Even if you’ve been a business owner for years, the internet has changed drastically in the way social media is used to boost a brand’s presence.
It’s no longer just email campaigns, digital surveys, and landing pages. Now, what social channels you choose to use can make a big impact on your business’ success.
If you’ve felt confused and overwhelmed by the new trend with social media, don’t feel too down about it, and don’t assume you can’t use it. It’s tricky to navigate at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be amazed by how useful it is.
Social channels are incredibly helpful to boost customer engagement and to research who your target audience is. Specifically, you can find out the average age group of people buying your services or who may be interested in your brand, how they talk, their interests, and what they like/love/don’t enjoy so much about your business. It’s also a great opportunity for marketing – and depending on the social channel or app you use, it’s also free marketing.
Of course, your results depend on how well you market yourself (the type of content you provide, how often you post, etc.), but by looking at how your competitors use social media, you’ll get a good grasp on how to implement best practices into your business too.
The way a social channel is designed also influences how well it works for you and the type of business you have. You may be hesitant to use social platforms at all and feel confident about your marketing strategy as it is offline. However, it’s still crucial for you to consider at least having one or two social accounts.
We’ve rounded up the top 3 must-have social channels, so even if you are anti-internet, you can at least make use of the very best online free marketing opportunities:
The good news is, if you’re reading this blog article, you’re most likely already using the number one social channel. It’s so widely used and popular, your grandmother probably even uses it: Facebook.
If you are someone in the older demographic, you probably appreciate Facebook for the way it reconnects you with old friends and long-distance family. It’s an easy way to catch up on what’s happening in the lives of your relatives, and another way to reach out.
Facebook, though originally meant for reconnecting with people, has been renovated over the years to be tailored more to businesses.
If you run a B2C, this is definitely the best app for you. You can basically put everything in one social channel – your eCommerce storefront, contact info, customer service (communicate through private messaging), your marketing campaigns, and it’s a space for customer engagement. You can also pay to advertise yourself through page like campaigns or post boosts.
Facebook has also incorporated elements from other social platforms, such as livestreaming, so you can host Q+A’s, sales, and other live events to engage more with your customers.
Even if you are a B2B or just don’t enjoy Facebook the most as a social platform, it’s still important to have an account for your business as it boosts your SEO presence. It’s a local social signal, which means that search engines view your FB account when it pulls up page results.
Aside from Google’s search engine crawlers, people view your business as more legit if it has a Facebook account. If you run a retail shop, it’s a good place to post pics of your business (outside and inside), and what kind of products you are selling. If you show what you’ve got, that’s going to motivate people to go into your shop.
The numbers are there too. On average, there are 1.49 billion daily active users, and 2.27 billion monthly active users as of September 2018 (Stats taken from here). Worldwide use of Facebook is up at 22%, with the large majority coming from North America. Basically, if you don’t have a Facebook account, you are missing out on the largest opportunity to get your business out in the world.
While Facebook may be the big shot in the social world, it’s not the only one. It’s still important to consider opening other social accounts as the more you have, the stronger your SEO results will be – and there’s more opportunity to reach people. Not everyone loves Facebook, and you may find your target audience dominantly uses other platforms.
In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram after 18 months of Instagram’s launch. It’s one of the top performing platforms, especially with the millennial age group.
If you are unfamiliar, it’s basically a photo, graphic, and video blog. People are drawn to Instagram because they don’t have to see unnecessary status updates (like they do on Facebook and Twitter), and they can be very selective of what shows up on their feed. It’s easier to navigate and see the type of content a page posts as Instagram has a simple grid format.
Since it is owned by Facebook, it features a lot of the similar advertising opportunities; however, there’s more free advertising opportunity than Facebook.
More importantly, over one-third of Instagram users have used it to make purchases online. It makes sense – if you use it, you’ll see how easy it is to share images of a product and provide a link to purchase. There’s also a lot of inspirational pictures and quotes posted on it, so it’s easy to weave in marketing products along with posting content.
There’s also the Instagram explore page. Basically, that is curated material Instagram puts together for a user based on the previous posts they liked. So, as long as you tag your posts with hashtags geared toward your target audience, your page will begin to show up for people who would probably be interested in your brand.
For example, if you run a yoga studio account, you’ll probably want to add hashtags such as “#yoga, #vinyasa, #meditation, #namaste” and other words associated with your practice and other things yogis are interested in.
If you are intimidated by popular influencers on Instagram, you don’t need to be anymore. A lot of them have purchased fake followers to make it seem like they have a huge following, and Instagram just announced they are going to remove fake followers, likes, and comments, so users can find legitimate accounts to follow (and avoid spam). This also helps you as a small business owner with an Instagram account, because it helps with the Instagram algorithm – instead of your posts being squashed down by the people with a fake following, your content will be more visible.
If you do choose to advertise on Instagram, the results usually pay off as 75% of users take action after seeing an advertisement, whether that’s going to a website, engaging with more of your posts, or following you.
This is both a place to create a vision board and to get your business out to the 150 million users Pinterest has. Think about it: DIY has become a major trend, and so many people turn to Pinterest to find ideas. They also use it to plan events, meals, and many other things. Aside from that, people just love scrolling through Pinterest to relax and take their mind off of things.
This is why it’s such a strong opportunity to market your business. Say you own a bakery, and you specialize in wedding cakes. Upload pictures of your best work to your board and tag it with everything related to weddings, as well where you are located. As someone is searching for local wedding venues and photographers, they’ll also come across images you post. From there, they could easily go check out your website and inquire about a wedding cake.
Pinterest images also boost SEO – images on the social platform typically show up in Google image search results. So, if you’re advertising a great landscaping business, a potential customer may find you because they were googling “best landscaping companies” and one of your Pinterest board images had shown up in the top results in their local area.
Just like Facebook and Instagram, you can also gain followers on Pinterest – if you post enough content, people who enjoy it will start to follow. It’s also a great opportunity to boost customer engagement – tell your current customers to check out your Pinterest page for inspiration and DIY tips.
There are of course many other social channels to use, and the more the merrier. But, if you really don’t enjoy using them, try using at least one of the previously mentioned platforms (or all three). It’s worth a free shot at increasing your business’ success!
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When she’s not writing for SB, Pauline runs an intuitive healing business... and is still writing as she types up psychic readings! As she was raised by entrepreneurs, she knows what it takes to be a small business owner.
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