by Kate Rollins
Kate Rollins Web Design, LLC
Every successful business has a marketing plan, and an advertising budget to achieve its marketing goals. How do you navigate the many avenues of promoting your business?
Social media has become the most cost-efficient and effective tool for reaching targeted audiences and carrying out your marketing goals. It helps you build brand awareness and engage with your audience to establish trust and boost your authority.
How do you choose what social media are best for you?
Of small business owners that use it, 92 percent believe social media marketing is very important for their business (source: Business2Community). The average user of social media typically manages five social media accounts. Ads on social media are significantly more cost-efficient than any other advertising platform and deliver better reach—the number of people your posts were served to—and user conversion rates (source: Neustar Aggregate Knowledge).
But can you masterfully manage more than two to three social media platforms? Unless you are a social media specialist, such as myself, I doubt that. After all, you have your business to manage! What you can and need to do is choose the two or three social media platforms that suit you and your business best, and work them.
This depends mainly on two factors: the kind of products or services you offer and, even more importantly, the age of your target audience. The location of your product distribution or service coverage matters somewhat as well, but not all that much.
Facebook still leads the pack as the most widely used social platform, and the one on which you’ll find the more mature and affluent demographics. That is why I generally recommend it as your first choice, unless your main target audience is very young. If you are targeting teens or young adults, then you must get on Instagram.
Other social media include Google+, which is very important for local businesses; YouTube, which is ideal for using videos to boost your search engine ranking; and LinkedIn, for increased visibility and promotion of your professional image.
If you are a photographer or own an art gallery, jewelry or clothing store, then your need to post on either Pinterest—if you are targeting people in their 40s and up—or Instagram, if your audience is young. These two are the best social platforms for visuals.
An important question is: How do we measure the effectiveness of social media campaigns?
Engagement (post likes, comments and shares) is considered by the majority of marketers as the most important metric for evaluating social media marketing success. Audience size (number of fans or followers) and the traffic your social channels bring to your website are the other two.
Many think frequent social media posts is all it takes to be successful in social media. But who will see them? It used to be that every post on Facebook or Twitter appeared in your fans’ and followers’ timelines. That is called organic reach. That is no longer the case. Organic reach is being steadily reduced, as Facebook and Twitter posts are pushed to the timelines of an ever smaller number of your fans/followers. Now you have to boost your posts (i.e. pay for exposure) if you want them to be delivered to a larger audience. The good news is, boosting your posts allows you to reach new people and define well-targeted audiences by interest and location.
And believe me, increasing the awareness of your brand is well worth the few dollars you spend on boosting each post. But be sure to make the best of it: write well-thought posts that get your audience’s attention and engagement, not sales pitches that turn them off and send them to your competitors.