Today, over 3 billion people, or nearly 42 percent of the population, scroll through their social media accounts each day. For small business owners, this translates to an opportunity to engage with new and existing customers while building brand awareness.
Despite the popularity of social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, advertising in those spaces can seem overwhelming. Questions like “which social media channel should I use?” and “what types of content should I share?” abound, making it hard to implement an effective advertising strategy.
Sound familiar? If you’re new to social media or you trying to revamp your existing efforts, it can be challenging to get things rolling. These tips can help you leverage social media to engage consumers and expand your business.
Know your target audience
Defining your audience should be a number one step in any marketing effort, but it’s absolutely essential for a successful social media advertising effort.
As a channel, social media represents a truly unique opportunity to engage with users, and that means understanding what drives them. Companies that understand their target audience can provide their followers with valuable content, and in an oversaturated digital space, it’s “value” that will keep consumers engaged and increase loyalty.
Choose the right platforms
There are a lot of social media platforms available to consumers and business owners alike — traditional social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, to photo and video sharing platforms, like Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Just because a platform exists doesn’t mean you should push content out on it. Instead, your social media strategy should focus on the channels that matter most to your target audience.
For example, if your business is a B2B, you may find that channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook may be your best options, Targeting a younger audience? Consider adding Instagram and Snapchat to your list, though Facebook and Twitter will also likely be valuable.
Create a content calendar
Another common roadblock in the path to a strong social media advertising strategy is determining what content to share and when. A content calendar can be an invaluable tool when making those decisions.
To create your content calendar, you’ll need to answer these questions:
- How much content do I already have, and can I use and repurpose it?
- What themes, seasonal needs, key events, or important dates do I need to accommodate? (e.g., a pet care company may want to focus on flea and tick content at the start of spring)
- How much quality content can I create and distribute in a given week? Month?
- Are there any gaps in content or content creation capabilities?
- How will the content flow from creation to distribution?
Avoid over promoting your brand
Yes, your goal should be to increase brand awareness, but that doesn’t mean filling feeds with constant promotions. Consumers are quick to see through ongoing blatant sales pitches and will quickly unfollow or hide your business from your feed.
That’s not to suggest that you have to completely avoid promotions. Instead, build a strategy that showcases your brand as a resource to your target audience, sparkling obvious promotions in as needed. It’s all about value.
Vary content type
The term “content” often lends itself to things like blog posts and articles, but that’s not the only thing you should be sharing. Videos, infographics, quizzes, gifs, etc. are all considered content.
And since different people respond to different types of content, a healthy social media advertising effort should include various type of content.
In addition, it’s also helpful to consider and measure which types of content perform best on which platforms. For example, long-form articles and videos that are 30 seconds or less perform well on LinkedIn, while photos and infographics may perform better on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
Of course, even though statistics are helpful in determining what type of content to share, the real answer will depend on your specific audience. Make sure to record performance and use the information you gather to dictate your advertising efforts.
Consider paid advertising
Social media is an excellent space for businesses with small budgets, but there are also paid opportunities, the likes of which can help you reach a highly targeted audience. If you have room in your budget, consider leveraging paid advertising options.
Not sure which platform to use? If you’re just getting started and want to get the best ROI, then start with the platform that has the most engagement.
Engage with followers
Unlike other marketing channels, like email or PPC, social media is a two-way street. In order for your efforts to be successful, you must engage with your followers. That means encouraging followers to interact with your posts, but it also means responding to their questions, praises and criticisms.
For most businesses, social media is a valuable channel that can help engage users and grow brand awareness. As such, it’s important to create a social media advertising strategy that establishes value and recognizes the needs and wants of your target audience.
This article originally appeared on Nav.com by Jennifer Lobb