Managing Your Business
How Social Media Breaks Down Marketing Barriers for Entrepreneurs
If you had a brilliant business idea, there used to be a vast mountain to climb to get the word out. Unless you possessed an unlimited marketing budget, it was necessary to use cheap, old-school tactics of announcing your company and its offerings, such as distributing flyers and making cold calls.
The advent of social media in 1997 forever changed the marketing landscape for small business owners and entrepreneurs. The ability of the average consumer to connect with brands of all shapes and sizes online has broken down the barriers to entry when it comes to marketing your business.
Social Media’s Rising Influence
When Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption the same year Facebook launched in 2005, only 5% of adult Americans used at least one social platform. By 2011 that number had risen to 50% of all Americans. Today, seven out of 10 (72%) Americans use social media regularly (often daily) to connect with friends and family, follow and share news and information, seek entertainment, and engage with brands.
This makes social media one of the most cost-effective methods for getting the word out about your business. Using social platforms, entrepreneurs can connect with customers, increase brand awareness and help boost sales and leads. Startups can create interest early on, and established brands can gain new followers.
Social platforms have broken down the barriers that once held small businesses back. Your age (old or young), whether you have substantial marketing funds, or even if you only have an online storefront, doesn’t matter in the digital space.
Social media can bring any good business idea to life. There is no cost to create a business profile on major social media networks or to post. If you do decide to increase your odds of getting more exposure, ad costs are reasonable compared to traditional advertising fees.
How Social Media Helps Build Businesses
According to Statista, there are 3.96 billion social media users around the globe. That offers a tremendous number of opportunities to connect your brand with consumers. There are many benefits of using social media for your entrepreneurial enterprise.
Get Your Brand Noticed
To love your company, people need to know about it. Social media offers a quick and efficient way to introduce your business offerings. You can reach a large audience with relatively little time and effort. Consumers find and fall in love with new brands on social media all the time. An Instagram survey found that 83% of people surveyed said they discover new services and products on the platform.
Of course, the social media space is crowded and filled with 24/7 chatter. To get attention for your company, it’s essential to create relevant content via a solid, well-thought-out, and executed content strategy.
To determine an effective social media plan, you must first answer the question, what do you want customers to see and understand about your brand and then do? Knowing the answer to this question will guide your efforts.
For instance, if you have a brick-and-mortar location and wish to attract more shoppers to your space, you’ll want to focus on your in-person products and services. On the other hand, if your company is online, linking to written content that explains what you do and how you help your customers is critical.
Being an authority and thought leader in your industry is one of the best ways to ensure your business is booming. By demonstrating to potential customers via social media that you know your “stuff,” you amass a following ready and willing to use your services and products. Your followers also come to trust your knowledge and seek your input on social media, where other potential customers see your responses and add you to their list of go-to experts.
To become an authority in your field, try using the following tactics.
Engage with your followers. Make sure to answer questions posed to you as quickly as possible. When you engage with followers on social media, you further solidify your authority. Your approachability makes it more likely that they will come to you for products and services.
Publish regular blog posts and articles. Thought leaders publish their opinions, guidance, and forecasts regularly. Having a solid written content strategy in place for your blog and periodically linking to those posts on social media is necessary if you want your audience to recognize you as an authority in your field. Keep in mind that potential customers are likely to Google your name to see if you are whom you say you are.
Consider starting a podcast or YouTube channel. Showcasing your knowledge in different formats allows you to reach a wider audience. It also further cements your reputation as an expert in your field.
Set up an authoritative social media profile. Your profile offers an ideal opportunity to show your knowledge and experience.
Authenticity is critical on social media. Today’s customers aren’t interested in canned, sterile content, which they consider phony and boring. The beauty of social media is that you completely control your company’s image and persona as the business owner.
Followers want to see the real you, and they will know if you’re being unauthentic. Being true to who you are humanizes your brand and makes your company accessible. Authenticity also builds trust and respect. And the fact is that people like genuine people.
To be authentic, share how you embrace your brand values and how your products or services work for you in your everyday life. For instance, if your company promotes sustainability, highlight how you do your part to preserve the planet. Maybe you have a composting bin in your backyard. Share posts about how you got the bin started and your results.
Stay in the Forefront
If you post regularly, social media lets you stay top of mind for your followers. That means you will be one of the first companies they think of when they need a service or product you offer. The Pew Research study mentioned earlier found that 70 percent of social media users log in at least once daily, with 49 percent conveying they do so multiple times daily.
Social media lets you connect with your followers every time you log in. To stay at the forefront of their minds, focus on entertaining and informative posts that are easy to understand.
Also, ensure that you post regularly by creating a posting schedule. Consider automating your posts so that you stay on schedule and the task doesn’t become burdensome. Several scheduling platforms can help you automate posting.
Manage Your Reputation by Fielding Complaints and Compliments
Monitoring what people say about your company on social media gives you essential information about how people feel about your brand. This will provide you with important information about where your company may be falling short and where it’s excelling. Someone will do it for you if you don’t create a social media presence. Customers talk on social media even if you’re not on there. The best scenario is to be on hand to respond to comments, questions, and complaints.
You can thank the follower with positive comments and highlight their kind words. If someone is complaining, you can quickly address the negative comments before they become potentially viral, damaging issues. When negative opinions come in, take the opportunity to express your side of the story in a polite, professional manner. This allows you to protect your brand reputation, which is a task you don’t want to leave to strangers.
Provide Real-Time Customer Service and Support
In the virtual world in which we live, customers expect businesses to be available to address any issues or answer questions. Many customers expect a quick response when they post a question on social media. There are customer service platforms designed for social media that will help you handle incoming messages across your social media platforms.
Unlike traditional media, which is a one-way street, social media allows you to engage directly with your followers and customers, almost as if they were in the same room. Take the opportunity social media offers to have conversations with supporters. Doing this will promote interest in you and your brand and show that you genuinely care.
Social media can start conversations that promote interaction between followers, as well. For instance, you might mention a product, and then a follower comments on how much they like it. This allows you to reply with a thank you and more information about the product that other visitors will see on your page, who may join the conversation. You come out of the conversation with social belief in your brand and ideas for how you can improve or augment your offerings in the future.
If you want engagement from followers, it’s vital for you also to be engaged. Actively respond to comments and questions regularly.
Learn about Customers and their Buying Habits
Social media platforms generate a substantial amount of data about their users. The major social networks offer analytics that include demographic information about people who visit your social pages. This information can help you tailor your messages and understand those interested in your brand.
Stay in the Know
Social media is the place to go to discover what’s happening worldwide. Being online allows you to stay current with what is occurring in your industry. You can also take a look at what your competitors are up to. This information can help you plan the next steps and stay ahead of trends.
Tips for Making the Most of Social Media Marketing
While it’s crucial and cost-effective to establish your brand on social media, posting and planning posts can be time-consuming. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a solid social media plan. The more organized your approach, the more effective your social media strategies are likely to be. Keep the following planning tips in mind.
Determine your social media target audience
Rather than creating multiple accounts on social media and posting without any clear purpose in mind, determine your ideal target audience. You can do this by taking the time to create some buyer personas.
For instance, if you sell and make affordable handbags that look expensive, your customers likely appreciate good quality but find themselves on a budget. You can further drill down on your market by using this information to extrapolate a target age group.
Decide on the ideal social media platform based on your customers
The various social media platforms tend to attract specific users. For instance, according to Khoros, the largest age group on Facebook (31.5%) is people 25 to 34 years old, while the largest group on TikTok (25%) is 10 to 19 years old. In comparison, the largest group on Instagram (31.2%) is 25 to 34 years old, with 18-24-year-olds coming in second at (31%). According to Pew Research, social media users under 30 tend to use Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok.
In addition to age ranges, it’s important to assess why people are going onto the various social platforms. For instance, Twitter users often use the platform to ask questions and lodge complaints. Those using Pinterest often use the platform as an inspiration to shop and discover new products. LinkedIn is a top platform for B2B marketing. The largest group of users on that site range in age from 30 to 49.
Take some time to study the various social platforms and choose one or two that most align with your company’s mission and products and your target customer group. Then focus your efforts on those sites.
Choose a social media site that supports your strengths
You know where you excel and where you fall short. If you are an excellent writer or designer, you’ll want to use a social media platform aligned with that material, such as Facebook and Twitter. On the other hand, if photos are your thing, you may want to look at Instagram or Pinterest. Many sites also feature video, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat.
Devise a social media schedule
Once you’ve determined the ideal sites and signed up, develop a posting schedule you can keep up with. While you want to post as often as possible, avoid sacrificing quality for frequency. Post as often as possible while providing quality content that is authentic and useful for your audience.
Perhaps the most crucial aspect of a successful social media campaign is consistency. Your followers expect and rely on your content when you show up and post regularly. When that occurs, they are more likely to become constant customers. Your consistency shows them that your company is one they can rely on and trust to follow through.
To make posting more manageable, it’s helpful to batch your content. This will save you a great deal of time in the long run. Batching is doing all your social media in one sitting for a specific period. For example, you create posts for a two-week period and schedule them to go out automatically.
Start batching sessions by brainstorming ideas for posts. When you have a few ideas, see if you can break them down further into several posts. Most effective posts are bite-sized in nature and easy to digest.
By posting in batches and getting the work out of the way for a while, you also have the opportunity to look at the posts collectively and ensure they aren’t repetitive and reflect the brand voice you wish to convey.
In between batching sessions, gather ideas for posts and take accompanying photos and videos. Consider storing the ideas and collateral materials in a notetaking app. There are also a wide variety of social media apps and tools that make managing and posting easier.
Social media is an integral part of the business landscape that is here to stay. Those companies with a solid social media presence that use the platforms to their advantage will be able to effectively manage their brand voice, focus on customer service, and increase conversion rates.
Now that you know that social media can help you get your business off the ground, file your business idea as an LLC with Swyft Filings today.