With over two billion people using Facebook every month and four million active users on Twitter, it's plain to see that social media is a powerful tool when used for business marketing. When you add the other popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram into the mix, it just goes to show that social media can be both a practical and powerful tool for local businesses.
While advertising in traditional media such as print, and radio can be pricey, social media is accessible to all business types and budgets. There are simple ways in which your local business can use these platforms to increase brand awareness and generate leads, and in this article, we will look at how your small or medium-sized business can get started.
- Create your social media profiles and start posting as soon as possible!
Just because you have a website doesn't mean that people can find it. Google has been driving search engines for over 15 years, so it is safe to say that most searchers will use this platform first to find information about your business. If you have a website, make sure to include links to your social media profiles on all of your web pages.
It's also essential that you start using these platforms as soon as possible. The more active you are, the better chance that potential customers will find you organically (when people use search engines to look for products or services you offer). You can start building an organic following by including your website link on all of your social media profiles.
There are tools such as Shoutlet and Simply Measured, which allow you to see analytics on how many followers you have gained organically, the demographics of those followers, and what is driving more people to follow you on social media. These analytics can come in handy to understand what is working and how best to target your audience in the future.
- Understand the difference between “social networking” and “business networking” platforms.
Social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are great places for your potential customers to learn more about your business. Business networking platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are geared towards sharing information about your products and gathering information on what type of customers you attract.
There is a big difference between the two, so you need to understand how each platform works before deciding where to spend most of your time. For example, you can post updates on what your business is up to on LinkedIn, including links to new blog posts or events. If you have a service-based business, it is not uncommon for potential customers to reach out through this platform about how they can use your services.
On Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat, however, users need to be following your page to see your updates. These platforms are mainly aimed at “social networking” with potential customers, meaning that it is essential that you share content that will encourage others to follow your page.
- Add social media links to all of your offline marketing material.
Another excellent way for your business to gain exposure through social media is to add your web address on all of your offline marketing materials. This could include print advertisements, business cards, flyers, and even branded clothing.
Many people search for local businesses using their smartphones when they are in the vicinity of that business (meaning they are not sitting in front of their computer). Having a link to your website on offline marketing material will allow them to quickly find out more about your business, even if they are not in front of their computer.
- Invest time in building your online community – don't buy fake followers!
The number one mistake that we see businesses make is buying fake followers to grow their numbers. These “fake” accounts will help your page look more impressive on the surface, but they won't result in meaningful interactions with potential customers – and it will ultimately end up costing you a lot of money! It would be best to put the time and effort into creating content that people want to share with their friends.
If you want to build an organic following, you need to start engaging with your audience. This means that when you post, you are not only posting updates for the sake of updating but encouraging people to interact. Engagement helps build trust, which will ultimately result in more real followers interested in what you have to say!
- Make sure all of your pages have an Instagram button on them.
Instagram is increasing in popularity, meaning more and more users are accessing the platform. By having an Instagram button on your website, you are increasing the likelihood that more people will find out about your page organically through social media. For example, someone looking at a product on your e-commerce site might want to know more about the company and what services they provide. This is where you can encourage them to follow your Instagram page so that they don't miss anything!
It would be best to consider adding an Instagram button on your offline marketing materials, as it will further increase the amount of exposure your pages receive. It might even convert those followers into actual customers, too – the possibilities are endless!
- Post regularly but not too much.
Make sure that you post content regularly, but don't go overboard with your updates. If people start to see the identical posts repeatedly, they might get annoyed and begin to unfollow your page – meaning you wouldn't be getting any exposure!
- Link your social media pages together.
The last tip that we'll give you is to link all of your social media accounts up so they can work alongside each other! Doing this means people will see all of your updates, no matter what platform they are on – meaning more exposure for your business! You can do this through a social media management tool such as Hootsuite.
This way, they can see where you are and what you're up to – whether it be on Instagram or Facebook!
And finally, we'll leave you with one final piece of advice. Make sure that your updates add value to the people viewing your page! This means that they will be more inclined to engage, interact and ultimately follow you. It is all about adding value to gain trust – trust goes a long way in online marketing, so make sure this is what you are bringing to the table!
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