Brian Lindamood of Manta shares five easy steps to begin marketing your new company on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for new companies. Nearly 80% of Americans who are online use Facebook, making the platform an effective way to introduce your business to a large audience.
But, it must be done right to reap the benefits, otherwise social media can just be a big waste of time and money. A recent Manta survey revealed that only 50% of small business owners feel they get a positive return on the effort they spend marketing on Facebook.
So, why the disconnect? Based on their experience connecting with friends on personal accounts, many business owners expect that social media marketing will be fast and free. However, while it is relatively affordable, marketing your business on social platforms does require an investment.
It can be simplified, though. With a smart social media strategy and the right resources, you can successfully introduce your small business to social followers and grow your customer base. Follow these five steps to start marketing your new company.
1. Pick Your Platforms
There are dozens of different social media apps and websites, and it seems like a hot new social platform is introduced every month. It’s a lot to keep up with, but fortunately, you don’t have to add the upkeep to your task list.
The most important social media advice for new business owners is this: Don’t try to maintain a presence on every platform. Maximize your time and make the biggest impact by picking one or two social sites that are best for your business and focus your efforts there.
The social media platforms you should be on are the same ones your customers use. For most B2C small businesses, Facebook will be your first choice; it’s by far the biggest social site and used by the most adults. Instagram, a photo- and video-sharing app, is also popular, especially among young adults. LinkedIn, which focuses on professional networking, is a good option for B2B companies.
2. Create Your Social Media Business Profiles
After selecting one or two platforms to focus your social media marketing efforts, it’s time to create your business profiles. Even if you have a personal account on the platforms, it’s critical that you create a new, dedicated business account and keep it separate from your personal use of social media. (Your kids may be cute, but your customers probably aren’t interested in seeing that many photos of them.)
When you create your business profile, make sure you fill out every applicable field: your business name, address, website, phone number, business hours, industry, products/services, and any other descriptive text. This information should match your website, Google My Business profile, and other business listings; consistent listing info across all sites is a signal to search engines that your business is legitimate and reliable, and it will raise your visibility in search results.
Don’t forget to upload a profile photo and cover photo for your new account. The profile photo will be your “icon” whenever your business appears on the social site; a company logo usually works well for this. The cover photo is the big banner that appears across the top of your business page. This should be eye-catching and relevant to your business; it’s your chance to make a good first impression on customers when they visit your social media page.
3. Post Fresh Content
Now you’re faced with two big questions: How often to post, and what to post on social media? The answer to the first question is straightforward. Post new content at least once or twice a week to keep your social feed fresh, and post up to once a day (or more!) if you have the resources and enough ideas.
When deciding what to post, a good rule of thumb is to mix posts about your business with more general posts that would interest your followers. For instance, you can post links to industry news (such as trends in your field) along with posts about your community (such as a local arts fest).
A few more social media content ideas to consider:
- Tips and advice about your field
- News and info about your business
- Your own blog posts
- Blog posts from other relevant websites
- Posts from other Facebook pages
- Create a survey or ask a question
- Behind-the-scenes photos of your company at work
- Before-and-after photos of products or projects
- Photos of you or your team at community events
Finally, don’t forget to include eye-catching images with every post. Social media is a very visual medium; high-quality photos and videos are among the best ways to attract the attention of your followers.
4. Promote Your Social Media Posts
As social media use among consumers has become ubiquitous in the last few years, the biggest change to small businesses has been the growing expense of reaching followers. It’s still free to create a profile and post content on social platforms. However, if you want customers to see your social content in their feeds, you will need to invest marketing dollars.
This can be done with ads or promoted posts. Ads can be used to promote an event, drive traffic to your website, or collect leads. Promoted posts are when you pay to “boost” social content so that it appears in more of your followers’ newsfeeds.
Fortunately you can make a big impact with a small budget on social platforms. Spending as little as $100 a month will help get your content in front of more followers. The best approach when promoting a post is to start small — say, with a $5 boost — and gauge the response. If the post performs well, you can put another $20 or more behind it, getting more mileage out of a proven winner. If the post doesn’t attract much interest, cut your losses and try boosting another post.
5. Respond to Your Social Media Community
Perhaps the biggest difference compared to other marketing channels is that social media is not a megaphone. It’s a conversation. Don’t just tell your customers what you want them to hear; you need to listen to your customers, reply to their questions and comments, and respond to their interests.
You can set up alerts so that you receive an email whenever a follower posts a comment or sends a message through your social media business page; that way you can reply in a timely manner. If you get customer reviews on Facebook, it’s especially important to respond quickly, either to thank customers for positive reviews or address complaints. Social followers expect prompt replies; you don’t want to leave customers hanging.
Social media platforms also offer robust and easy-to-use analytics. On your Facebook Insights tab, for instance, you can see demographic information about your followers to find out what kind of content they engage with and what kind of content they ignore. This info will help you tailor future social content to their interests, and perhaps even adjust your company’s real-world offerings.
Social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to introduce your new business to customers. While it does require the investment of some time and money, with the right strategy, it can be a very affordable way to engage with followers and get your company’s marketing off the ground.
By Brian Lindamood, Manta Content Director
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