why your small business needs a social media marketing strategy

Why Your Small Business Needs a Social Media Marketing Strategy

In 2023, social media is not just for sharing family images, music recommendations, or selfies from concerts. Social media has become a great place for companies to market their products and services while creating a community with their current and potential customers.

With over 4.8 billion people using social media around the world, it’s almost impossible that your target audience is not using some form of social media.

Before diving into the reasoning as to why your company needs to be on social media, we will walk you through what social media marketing is, the benefits, real-world examples of successful social media marketing strategies, common myths about social media marketing, and some tips and tricks to help kickstart your effective social media marketing strategy.

There’s a reason why companies put tons of time, money, and effort into developing a strong social media marketing strategy, and this article will tell you why!

What is Social Media Marketing?

Social media marketing is a small but very important aspect of a brand’s overall digital marketing strategy. Social media marketing allows companies to create and share engaging content with billions of people worldwide through different platforms to help grow their brand. Utilizing social media is a great way to help increase brand awareness, share updates and news, create conversations, and increase sales down the line.

Some popular social channels that brands use are Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, X (formerly known as Twitter), YouTube, and many more!

Social media is not just about posting great content here and there. Your company will need to craft a strategic plan, look at analytics from prior posts, engage with other businesses and accounts, think outside the box, and have fun all while staying true to your brand identity.

instagram social network platform example
Rescue Marketing’s Instagram feed

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

There are many reasons as to why your company should be using social media in its digital marketing strategy. There are many benefits as to why your company should be using social media in its digital marketing strategy. To fully understand them, we found the five strongest benefits of using social media!

Humanize Your Business

Social media allows businesses to showcase their personality, values, and behind-the-scenes operations, giving a face to the brand. This approach builds authenticity, which in turn creates trust and loyalty among customers. Consumers are more likely to engage and support companies they feel connected to on a personal level!

Increase Brand Awareness

Social media can greatly boost brand awareness. When businesses share engaging content, people are more likely to share the content, brand, or message with others – reaching a much wider audience.

A well-placed tweet, funny meme, or insightful blog post can quickly go viral, putting the company’s name in front of thousands, even millions, of potential customers. There are endless opportunities to reach new customers on social media.

Tip: Don’t post content with the goal of going viral, too much of this mindset can be detrimental to your social media strategy.

Additionally, platforms offer targeted social media advertising options, allowing businesses to reach specific demographics. This increases the brand’s visibility among interested customers (target market).

Drive Traffic to Your Website

One of the great things about social media is that accounts are able to put links in certain places to drive traffic to their website. If a customer sees a product or service they like on your account, having a link that takes them to your website makes it easier for your potential customer to purchase.

A few examples of using links on social media can include adding a Linktree or direct links in your Instagram bio (Instagram now allows multiple links), posting a blog article link directly to LinkedIn, or even attaching a link to a Pin on Pinterest. These are all great and easy ways to push people towards your site.

Increase Conversions and Generate Leads

Social media platforms have transformed the way businesses generate leads and increase conversions. Social media is great for spreading awareness of a brand. The more visibility a brand gets, the more likely it could fall into the hands (or feed in this case) of someone who is looking for that specific product or service.

Two great social media platforms for selling directly to consumers are Pinterest and Instagram. Both platforms offer an e-commerce space where businesses can list their products and sell directly via the app. If someone sees your post, likes the product, and wants to find more information, having the product already linked and ready to buy is perfect for increasing conversions.

Social media also allows companies to showcase their products and services in compelling and different ways. A great way to show your product in a new light is to repost content from your customers who are already using the product!

a social strategy can include selling on social media networks like pinterest
Screenshot of Pinterest’s shopping feature

Creates Conversation and Loyalty With Current and Potential Customers

Social media is a great place to create conversations with your current and potential customers. Creating conversation and relationships with your customers is important especially when it comes to closing sales and creating strong brand loyalty around your brand.

Features like comment sections, direct messages, story polls, and conversation threads are all places on social media websites where customers can ask questions, leave feedback, and message back and forth. Many brands use social media, especially X, as a customer service platform!

Real-World Examples of Social Media Marketing Strategies

To show how important social media marketing is, we found two smaller companies in the Chicago area that have great social media strategies – Dom’s Kitchen & Market and Bellows Film Lab. Both companies have built strong followings and communities, properly prioritized channels, and offer a mix of different content types like video, company images, and UGC (user-generated content).

Let’s dive into these companies’ social media marketing campaigns and take a look at some of the features that pop out about their profiles.

Dom’s Kitchen & Market

Dom’s Kitchen & Market is a local chain grocery store with two established locations and one on the way. Their main social media platform is Instagram, with a primary focus on image-based content.

What makes their Instagram so powerful is the consistent seasonal content and timely postings that are related to events in Chicago like the Chicago Marathon or Bears Football games. Keeping up with local events and trends in the world is a great way to spark engagement on your social media platforms.

As mentioned before, a great way to increase conversions is to showcase your products in a new way, which is exactly what Dom’s Kitchen & Market does through aesthetically pleasing images of new and standard products they offer.

They do a great job of diversifying their content and showcasing the many different types of products they offer (ready-to-eat food, bar and coffee offerings, and more).

doms kitchen and market social media campaigns
Dom’s Kitchen & Market Instagram Feed (@domschicago)

Bellows Film Lab

Bellows Film Lab is a small company with three locations in the United States (Miami, Chicago, and Atlanta) founded in 2021. Bellows Film Lab is a photography film processing lab offering film development in-house within days, along with items for purchase like cameras, film, and accessories.

The two primary social media channels that Bellows Film Lab uses are Instagram and TikTok. Both channels are great given the nature of their company and their target audience. The content on both channels is different, yet effective.

Their Instagram mostly features content created by their customers or in marketing terms, user-generated content (UGC). UGC is any form of content such as images, videos, text, and audio, that has been created by customers. UGC acts as social proof, showcasing real customers using and endorsing the product or service, which can significantly enhance trust and credibility.

Bellows Film Lab’s TikTok features behind-the-scenes videos of their stores, staff, and film development process while mixing in funny and trending content. Sharing content revolving around company culture is a great way to humanize the brand, give insight into brand values, and build trust.

bellows film lab social media marketing trends and social media posts
Bellows Film Lab TikTok (@bellowsfilmlab) and Instagram (@bellowsfilmlab)

Common Myths and Misconceptions About Social Media Marketing

Mostly everyone has posted on social media or interacted on social media with other accounts in their lifetime. With social media being easily accessible, there are a ton of misconceptions and myths out there on how businesses should or should not act or run their social media channels.

We have found five myths that are commonly assumed about social media that we wanted to address.

Results Will be Immediate

It’s important to understand that results from social media are not always immediate. Many businesses and individuals expect instant success and viral postings when they start posting on social media accounts, but it’s crucial to have realistic expectations and be patient.

Building a successful social media marketing strategy takes time due to many factors like how long it takes to build a loyal following, how popular your brand already is, learning how to optimize and test your content, and changing algorithms.

Remember to track your metrics, analyze data, make adjustments along the way to ensure continuous improvement, and most importantly, don’t get discouraged or frustrated. Most of the time it takes at least six months to see results and changes.

Use as Many Hashtags as Possible

Research and analysis have shown that there is a limit to the effectiveness of hashtags, and using too many can actually make your posts look spammy or overwhelming. Even Adam Mosseri (the head of Instagram) answered a question on the effectiveness of hashtags on Instagram and claimed hashtags have a purpose but that purpose is not to increase reach.

Instead of focusing on quantity, it’s more important to use relevant and targeted hashtags that resonate with your audience and enhance the overall message of your content.

Different social platforms have different rules and preferences when it comes to hashtags, so it’s important to find the right balance. See the chart below to see what each popular social media platform recommends in terms of hashtags!

social media marketing tips on the recommended amount of hashtags to use per post
Based on data from the social media channels themselves and industry experts

Social Media Platforms Can Replace Your Website

Social media platforms are great for connecting with your audience, but they can’t replace your website. Your website is your hub for showcasing your brand, products, and services in a tailored way. It lets you share detailed info, add additional resources, and offer a place where customers can purchase your product.

Having a website also helps boost your ranking on Google which is crucial. Ranking high on Google’s search engine results page (SERP) helps increase your visibility, making it easier for potential customers to find your website, ultimately driving more organic traffic and potential business opportunities.

Interested in boosting your local SEO efforts? Check out these local SEO tools we recommend.

Your Brand Needs to be on All Social Media Channels

Many people believe that their company needs to be on all popular social media accounts, but this is not necessarily true. When choosing social media platforms to post on, it is key to choose the platforms based on your target audience.

Each platform has its own user demographics, engagement styles, and content formats. By knowing your audience and their preferred platforms, you can choose the channels that align with their interests.

This allows you to focus your resources and efforts on creating meaningful content and engaging with your audience effectively, rather than spreading yourself too thin across multiple channels where your target audience may not be active. Remember, it’s about quality over quantity!

popular social media platforms to use in your next social media marketing campaign

Using Third-Party Apps to Publish Will Decrease Reach

Third-party social media schedulers are very popular, especially for those who are running multiple accounts across many different platforms. Some of the most popular social media management tools are Sprout Social, Loomly, and Hootsuite.

A common and widely debated misconception about these third-party apps is that using them can decrease the reach and engagement of your posts versus if you publish manually through the actual social media platforms. This myth stems from an announcement made by Facebook years ago, but since then things have drastically changed.

Many companies have shown there are no differences between posts that have been posted via a scheduler and those that have been manually posted. There are so many factors that are taken into consideration when an algorithm is analyzing and distributing your posts.

If you are seeing drops in reach and engagement, ask yourself the following:

  • Are you posting at the right time?
  • Has there been a recent algorithm update on the social media platforms?
  • Look at the type of content you are posting, is it high-quality and valuable?
  • Are you actively engaging with your followers and other business accounts?
  • Take another look into your target audience, has their preferred platforms changed?

Most of the time, these changes are hard to pinpoint. Social media is constantly changing and evolving and it can be frustrating, but it is critical that you change and evolve with it and continue to learn.

Tips for a Successful Social Media Strategy

Developing a social media marketing plan can be difficult and confusing not knowing where to start. Here are five tips on how to kickstart and develop a successful social media marketing strategy!

five social media marketing tips to create an effective social media marketing campaign

Post Consistently

One of the key reasons why you should focus on posting consistently is that all major social media platform algorithms favor accounts that post frequently. Following the algorithm ‘rules’ will help your account and postings reach more people and increase engagement.

Posting frequently on social media also helps you stay connected with your audience, maintain their interest, and build a strong online presence. Regularly sharing engaging content also increases the likelihood of reaching a wider audience and driving higher levels of engagement with your brand.

Engage Regularly

People use social media to engage with others and to create a social network, your business should be no different! Engaging regularly with other accounts on social media is important because it helps build meaningful connections and relationships as well as helps increase your visibility within your industry or community.

By actively participating in conversations, sharing insights, and supporting others, you can expand your network, attract new followers, and potentially collaborate with like-minded individuals or businesses.

Measure Your Results

The only way to know if your social media strategy is working is by tracking your postings and measuring your analytics. If not all, most social media platforms offer in-app analytics so you can get a general idea of how your accounts are doing. Using this information can help determine what content to create in the future.

Create Engaging Content

Your content is key. High-quality content not only captures the attention of your audience, but it also provides them with valuable information, entertainment, or solutions, which helps to build loyalty, engagement, and ultimately at the end of the day, drive conversions for your business.

People love entertaining content so staying on top of social media marketing trends can be helpful when looking for new content ideas.

There are many different types of social media posts you can create and experiment with like images, infographics, memes, and blogs. As of 2023, video content is the preferred type of content people love to see! Creating engaging and thoughtful videos can be costly and time-consuming, but luckily there are tons of tools out there to help with the content creation process.

Know Your Target Audience

Understanding and knowing who your target audience is critical for running a successful social media strategy. Creating content that you know your target customers will enjoy will increase engagement and loyalty to a brand. Why make content you know your customers won’t enjoy?

Knowing your audience’s preferences also helps determine which social media channels you will be posting on and what type of content will go on there (infographics, videos, images).

example of a traditional marketing target audience
Basic example of a target market for a new restaurant

Time to Kickstart Your Social Media Marketing Strategy!

To put a long story short, your business needs to be on social media in 2023. Social media is changing the way people learn new information, gather news, find new products, and even new ways they shop, so it is essential that your company has some sort of social media presence.

Social media marketing can be scary, time-consuming, and confusing. There are a ton of social media marketing resources and social media marketing courses out there to help those who are just now starting their social media marketing efforts.

We hope this information and social media marketing tips can help you kickstart your own strategy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Social media marketing is all about using social media platforms to promote products, services, or brands. It includes creating and sharing engaging content that targets a specific audience. In addition, paid advertising options can be utilized to further expand visibility and reach.

There are many different types of social media marketing strategies brands can utilize. Here are three great strategies to start with! These include hosting product or service giveaways, educating your audience on industry topics, and using user-generated content on your social media platforms.

You will want to start by identifying your target audience and choosing the right platforms where they are active. Start creating engaging and valuable content that resonates with your audience, encourages interaction, and promotes your brand. Regularly analyze your metrics, such as engagement rates and conversions, to understand what works and make adjustments to optimize your social media strategy!

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