline a few ways on how you can maximize your social media activity to help your small business grow.
Determine Your ICP
This is an important consideration for every small business. Your ICP (ideal customer profile) is a semi-fictional customer that your product or service should target. If you’re a B2C company, you’ll create your profile based on the people that would use your product or services for themselves or loved ones. B2B companies, on the other hand, will create a profile for each decision maker (or influencer) that plays a role in the purchasing of the product or service. Either way, consider the following factors in building a profile:
- Geographic location
- Age range
- Minimum education (this is important for how your marketing is worded)
- Recurring jobs-to-do
- Main challenges
Once you have your ICP established, choosing a platform and organizing your activity will be simpler and more effective.
Choose your platform(s)
Getting started on most social media platforms is free and simple; you can create an account for your business and start uploading content and generating follows immediately. However, you should also spend some time looking at what makes each platform unique, and how your business fits each option. As an example, Business2Community mentions that longer ads work for Facebook, while shorter ads are better for LinkedIn. One might also say that text engagement is effective on Twitter, while images matter more on Instagram or Pinterest. Consider differences like these and how they matter with regard to your ICP, and what your target demographic is most likely to engage with (which you can determine in part through research).
Make use of video
Video is a powerful marketing tool that many companies still overlook. Video ads tend to have more engagement, and can help your pages show up at the top of search results as well. To add to that, video also leads to greater consumer trust! As mentioned in our look ahead to “Internet Marketing Trends in 2022”, 50% of consumers say “their confidence and trust in online purchase decisions have strengthened after watching a video of a product online.” If that’s not a powerful motivator, we don’t know what is!
Use emotion to your advantage
It’s also important that whatever platform you’re posting on, and whatever type of content you’re delivering, it has an emotional edge to it. An AskMoney article on how creators can grow their Instagram followings spoke to this idea in detail, pointing out wisely that people want to feel something in the midst of their daily “doomscrolling”. In other words, day-to-day online activity can be monotonous, if not disheartening. If your posts liven things up with real emotional point of view, they’ll be likely to catch attention in a positive way. And remember that ICP? That is going to help you determine which emotions you would like to cater to, and how. In time, you can begin to tailor your messaging to fit both your own brand identity and your target customers’ desires.
Don’t stretch your marketing team
Instead of having your marketing team stretched thin over a large number of platforms and campaigns, focus on just a few campaigns –– and do them well. In this case, it’s not a numbers game. Quality is going to stand out more than quantity, at least for a small business, so make sure your marketing efforts reflect that. If things go well and you’re able to scale to broader campaigns across more platforms, great! But well-designed, targeted efforts need only rely on a few social channels.
Work with others in your vertical
No, we don’t mean that you should work directly with your competitors. But connecting with people in your industry is how you can expand your reach to a new audience. Work with up-and-coming influencers, thought leaders, and even happy customers to figure out any and all ways to improve your social media activity. According to Forbes, “Influencers with aligned niches serve as bridges to more of your target audience and can add an extra layer of credibility.” This is proving to be more accurate seemingly with each passing year, and is especially helpful for smaller businesses that may have limited reach to begin with, but are looking to expand. In short, the more people and entities you work with that can help you to reach a wider audience, the better.
The most important thing you can do now is make sure you know your audience. From there, you can decide which platforms to use, and how to do so as effectively as possible.