Digital consumers can spend nearly 2 to 3 hours on social media daily. On Facebook alone, that’s a 3-hour window with over 2.91 billion users that you can market to and reach.
However, as a small business, you might not have all that much to spend on marketing. That makes it extra essential to run effective social media marketing campaigns so that you can get a decent return on your efforts.
10+ Tips To Improve Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses
Below are 12 tips aimed at increasing the overall effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy, from planning your campaign all the way to post-launch monitoring and evaluation.
1. Get SMART.
Before you even begin crafting your social media content, it’s important to set clear goals, making it much easier to plan how to go about your campaign. Setting goals is fundamental when starting, as you have limited resources, which emphasizes the need to get bang for your buck.
SMART is short for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
An excellent example of a SMART goal for your social media campaign might sound like this:
Increase Facebook page likes by 20% in the next 12 months.
This works because you can quickly determine what the goal is and when to evaluate it.
Learn more about setting SMART goals here.
2. Keep it relevant yet human.
Now that you have a goal in mind, it’s time to make sure your messaging supports this goal while connecting with your audience.
When writing your post, Smash Balloon outlines a good set of guidelines to follow – make sure that your content is 1) helpful, 2) entertaining, and 3) informative. Following the outline is a safe way to keep your content interesting to your audience.
Another good way to increase engagement is to create content that matches current events, such as seasons, industry or national affairs.
3. Appeal to the (visual) senses.
Visuals are king in today’s marketing game, where users’ attention spans continue to drop to record lows. Visuals are a crucial tool in catching attention and keeping it long enough to benefit your business.
Much of the same rules apply to visuals when creating text content for your campaigns: make it relevant to your goals, make it informative and entertaining.
Indeed, many of the biggest brands would make good examples in the visual space for one key trait: consistency. Like them, it’s essential for you to as a small business to establish your identity in a crowded market, which is primarily aided by having a coherent set of colors and graphic elements that permeate your social media content.
Think Facebook blue, Twitter’s bird logo, or Instagram’s 5-color gradient, which appears in nearly every piece of marketing they ever put out. The symbols aid with recall, making it more likely for users to remember your brand or, better yet, engage with it.
4. Simplify your content creation effort.
Let’s face it: creating content for social media is a time-consuming effort, so any opportunity to do this more efficiently is always welcome (without sacrificing quality, of course.)
The best way to save time here is to put the right tools at your disposal.
For example, Pixelixe is a free, online graphic design suite that allows you to streamline your visual design workflow. You can use their built-in editor as an online banner maker and quickly generate graphics for supported social media platforms in as fast as a single click.
A good rule of thumb is to look for opportunities to automate repetitive or low-effort tasks, as the potential time savings here eventually add up. That way, you can focus on tasks that require a more human touch while being able to scale your campaigns and productions simultaneously.
5. Use rich media.
Rich media is a powerful new way to strengthen your social media marketing strategy, exceeding traditional media by well over two hundred percent.
Videos and animations breathe life into your campaign, and they offer you ways to share more information with your customers in a fundamentally more engaging way. Remember what we said about attention spans? Why tell them when you can let them see it to believe it?
Of course, rich media also comes with its risks, such as overly-lengthy videos killing interest or substandard video not offering enough information to convince your users to engage. Much like the rest of your content, it’s important to plan accordingly, stay true to your brand, and strike a balance.
6. Incentivize engagement.
People are much more willing to participate in activities that they know will benefit them. The same is true when it comes to your marketing campaigns.
To sweeten the deal, consider running promotions that offer an excellent incentive to your users, such as giveaways or additional benefits from engaging with your brand. Much of the above rules apply, especially when it comes to relevance and consistency: offer incentives that match your goals and promote your products/services.
Take ClickUp, for example – their landing page (a vital tool for engagement) offers a free forever entry point into their service, which is critical because they market themselves as an all-in-one project management tool. By providing nearly all of their features at the cost of a sign-up, they drastically reduce entry barriers. Allowing users to explore their platform increases their chances of attracting subscriptions when only one or two features are locked behind their paid plans. It also helps that they don’t even require credit card information to join the trial.
7. Up your hashtag game.
Hashtags are one of the more recent strategies to increase your brand’s visibility and attract an audience that’s already interested in the conversation. This is even more true now that most, if not all, major social media platforms have added support for them.
Coca-Cola is one company with a good hashtag game. Their #ShareACoke campaign effectively marketed a limited-time promotion where customers could send personalized Coke bottles to family and friends. Coupled with the #ChristmasEve hashtag – they created a timely (or timeless?) campaign that had all the potential to reach their global audience.
Now, not all text is worth turning into a hashtag. Some of the mistakes you want to avoid when running a hashtag campaign include, but aren’t limited to:
- Hashtags that are too long (because why not just add it to your text copy?)
- Typographical errors (unless intentional, you risk not entering the right conversations), or
- Recklessly pasting hashtags across platforms, as they might perform differently across them.
Hashtagify.me is a valuable tool to help you find the best hashtags for your campaign. Simply input your search term and see how popular it is to determine whether it’s worth putting your posts in that conversation or if you need to come up with something else.
8. Schedule posts accordingly.
Building on tip #4, one helpful tool to aid your marketing campaign is to find a scheduling tool. How amazing is it that you can now update your social media, even if you’re away on vacation? You’re likely not to miss out on a marketing opportunity again.
Speaking of never missing out, it’s important to optimize your schedule to match your platform/s of choice. Statusbrew provides an extensive list of recommendations – we list some of the key takeaways below:
- Facebook: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are generally the best days to schedule a post, though optimal time may vary depending on the specific day.
- Instagram: Tuesday is recommended day for posting, with activity peaking between 11 am and 3 pm.
- Twitter: Wednesday is the day of choice here, featuring at least seven hours of peak engagement up to 9 pm.
Here are 8 social media scheduling tools that might help.
9. Cross-promote yourself.
Now that you have your posts published, it’s vital to extend your reach as far as you can. What better way to do that than by cross-promoting your brand?
Each social network caters to a specific type of user with their viewing preferences. By cross-promoting, you allow your multitude of social media networks to engage audiences in ways that a single platform might not be able to and attract users to each of your networks that might not already be aware otherwise.
For example, cross-posting your YouTube videos to Twitter: the more engaging video format is an opportunity to attract Twitter users who might typically have shorter attention spans. Similarly, cross-posting between Facebook and Instagram provides users with an easy way to access promotions, events and updates that they might not see otherwise on either platform.
You can also look to cross-promote with a partner brand, opening yourself to an even larger audience than before.
10. Build a community around your brand.
You will likely have attracted a fair number of interested users to your brand or business by this time. It then becomes time to keep the conversation flowing and to keep your brand in the public consciousness.
One good way to do this is to bring those users together into a community. Strong communities are a pillar of society, and that rings especially true here. This is social media marketing, after all.
If that’s where you’re marketing, creating a Facebook group is a safe choice as the most prominent social network with over 2.91 billion users worldwide. More recently, Discord servers have also started gaining popularity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as gaming has seen increased activity due to stay-at-home orders. While primarily server-agnostic, Discord’s rise in popularity can be partly attributed to its intuitive channel structure, which allows brands/personalities to have focused conversations within communities of existing shared interest.
11. Make engagement a two-way street.
People transact with businesses they can trust, and that trust can be fostered simply by engaging with people. What better way to encourage them to interact with your brand than by bringing your brand to them?
This isn’t to say you would be approaching customers to sell your products or services blatantly. They already know that’s what you want. The trick is to leave a good impression and build a relationship, making them more likely to convert to actual customers.
Wendy’s is a master of customer engagement on social media while sticking to its brand identity. Their choice to have fun directly interacting with users on Twitter has done near-complete good for their visibility and, more importantly, their image.
12. Measure performance.
How do you improve your performance when you don’t know how you were performing before?
The ultimate goal of a social media campaign is to build a following and convert customers. All of this can be measured, and they should be, as they provide you with insight as to how effective your social media marketing strategies are and could be.
Most social networks have business-facing features that allow you to measure important metrics such as post engagement, clicks, views and more (think YouTube Studio or Google Analytics.) There are also many available social media analytics tools you can use – Sprout Social provides us with a list of options.
Evaluation is not only limited to after you launch your campaigns as well. Investing time during your production process is a way to increase your effectiveness even before your campaign hits the market, which saves you time and gives you more value for your campaign spend. Processes such as A/B testing your visuals are a good start here.
With these, you have a good set of guidelines to help you through every step of your social media campaign.
A holistic approach ensures that all bases are covered for growing your audience and business with each campaign. Optimizing every step allows you to create a scalable approach to marketing which is especially important while you are still a small business. Apply these tips and grow with confidence today.
Also Read: How To Create A Sales Process