Start with these 4 tips to get more comfortable with social media marketing
When you’re thinking about how to market your small business, you may first think about traditional media sources like print, radio ads and television. While these mediums are great places to reach people, more and more people are spending a lot of their time on their mobile devices. Mainly, going through the “infinite scroll” of their social media platform of choice.
Using social media to drum up business for your company isn’t as simple as setting up a profile page and posting every few weeks. There are so many ways you can use different social media platforms to gain awareness and business for your company.
Think about your customer demographics
While you may not be a marketing professional, you can still do a little marketing work to help make your efforts more effective. To discern the demographics of your customers, you first have to think about who your ideal customer is.
Are you dealing with construction workers, homebuilders, special event organizers or newly engaged couples? What is the age of your ideal customer? Think about gender, occupation, interests and other discerning factors of the types of people you want to attract. Use this information to create customer profiles of your ideal consumer.
Choose the right social media platforms
Now that you are all set with your customer profiles, you will want to decide where to best spend your time and money advertising. Choosing the right social media platform is like choosing the right radio station to advertise on.
Think about where your ideal customer would spend most of their time. If you’re thinking about advertising to newly engaged couples, Pinterest is going to be a great place to start. If you’re thinking about the construction industry, Facebook and Twitter may be the right platforms to use.
The right content is everything
There are several different ways to engage with potential customers on social media, but they all involve the content. Over the years, “content” has become a huge buzzword in marketing circles, but it’s rather vague. When I refer to “content,” I mean the stuff you decide to post.
Try to mix up the types of content you post, but always keep in mind that these materials should be interesting to your target customers. This content could range from blog posts on your own website to articles or posts from other sources. The more people that find your posts engaging, the more shares and likes you’ll get, and the more people will see your company as an expert in your field.
You can definitely promote your products on social media, but make sure this isn’t all you’re posting. If your Facebook or Twitter feed is nothing more than stock photos of your equipment with links to your website, no one will have any reason to like or follow your social media page. You can advertise your products, but make sure these advertisements are highlighting either deals your company is having, or pepper them in around other more interesting content.
Boosted posts and paid advertising
Depending on the social media platforms you choose to use, paid advertising and boosted posts may be a route you’ll want to consider. With Facebook selectively tailoring users' newsfeeds and Twitter having a real-time feed, your prospective customers may not even see the posts you’re putting out there.
This means you might have to shell out a little bit of money to get your brand in front of the right people. Welcome to the world of paid social media marketing! Most large companies are increasing social media spending for 2017, and you should possibly consider it as well.
All social media platforms have different advertising portals, but they all work pretty much the same. You choose the type of engagement or action you want people to do, and you choose the types of people you want to see your ads.
Types of ads could range from getting more people to follow your page, getting people to visit your website, creating engagement with your posts, or making purchases on your website.
Once you know what type of actions you want to get from your ads, you’ll then think about the types of people you want to see the ad. You can choose from age, gender and occupation. These may vary depending on the social platform you’re advertising on, but they’re all pretty similar.
An example of an ad on Facebook with a clear "call to action."
Now you have a bit of an idea of the ways you can engage with potential customers on social media platforms. Just remember that this is just a general overview. If you really want to delve deep into social media strategy and advertising, there are so many more in-depth resources out there.
Erin Black is the marketing coordinator for On Site Companies of St. Paul, Rochester and Mankato, Minnesota, and also St. Louis, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska. She has worked for four years in the portable restroom industry creating social media ad campaigns and other promotional material for On Site Companies.