It’s 2018. The world is headed for a digital and technology-driven lifestyle. The trend is definitely not yet fading away.
What are you looking at? Are you scrolling through your Facebook News Feed, Twitter Feed, or randomly staring at people’s Instagram pictures and snapchats?
Social media is NOT the next big thing. In fact, it has been the big thing dominating almost the daily lives of 2.46 billion people across the world.
You’ve heard of digital marketing. And you’re an active participant of social media. Now, you’re about to learn the connection between the two.
Social media marketing may sound foreign, but really, it’s the trend you should never miss out on.
Let’s get started!
Why does your local business need Social Media Marketing?
Before going to the how’s, let’s ask the why’s. You might be a little undecided now, but the following reasons will fully convince you why Social Media Marketing is indeed something you should get your hands on.
1.) Improved brand awareness
Social media marketing is one of the few stress-free ways of establishing your name in the Internet realm. Aside from being profitable, social media channels increase your business visibility. As more people are engaging in social media, you have more chances of igniting and getting their interest when you build your name online.
You can start by creating several social media profiles. As we move on, you will know what social media networks work best. For now, you have to realize that your social media profiles will play a huge part in creating and maintaining your brand. Just simple engagement and interaction with users can take you a little further ahead than other businesses.
By allotting only a few hours per week, over 91% marketers claimed that their social marketing efforts greatly increased their brand visibility and heightened user experience.
From the many digital advertising strategies, social media marketing may be the most cost-effective. Signing up for social media networks are almost always free and all you have to put into the table is consistency, time, and high-quality posts.
Social media channels have advertising platforms though, and if you’d like, you can pay to advertise your business name. But remember, don’t start big. Start from the bottom and see if there’s any effect to your business exposure. If you think the ads contribute to a higher rate of page click-throughs and conversions, you can slowly try the costlier offers.
3.) You are building rapport with customers
Social media was primarily created for interaction and communication between people. As a local business, it is greatly advantageous for you to interact with your potential customers. The more you communicate with them, the greater the chances of conversions. Users like it when their concerns are heard and are given appropriate response.
By establishing rapport, you are showing that you do not only focus on pitching in offers but cater to the needs of customers as well and creating a healthy relationship with them.
4.) Improved brand trust
It always doesn’t end in just creating brand awareness. The goal for every business is customer loyalty and retention. Social media marketing, if done well, can be a really good way to acquire loyal customers.
Customer satisfaction and brand loyalty cannot be separated. In between, you can insert consistent interaction with them to complete the formula. Creating a meaningful bond with customers through social media networks is a catalyst to having satisfied and loyal customers.
By simply creating promotions and events in your social media profiles, you will surely get at least one loyal customer. That shows the power of social media. Customers like it when they get the attention they deserve.
5.) It is a good research tool
Social media marketing is a stone that hits two birds at once. It is not only limited to introducing your business to the world and pitching in offers. It is also a good method to learn about the current trends in the industry of business.
By incorporating social media in your marketing strategy, you have the opportunity to know more about what’s the “it”, and what interests customers the most. As you try to establish a name for yourself, you can also use the comments and feedbacks from users to adjust your business strategy to cater to their needs and wants. After all, a business has to learn about the latest trends to survive.
6.) Increased traffic and SEO ranking
As you post on social media, you are encouraging readers to click through your website, therefore, increasing traffic. You know that the more inbound traffic you gain, the more chances of conversion and you also get your name known.
Local SEO strategies vary. It isn’t enough that you optimize your website to achieve the results you want. Now, you can make use of social media networks to inform search engines of your existence and climb up the ranks of the search results pages.
Social Media Marketing Tips for Local Businesses
Let’s start unraveling the how’s of this important marketing strategy.
1.) Analyze the industry
Analyzing the industry means studying the competitors and identifying the social media channels that contain the most number of targeted customers. Take note of your audience demographics too, so that you can carefully lay out your strategy of reaching them.
As of April 2018, here are the leading social networks with number of users in millions according to Statista:
- Facebook – 2 234
- Youtube – 1 500
- WhatsApp – 1 500
- Facebook Messenger – 1 300
- WeChat – 980
- Instagram – 813
- Tumblr – 794
- QQ – 783
Facebook seems to have the biggest number of users, but take note that your customers might not necessarily be in Facebook. If you concentrate on marketing on Facebook just because they have the most number of users, you might miss out on the real place where your target audience is.
This is why before laying out your strategy to different platforms, carefully study your audience’s demographics. A chunk of them might be in a smaller network. What interests them the most? Which social media channel caters to their preferences more? These are questions you have to ask.
Before a boxer comes up the ring, he first carefully studied the technique of his competitor. So should you.
As a local business, the Internet is unpredictable. Think of the social media as a battleground. You are not the only one marketing your business. There are a lot of competitors, both new and seasoned ones. If you step in without a clue, you might see yourself wasting a lot of your efforts.
Learn about how your competitors navigate social media trends and updates. You’ll discover what a good or bad strategy is.
Neil Patel, an esteemed entrepreneur, provides three useful tools to know more about your competitors’ social marketing strategy insights:
- Ahrefs Content Explorer – this tool allows you to know the number of content shares of a competitor’s domain. It provides statistics on the blog content that gets shared on various social media platforms
- Mention – this tool is an effective way of monitoring the keywords that are related to your business, and to your competitors as well across the social media
- BuzzSumo – this tool works simple but gives you amazing results. By just typing in a keyword, you will learn the most shared content related to it, giving you an idea of the number of businesses that are similar to yours
2.) Have contests and offer discounts
If you want to keep your social media profiles active and to stir customers, conducting special events and promos will definitely earn you their attention. Getting special discounts on products and services is one of the top reasons users follow brands on social media. This is also one sure way of acquiring your loyal customers.
Creating engagements and interaction with customers by conducting contests deepens your bond with them. Don’t focus too much on pitching your offers, while you’re at it, have a bit of fun added.
Conducting a contest on Facebook will give you a great chance of reaching out to the most number of people, considering its user base. Contests in Facebook are relatively simple and easy. You can ask users to comment, like or post on a page to enter a contest. You can even like a page and get access to a contest entry form or a raffle draw for amazing offers.
For a Twitter contest, you can conduct one where users create a 280 tweet story about their experience with your product or service and have a chance to winning some treats. You will get surprised about the number of people who have actually experienced your brand!
Some other contests you can use for your social media pages are:
- LIKE it to WIN it for Instagram
- Photo story contests
- In-store photo story contests
- Share your story contests
3.) Post high-quality updates
The key to keeping your audience interested is to consistently post updates that they find useful, or entertaining. Remember, your updates don’t have to be all about your products and services because it will only bore your target people. They don’t want everything to be just about you pitching and shoving off your offers.
Keep your content entertaining and with a twist. You may post photos of your team, add a story about the company’s history, or give them a glimpse of how your products are made. Nothing beats anything having fun to it.
Customers like it when they feel intimate and close to a brand. That way, they will give you their utmost trust and they won’t see you only as a superficial local business trying to increase one’s sales.
You can also post links to your blog content thereby increasing traffic to your website. In writing your content, talk about local and community events to get their interests.
4.) Connect offline
Social media marketing isn’t all about being online to attract customers. If you’re just starting out, there’s no need to chase for social media followers online.
You can find your first followers from your regular customers, and I mean the customers that physically visit your physical store. As they drop by your store, you can slowly break it to them that you have a social media page and that it would keep them updated about the latest offers if they hit like on your page.
Don’t come out pushy. Just tell them that they can look at the page itself before liking so you know they aren’t forced to do so.
You can also put signage on your store to show people which social media networks you’re in. You can also use QR codes so that customers will find it easier to land on your profile. You can also give treats to customers who mentioned your page or checked-in to your store.
Tips on Choosing the Best Social Media Marketing Agency
You can’t do everything by yourself. To ensure that you play your social media marketing game right, having an agency to get things done for you will lessen the hassle.
1.) Learn about the company’s identification
Choose an agency that clearly identifies themselves as experts in social media marketing. Remember, there is a wide variety of marketing subcategories. There is digital marketing, content marketing, email marketing, video marketing, etc. If you want to focus on social media, you have to pick an agency that specializes in social media marketing.
Their identification also gives you the idea whether they really know how to bring your business into social media networks or not. Don’t be overwhelmed when they present you with a plan. See to it that the plan actually matches with your desired outcome.
You don’t want to be overpromised with good outcomes but fall short in reality just because you failed to examine that the agency isn’t well-versed with social media marketing.
2.) Look at their sample work
An agency’s sample work doesn’t have to be compiled in a portfolio for you to see. The company can simply provide you the links of their previous and ongoing marketing campaigns. You can examine if they have worked with similar businesses as yours and whether these campaigns have been successful.
By inquiring about their past work, you will also learn about how long they’ve been in the industry. If they have been in the industry for a long time, consider choosing the company. Seasoned agencies usually know the cracks and corners of the field. If they are new to the industry, you can ask if they’ve worked with businesses that have the same nature as yours.
3.) Examine their strategy
The most important thing worth noting when choosing a social media marketing agency is their strategy in bringing you the social media success you desire. It must be clear that they know and understand your objectives. Even if they are experts, they shouldn’t be all about taking matters in their own hands. As a client, you have the right to get consulted for every little thing that they are going to do.
Always ask about the how. How will they create the strategy? How will they execute the strategy? How will they modify the strategy if it doesn’t work? The answers to these questions will tell you a lot about their plan for your business.
Determine also how the agency will give you reports of measures of success for the entire campaign. They must be able to provide data about the social media reach, growth, and engagement, website traffic, and lead generation from social media. Knowing these data tells you how far your social media marketing efforts have gone.
It is also equally important for you to know how you will communicate with the agency. Do they only allow fixed periods of consultation? Or do they respond to you when you urgently ask for something? Communication is everything for anything to prosper. Choose an agency that makes an effort to consistently communicate with you and informs you of the status of the marketing strategies being employed. This way, you will know how much you’ve progressed and what other things are left to be done.
4.) Ask about their staff
Your social media marketing is not going to be done by one person. It is going to be from a combined effort of a group of people. Ask the agency how they will give you your team of marketers. If they’re outsourcing the staff, you have to be extra cautious. Outsourcing might mean that the agency you choose only acts as a messenger and that what you want to happen may not be executed accurately by the 3rd party.
Pick a company that does their work with their own team, in-house. This allows you to know the people behind all the efforts and to trust them more in getting your business a little bit closer to success.
5.) Ask about the cost
Before settling in with an agency, ask about the cost of the services. Don’t expect anything. Wait until they offer the price and then you can see for yourself if you’ll settle for a cheaper one. But remember, you get what you pay for.
Cost-effective is different from cheap. Be careful to never exchange quality for a cheap price. If a costlier but reasonable price is available, consider the agency. Still, you have to take note of other considerations given here before deciding.
Always ask yourself if the prices make sense. If they don’t, then it probably doesn’t really make sense.
6.) Consider the agency’s reputation
The always sure way of identifying a company’s reputation is through comments and feedbacks from people who have experienced the company’s products and services. In search for the best, you should also do your part in making sure that the agency you pick has a good reputation.
You can make your searches online and read reviews about the company. Satisfied clients will always leave something positive. If you find something negative, you can ask the agency about it and listen to their response.
You can also ask the agency for a list of client references. These clients will help you paint a picture of the company’s reputation. Ask them about their experience with the agency and if they achieved the results they wanted.
Social media and marketing. Do you see the connection now?
Social media has become more than just a place for friendly engagements. And marketing has become more than just the traditional.
Combining the two makes a killer marketing strategy. Remember, billions and billions of users reside in these social media networks. Just imagine your business reaching these billions of people.
Don’t consider it. Do it.
Get your social media marketing game on.