According to social media usage research conducted by Smart Insights, 65 percent of Americans use at least one social network. Ten years ago, just 7 percent of Americans used social media. Over the last decade, social media has grown from something only used by teens into a must-have communication tool used by the majority of American adults—and now majority of businesses too. Small businesses are turning to social media to connect with consumers and grow their brands with strategies that make the most of their marketing budgets. Smart small business owners understand that we live an increasingly connected world and using social media to reach customers is a no-brainer. Let’s look at the different social media platforms small businesses are using, and then we will discuss some best practices you can apply to your own small business marketing strategy.
What does Small Business Marketing Look Like?
According to research by Clutch, 86 percent of small businesses use Facebook in their marketing strategies. The next closest platform is Instagram at 48 percent, with Twitter and YouTube close behind at 46 percent and 44 percent. So why does Facebook stand above the rest? The answer is simple: Advertising.
Facebook Ads = Advantage
Facebook’s advantage over other social media platforms is it collects more information from its users at sign up. Users enter where they live, work, and went to school, and their relationship status, which are all demographics marketers use to build customer personas. Facebook then incorporates psychographics by looking at the things users ‘like’ on the platform to serve them advertisements for similar products or services.
While Facebook has recently gotten into some controversy regarding user data, there is no denying the effectiveness of their ad targeting. If you want to invest in an awareness marketing campaign, then Facebook is your platform. At this point, small business marketing strategies are incomplete without some sort of advertising component. 58 percent of SMBs increased spending on social media advertising in 2017. If you’re not part of that statistic, I recommend setting aside a couple of hundred dollars to do a couple of small tests to see for yourself how promoting your page can grow your brand.
Other Social Media Options
Facebook isn’t the only social media platform that should be part of a small business marketing strategy. YouTube is the platform of choice for brands who create videos to address consumer questions regarding their products or services. According to Hubspot, 95 percent of consumers have watched an explainer video to learn about a product or service. Also, from the same report, 72 percent of consumers would rather watch a video than read text to learn about a product or service if both text and video are available.
Instagram is the platform of choice for visual-based brands, and it has overtaken Snapchat as the platform of choice for small businesses that want to experiment with the ‘Story’ format. LinkedIn is your platform if you operate a B2B small business. Lastly, Twitter is the platform for addressing customer concerns in real time. It is also great for listening in on conversations people are having that are relevant to your brand.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to be on every platform for social media to have an impact on your business. Using best practices for a few platforms will go a long way.
Small Business Social Media Best Practices
The first tip is to choose which social media platforms you want to incorporate into your marketing mix. Choose Facebook and one other platform to start. Look at your customer personas and figure out which platforms they are most likely to use. Facebook is a good choice for any small business because its user base spans all generations. Other platforms have more of a niche user base but can be as effective as Facebook if your target customer is within said niche.
The second tip is to commit to a posting frequency and follow through consistently. According to Clutch, 52 percent of small business owners post to social media daily. When you post quality content every day, you slowly build a strong sense of trust with your online community. Out of this community come your best brand advocates.
The third tip is to invest in video. As we discussed earlier, today’s consumer is in love with video. Using YouTube to showcase how-to videos is just a small part of video’s potential, though. All of the social media platforms mentioned above have video capability. You can go live on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Small business owners are using video to build authentic relationships with their consumers. A survey by Animoto found that 76 percent of marketers are getting noticeable results from their video marketing efforts. The time is now to jump into video if you haven’t already.
The best small businesses are using social media with the three tips above as the foundation of their social media marketing strategies. Start implementing these tips today and it’s only a matter of time before you see results.