A good understanding of social media is vital for every small business owner but the main problem is that a lot of small businesses’ owners are scared to start the journey towards social media because they don’t know how to manage and succeed without spending tons of money. The truth is that spending money on social media can only be part of a strategy but, most of the times, what really pays is the organic reach which only depends by the effort and a good knowledge of your audience. And this is even more true for small businesses.
If you wish to start using your social media account in the right way, below are ten advices to start with a look at some of the best examples from big Irish brands.
Analyze your target audience
Small businesses should always know their audience so well to be prepared to reach them on social media to drive awareness and sales. Analyze your audience looking at conversions, time spent on the website and also their behavior when browsing your site. This will give you a picture of what your audience is and how to capture them on social media. The Discovery Ireland’s Facebook page is a great example of a brand that knows its audience and its goals and makes everything to succeed offering to the people exactly what they want.
Choose your main social media channel
Even if you’re tempted to be present to every single platform just for the love of being where all the others are, it’s always better for small business to stay focused on just one channel after having identified the one that better reflects the spirit of the business and of its community. Spar Ireland has chosen to be on Facebook and Twitter but at the end of the day they’re really engaged only on Facebook.
Choose a strategy
Why are you on social media? What’s the purpose of your account? Answering to these questions will help your brand to have clear goals in working with the social media and also to develop a proper strategy which will lead to better conversions. Based on your brand and your target market you can decide to go visual and friendly or simply informative, using your social media channel as a customer care service. Aldi Ireland has decided to mix things up and they’re definitely succeeding on Facebook.
Draft a social media plan, guidelines included
If you’ve a strategy in mind then you also have to have a social media calendar to share your content with your followers. The social media calendar goes together with a book of guidelines to be followed by the social media team in the aim to properly represent the brand on social media. Your approach to the social media plan should be strictly related to what you want to communicate and should be a mix of promotional and emotive content. The guidelines should totally reflect the spirit of the brand and the company and set up the tone for all the interactions on social media. Have a look at the Dolmio Ireland’s Facebook page: they’ve chosen a funny approach and in doing this they mix promotional and emotive content naturally and with a big success.
Stay focused on your topic
Even if traditionally the social media are non transactional channels, with a good effort they can pay you back and reward your expenditures. The secret is to stay focused on your topic engaging your followers with topics they expect from you so that your brand awareness will grow and, proportionally, the sales as well. Look at the BFree’s Twitter page and you will easily understand what I’m talking about.
Create landing pages
If your goal is create awareness or sell your products/services, having dedicated landing pages to promote yourself on social media could be the solution because, according to a few studies, customers who engage with a brand via one or more social media outlets spend approximately 2x more than the average customer. That means you’ve to redirect your social media traffic to landing pages that facilitate the conversions you’re after and in doing this you’ve to apply the same rule we’ve discussed on the first point of this guide. The Web Summit for example has a specific landing page they promote on social media. The Web Summit for example has a specific landing page they use to promote the discounts’ codes on social media.
Start a two-way conversation
Social media are ideal to establish connections between people and brands and this is also their great advantage if compared to classical sites and traditional advertising. Once you’ve landed on the social networks if you want to stay on top you’ve to be present, respond to comments, answer questions and join in the conversation to make your brand perceived as human and, in this way, raise awareness and money. The Three Ireland’s Facebook page is a great example of a brand that knows it audience and also knows how to communicate with them and make them feel respected and helped. The Three Ireland’s Facebook page is a great example of a brand that knows it audience and also knows how to communicate with them and make them feel respected and helped.
Learn how to manage your time and your money
Social media can drive a lot of traffic and engagement but they can also simply fail and push brands and SMM to buy services to have their content shown to more people. This can be a good approach but sometimes it’s also a trap and it becomes a waste of time and money. Spend your time planning according to what you want to communicate, engage with others and find your way to maximize the impact social media can have on your business without spending too much: start building the foundations of your home and then, one block by another, you’ll get to the roof! Check out the Faces Behind the Purple and Gold campaign by Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club: a perfect example of a successful zero budget Social Media campaign.
Experiment and try
Knowing your audience doesn’t automatically mean you will be perfect and in line with them from the beginning. Experimenting and exploring must always be a must and a good way to always have something to look forward to. It doesn’t matter how many followers you got and how good your content are: there’s always something you’re striving for to reach your goals! Paddy Power and Ryanair are the champions in doing this: they experiment and always come up with something you don’t expect and their target audience always appreciate and reward buying and showing loyalty.
Measure, monitor and manage
Being on social media doesn’t mean you’ve to forget about numbers and results. There are a lot of tools that you can use to measure social network marketing results and brand buzz to make sure your strategy is working and your actually seeing results. If you can get the right numbers and you can measure them on a continuous basis then your social media marketing strategy makes sense.
Last but not least always remember to get over yourself and look for collaboration opportunities with other brands and people: be inspired by others to became, at a certain point, an inspirer as well.