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Fish Where They’re Biting: Tips for Creating a Profitable, Useful Social Media Presence for Your Business

social media marketing for small business

So, you’re finally ready to create the marketing engine you’ve been promising yourself you’d build for a long time. You’ve seen your competitors out there promoting themselves, and you know that you’ve got to, as well. These days, for any marketing plan to be successful, a solid social media presence is an absolute must.

Think you don’t need it? Not sure which channels are right for you or exactly how to go about getting social? Let’s figure it out.

Social Media for Small Business: Why Mess with Social Media (and Facebook in particular)?

The number one reason: Nearly everyone in the United States (78%[1]) is on some type of social media. Your customers and your prospects are social, which means you need to be, too.

Reasons number two and three? In the third quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.18 billion daily active users worldwide[2]. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” And, in 2016, 191.3 million users from the United States accessed Facebook from their mobile devices or desktop computers[3].

Oh, and reasons four and five: As of August 2016, Facebook accounted for 42.4 percent of all social media site visits[4] (more than YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Yelp combined). And, 80% of Facebook users use it at least once a day, while 43% access it several times a day[5].

small business social media marketingSimply put, you need to make sure your company’s online presence is solid, and Facebook, as a marketing tool, is too big to ignore.

Social Media Marketing is NOT Search Engine Marketing

This is an important distinction to remember when you’re working on your social media presence. You need to have a focus on search engine marketing and social media marketing, but you need to know the difference between the two.

Effective search engine marketing is focused on intent – when a user plugs a keyword into a search engine box, they typically have a very specific intent behind that query.  Think of Google as the world’s largest question and answer box – you ask it questions, it scours the entire internet and gives you back, very quickly, what it believes are the best answers to that question – whether or not you posed it as a question.

Effective social media marketing is much more focused on interests. Users do not go on Facebook or Pinterest or LinkedIn looking for answers to questions. Instead, they are engaging with their interests – whether those interests are their high school friends, their favorite TV shows or bands, pictures of their grandkids, etc. They aren’t looking for the best veterinarian or dry cleaner in town when they’re on Facebook, but seeing an ad or a post might very well trigger an interest.

Social media sites may just seem like fun and games (or a waste of time, depending on who you’re talking to) but they are actually revenue generating machines. Facebook makes A LOT of money by attracting users, understanding those users, and then selling advertising to businesses that want to reach those users. In fact, social media marketing is just like traditional media (television, radio, newspapers) – but it’s:

  • MUCH more targeted
  • MUCH cheaper to get started
  • MUCH more complex to do correctly

Social media sites make money by building audiences and selling access to those audiences to advertisers and then injecting those often very subtle advertising messages into a user’s feeds and streams. That’s why knowing your ideal target client’s profile is key to building an audience of those kinds of people and then advertising to them.

Typically, when building out your target client profile, you need to start with criteria including:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Income and/or Net Worth
  • Location (City, State, ZIP)
  • Life Stage – Have kids? Empty-nesters? Single? Married?

Just that information alone can enable you to begin building an audience in most social media platforms that you can modify over time as your efforts expand. As you become more comfortable with your marketing program, you can refine your audience with dozens of other criteria.

If you’re ahead of the game in online marketing, you may already have an opted-in customer list that includes email addresses. With that list you can begin to build “look-alike” audiences in social media sites (especially Facebook) that closely resemble your existing customers – and then target advertising to them.

And, if you’ve built your website correctly, you can gather information from your site visitors to build additional audiences for advertising targeting websites all over the internet. Have you ever searched for something on Amazon and then seen an ad for it on a completely unrelated site? You’ve got the same capability available to you.

Social Media Targeting is Incredibly Specific

What social media sites have achieved is an immense aggregation of attention and eyeballs, simply by getting consumers to share information about themselves in creative ways and by connecting them with their friends and networks.

Small businesses can develop a very profitable social media marketing strategy by taking advantage of social media’s greatest value – the interests and profiles their users. To be clear, this is not “personal” or “1:1” marketing where Your Pet Vet Clinic can specifically target Ashley Smith. But what Your Pet Vet Clinic can do with social media is:

  • Build a robust page with content regarding their services
  • Educate potential customers on animal health and wellness
  • Produce testimonial videos of satisfied customers about their experiences

Social Media Advertising Can Offer a Very High ROI – If it’s Done Correctly

All effective marketing can be described as, “fish where they’re biting.” Building a profitable social media program is very similar to successful marketing overall. You must:

  • Know your target audience (and know who isn’t your target audience)
  • Know your unique value (“great service” isn’t good enough)
  • Know where your audience congregates
  • Be where they are
  • Educate – “buy here now” won’t work in social media. You need to educate your target customers about the questions and issues they have in selecting businesses like yours and then have a good answer for why your company is the best solution for them.

small business social media marketing

You Do Not Have to be on Every Social Media Site

An effective social media presence is definitely a matter of quality over quantity. When it comes time to develop your strategy and think about how you’ll get the work done, consider:

  • Who is going to do the work of curating and posting content
  • How long that will take
  • Which sites are best for reaching your audience and sharing your content
  • How to measure the results of your efforts

6 Tips to Help Get Your Social Media Presence Where It Should Be

  1. Don’t build a social media presence and let it turn into a ghost town. If the last post on your page is “Happy New Year 2014!” that’s really worse than no page at all.
  2. Determine which platforms to be on by the time you have to invest. You don’t have to be everywhere. Be where you can handle the work and where your audience is.
  3. One of those platforms must be Facebook. I’ve argued that Facebook is largely where television advertising was at one point and is increasingly the dominant media channel in our lives. If you don’t already, you probably should get to know it now.
  4. Share, Inform and Educate. Your content isn’t the only content you should publish or post about. Share ideas, tips, education articles, etc. from other sources such as industry organizations or other experts in your field.
  5. Build Audiences. Use social media insights tools to understand who your audience is and then expand it.
  6. Be Consistent. If one post per week is all you can manage, that’s okay. Just be sure you don’t miss any weeks (See #1 above).

If social media is something you’re trying to figure out, but you don’t know where to start or just don’t have the capacity to get all the work done, I would love the opportunity to discuss how my team can help you succeed online. Simply visit www.fortunemarketinginc.com, email mark@fortunemarketinginc.com or call me at (501) 485-3048 to set up a FREE initial consultation to discuss how best to get your company taking advantage of the many benefits social media has to offer.

Notes / Sources:
[1] Edison Research; Triton Digital
[2] Facebook Quarterly Report
[3] Statista (Digital Market Outlook)
[4] Experian; MarketingCharts
[5] Pew Research Center