Most business these days are investing a lot of time and money into Social Media Marketing, even some small businesses are making sure their online presence is evident on social media networks. The reason for this is that social media is an excellent way of engaging a wider audience, creating brand awareness and increasing the number of potential customers you convert to paying ones.

Before you start networking on social media it is a good idea to think about your strategy and what you hope to achieve. While also familiarising yourself with how these social network platforms work and how you can use them to promote your business.

The benefits of Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing can take up a lot of time and energy, but the rewards can have a massive positive impact upon your business. Here are some of the main benefits from Social Media Marketing:

Developing Brand Identity: before you can increase your number of customers you first need to increase brand awareness and give your business a voice and a personality. This enables you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

 

Audience Engagement: you can talk to your potential and current customers through social media, find out what is being said about your company and respond, providing a better level of customer service. You can also learn a lot about what your customers want and how you can grow your business to meet the needs of your growing audience.

 

Retaining customers: through your posts and social media updates you will be reminding your customers of your business, keeping you at the forefront of their mind and therefore encouraging repeat business. If you use unique and valuable content you can even influence your customers purchasing decisions.

 

Promotion: you can promote your businesses goods/services, along with news and blogs, to direct more people to your website and to attract a new and wider audience. The more people engaging with your brand and developing a trust with it, the more new and repeat customers your business will have.

 

Social Platforms: which one is right for you?

Managing a social media campaign can be time consuming and if you have limited time and resources to dedicate to social media, it is probably best to concentrate on one or two social media platforms. Choosing which social platform to use, however, can be tricky as they all have tools and functions that are useful in promoting your business.

Which social media platform is best for you will largely depend on your business, your industry, your goals and which platforms your target audience are engaging mostly in. Here are some tips to help you make your decision:

Understand your target audience: Who are you trying to reach? What are they like? Which social media platform do they prefer?
Look at your competitors: Go to the website of your main competitors and look to which which platforms they advertise their presence on, check their social media pages to see how successful their campaigns are.

Search social media sites: visit the popular social media sites and use their search function to see how many people are searching for your goods/service. This will enable you to see which social media platform your target audience are mainly looking to engage in a business such as yours.

 

Facebook

Facebook is still the leading social media platform, with over 1.6 billion active users. An excellent tool for connecting you with customers from around the world, Facebook allows you to increase brand awareness and business exposure. There are a number of benefits to using Facebook if you are a business, here we will look at the main advantages.

How Facebook can impact positively on your business

Discoverability: having a social media presence and a profile wil make your business easier to find by potential customers.
Engagement: you can speak to your customers, find out what they like/dislike about your business, what their needs are and you can respond to comments.

Reputation management: you can see what people are saying about your business and respond, showing your level of customer service and helping to resolve issues.

Wider audience: every time someone likes, comments or shares a post or your page, they are essentially advertising your business to everyone on their friends list, which makes your business noticeable to a wider audience.

Analytics: you can see Facebook analytics and how much people are engaging with your brand, helping you to understand your audience more and enhance your marketing strategy.

How to set-up a business page on Facebook

You will most likely already have a personal profile with Facebook but for a business you will need to set-up a page, if you don’t already have a page for your business go to: www.facebook.com/pages/create and create one.

To optimise your new business page, here are some things you should include:

  • A profile picture (180 x 180)
  • A cover image (if possible include a call-to-action within this)
  • A business description/biography
  • Business address, contact details and website
  • Opening hours
  • Finding customers

To help you to both find and connect with your target audience first consider:

  1. Who are your target audience? Think about who they are, how old they are, where they live, etc.
  2. What do your target audience have in common? What are their shared interests, goals and needs?
  3. How you can meet their needs: How can your business solve common problems your target audience face?
  4. Grouping your target audience: How can you group your target audience to appeal more directly to them?
  5. Facebook has useful functions, such as a tool where you can input the email addresses of existing customers and link with them on Facebook, to help you initially grow your target audience.

In addition you need to engage with and encourage your current audience to like, share and interact with your brand to help you to reach a wider audience.

Promoting your Facebook page

Here are some ways to promote your Facebook page to your existing audience and through current marketing:

  • Add a Facebook like widget onto your website.
  • Offer discounts and rewards for existing customers who like your page.
  • Add your Facebook page to your company stationery, such as letterheads, receipts and invoices.
  • Promote your Facebook page on flyers and anything else you distribute.
  • Ask your friends and family to like your page.

Make sure you use a recognisable image for your profile picture and cover, whether this is an image of your branding or an image of ‘the face of the company’, so when you invite people to like your page, they know instantly who you are.

Promoting your business through your Facebook Page

When it comes to promoting your business through Facebook and keeping your page active, here are some things you should do:

  1. Add a call-to-action button onto your Facebook page: such as a button that says ‘Buy Now’, to redirect customers from Facebook to your website or place where they can buy your product, make a booking/appointment, contact you, sign-up, etc.
  2. Use well-rounded content: write posts but also use images and videos. Research shows that people engage better with visual posts, but it is good to have a mixture.
  3. Online reputation management: you can monitor and respond to comments, aiming to respond within 48 hours.
  4. Use Facebook Analytics: to track the success of your page.
  5. Use the pinning feature: to pin your most popular posts, along with upcoming events or news, to the top of your page.

Remarketing through Facebook

One of the many ways to use Facebook to your business advantage is to run remarketing campaigns to target people who have visited your site and left without converting. Facebook remarketing allows you to advertise directly to the people who have shown an interest in your goods/service, helping to boost conversions and lower the cost-per-acquisition.

What is remarketing?

Have you ever looked at a product on an online store but left without buying it, then later while on Facebook or Google, been shown an ad for that same product? This is remarketing! It is the art of targeting someone who has already shown an interest in a product/service, showing them an ad to remind them about it and then providing them with a link to buy it.

The benefits of Facebook Remarketing:

  • Drives traffic and increases conversions: you are more likely to convert a potential customer to a paying customer once they have already shown interest in your business, which is why remarketing produces better results in impacting upon conversion rates
  • Build brand awareness: reminding your customers of your business helps you to remain at the forefront of their mind, they remember your brand and your goods/services.
  • You can target different groups: you can target just those that have converted, or everyone, including the people who have visited your site but not converted to customers.
  • Experiment with the duration: remarketing campaigns can be edited to different time period, though they default to running for 30 days. Depending upon your industry you might find that running your campaign for longer works better.

 

Facebook and Instagram Ads

Facebook and Instagram Ads have been grouped together because they both use the same platform, the Facebook Ads Platform (otherwise known as Facebook Business Manager or Power Editor). This is a unique platform that allows you to specifically advertise to your target audience.

When users sign-up to Facebook and Instagram they are asked for some personal information, such as age, gender and job title, for example. This allows you to be very specific on who you want to target and even allows you to group your target audience and market them differently.

Before beginning a Facebook Ad campaign you need to understand how to set-up and manage it. In this section we break down the important things you need to know.

Ad Format Types

There are a number of different Ad formats for Facebook and Instagram, before you can begin a campaign you need to decide which ad format is right for you. Here are the main 6:

  1. Promote your Page: this ad drives traffic to your Facebook page.
  2. Send People to your Website: this enhances brand awareness.
  3. Boost your Posts: this is the easiest and quickest type of ad you can run.
  4. Increase Conversions: designed to increase sales.
  5. Invitation to Install App: for anyone wanting to promote downloads of their app.
  6. Special Offer ads: perfect for sales, discounts, special offers and limited offers.

There are currently another 6 ad formats, which are designed to:

  1. Increase brand awareness
  2. Generate leads
  3. Increase engagement
  4. Increase video views
  5. Target a local audience
  6. Advertise an event

Setting-up a Facebook Ad Campaign

You need to create a campaign that encourages more people to click onto your Facebook Ad. When you are writing your ad you need to:

  • Create an informative and interesting headline.
  • Write a description to explain what you are selling or why you have used certain images.
  • Use images that are eye-catching and relevant to your Facebook page.
  • Make sure you clearly show your unique selling point.
  • Test your campaign by duplicating it and making changes, such as using a different headline or image.
  • Define the group you are targeting through insights and testing, ascertaining age, gender, location, relationship status, etc.
  • Plan your budget by deciding how much you are willing to spend each day on ads.
  • Understanding your Quality Score on Facebook
  • Like most search engines and Google Adwords, Facebook and Instagram use a ‘relevance testing score’ to determine where and when your ads are shown.

How is a quality score calculated?

Your ad will be given a relevance score between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest. This score is calculated based on the feedback Facebook is expecting the target audience to give the campaign and it is updated as more people interact with your ad campaign and leave feedback. The more times the ad is hidden or reported, the lower the score will be, the more positive indicators the ad has (such as conversions and video views) the higher the quality score will be.

Why does quality score matter?

By understanding this relevance score you can reduce the amount you are spending on Facebook ads. The higher your ads relevance score, the lower the cost of running the campaign.

How can you improve your quality score?

The average quality score is between 5 and 7, to improve this you need to get more people responding positively to your campaign by liking, sharing or clicking on your ad. Here are some ways to improve your ad campaign quality score:

Define your audience: be specific when defining your audience so that you can target specifically the people you are trying to reach.

Split testing: run more than one ad and compare the two to find out what text/images/videos are working and which aren’t.

Calls-to-action: test which call-to-action works best for your campaign and try to encourage your audience to click on it.
Use different media: sometimes images will work best for your campaign, other times video’s will make more of an impact, use whichever works best for your ad.

Instagram

Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses to grow their audience and brand awareness. Instagram has reached more than 150 million active users quicker than any other social media platform except Google + and can be used to show visual content to your audience, without character number restrictions.

With most of the world’s top brands using Instagram, it has become a platform to reflect your brand and image. It allows followers more information on a business which develops the relationship through developing trust and loyalty.

The Benefits of Instagram

There are lots of benefits to using Instagram to market your business, here we are going to concentrate on the main three:

  • More Website Traffic: by adding your URL into your biography and including them in posts (though they won’t be clickable) you can encourage your followers to click onto your website.
  • Give your business a personality: on Instagram you can give your business a voice and personality which helps to form your brand and develop trust between your business and your followers.
  • Better Audience Engagement: the audience on Instagram is much better at engaging with your posts, with Instagram generating, on average, 58 times high engagement rates than Facebook.

Marketing Strategy for Instagram Ads

To run a successful marketing campaign on Instagram you have to think about your strategy, define your brand identity in the market and utilise both visual creativity and engagement within the online community.

Through Instagram you can:

  1. Increase awareness of your brand
  2. Promote your services/goods
  3. Connect with influencers
  4. Establish a community
  5. Share news/promotions/events

But to do any of this, you first need to plan your marketing strategy.

To create this, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your objectives? Decide what you want to achieve and who your target audience are.
  • What is your content strategy? What are you going to post? (text, images, videos or a combination) When are you going to post and when are your audience more likely to engage? This might require some research and experimentation.
  • What is your brand? What look and feel do you want your Instagram profile to have? This is going to showcase your brand so you want to make sure you stand out among the crowd.

Tips to boost your Instagram marketing campaign

To get the most out of your Instagram marketing campaign, to attract a wider audience and drive traffic to your site, follow these tips:

Connect to your other social media platforms on Instagram, so that when you update your Instagram all of your other platforms update too. This is easily done through your Instagram settings, in linked accounts.

Engage with your Instagram community

Use more visuals and less text. You will see the most popular trending posts include little to no text.
Use Hashtags in your posts, think of hashtags as keywords for social media such as Instagram and Twitter.

Twitter

While it is not the most popular social media platform, Twitter is still incredibly powerful for increasing your brand awareness, reaching your audience, educating customers and promoting your services/goods.

Twitter: Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is set-up your Twitter account, to do this you will need to:

  1. Create a username: make sure you choose a username that represents the business, if your company name is already taken, select something as close to it as possible and avoid using punctuation marks to make it easier to remember for your audience.
  2. Select 2 images: these will appear on your Twitter profile and against all of your comments, so select good images that represent your branding.
  3. Write an eye-catching bio: in 160 characters you need to sell the unique selling points of your company.
  4. Add your website address: to encourage more traffic to your site.
  5. Adjust your location settings: if this is applicable to your business, this is perfect for local businesses

Twitter: Gaining followers

Unless you are ‘someone of importance’ like a celebrity or royalty, gaining followers on Twitter is going to take time and work. However, there are some things you can do to engage more with your audience and create a following:

Engage in trending conversations: use the search feature on Twitter to see what subjects are trending now, join in conversations to both provide information and insight, while also increasing awareness of your business. Knowing what your audience are talking about helps you to engage with them, understand their interests, goals and problems.

Regularly tweet: according to analytics, the more tweets you post to your account, the more followers you are likely to gain. To make sure your tweets are often and regular, you can write and schedule your posts ahead of time.

Engage with users with similar interests: find similar content and comment, favourite or retweet it. This encourages the author of that post to follow you on the basis that you have common interests.

Retweet: if you see tweets from other users that you think would work well with your audience, or things like inspiration quotes or humorous posts, retweet them for your followers to see. If you are using quotes remember to add #quotes.

Once you have started posting and creating a following, you need to begin to use analytics and review the data of your posts. You should also do split testing to understand the best time to post so that your followers see your content.

Twitter: Understanding Algorithms

Twitter’s algorithms collate user information, such as the people they follow and their previous engagements, and then use this to determine which tweets that user will be most interested in. This is built into the new timeline feature which shows what Twitter considers to be the best tweets for the user, at the top of the list, followed by other tweets, both in reverse chronological order. For your tweets to remain at the top of your followers lists, you need to encourage them to engage in, share or comment on your tweets.

Twitter: Creating Ads

Creating a Twitter ad is much more simple as there are only three ad platforms:

Promoted Account: this ad format suggests new people to follow to Twitter users, helping you to grow your audience. In turn this will increase brand awareness and sharing via word-of-mouth, along with driving conversions and increasing website traffic.

Promoted Tweet: this ad format promotes your ‘regular’ tweets so that they are seen by more people, helping you to promote the more popular tweets and expand their reach. These can be used to promote sales and provide vouchers, with the benefits including increased website traffic and lead generation cards resulting in an increase in leads.

Promoted Trends: similar to promoted tweets, promoted trends is an extension of this whereby businesses can purchase a promoted trend, to appear in Twitter’s most trending search.

Twitter does not collect as much personal information from their users which limits how much you are able to target your desired audience. However, you are still able to specify your preferred:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Interests
  • Keywords (i.e. target people who have searched for your keywords)

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an excellent social media platform for professionals looking to make connections, create a network, increase brand awareness and generate leads. It is especially useful for B2B companies and has now become the leading social media site used by B2B marketers.

LinkedIn: The Benefits

The misconception is that LinkedIn is only used by people who are looking for a job, or those recruiting, but this is not the case. LinkedIn is a very useful tool and it has a number of benefits:

The creation of shareable content: through your LinkedIn profile you can create content that is informative and adds value to the reader, this could be in the form of a blog, video or even a webinar.

Endorsed skills: when you complete your profile you will note your experience and skills. People who you connect with can then endorse your skills, giving your more credibility and making you more trustworthy to potential customers.

Be ahead of the game: LinkedIn is one of the social media sites that is often ignored by businesses and professionals,so by having a LinkedIn profile and a network, you show your business to be ahead of the competition.

Other Social Media Platforms

Snapchat

Snapchat may not be suitable for every business due to its demographics, however, if you’re targeting a younger audience then you might find Snapchat a new way to raise brand awareness and communicate with your audience. Snapchat is incredibly popular, it’s number of users is growing daily, with 100 million daily users and 200 million active users, helping your business to reach a wider audience.

 

According to some recent statistics almost half (45% to be exact) of the Snapchat user base is 24 years of age or under. Those aged between 25 and 34 make up 26% of the user base, while ages 35 to 44 come to 13%, aged 45 to 54 totals 10% and the final 6% are aged between 55 and 64. With the majority of users being under 34 years of age, Snapchat is perfect for reaching the younger generations.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a social media platform that allows users to send and receive photos and videos, known as snaps, which self-destruct after they have been viewed. You can also post on your story, which lasts longer (up to 24 hours).

How can you promote your business on Snapchat?

There are plenty of ways you can use Snapchat to increase brand awareness, traffic to your website and conversion rates. These include:

Industry Advice: give informative tips and hints on your business and the industry it operates in.

Insider information: give your Snapchat followers exclusive access to a new product or event,or share news. All of this will help you to give your brand a voice and increase awareness of it.

Rewards: give your followers rewards in the form of discounts, vouchers, offers and competitions.

When it comes to posting on Snapchat, make sure your content is dynamic, fun and engaging, to attract a higher volume of followers.

Google Plus (Google +)

Google Plus is one of the smallest social media platforms with only 111 million active accounts.

For this reason most businesses choose to ignore Google Plus, not considering it to be important enough to waste time on, however, there is one massive benefit to using Google Plus that people tend to overlook.

Posting content onto Google Plus helps your business website rank higher in Google search engine results. This is because when you post onto your Google Plus Business Page, the content is immediately indexed by Google which impacts positively on your ranking in search engine results.

Pinterest

Pinterest is another popular social media platform that is currently popular with businesses. Used for brand awareness, audience engagement and to network with those of similar interests, Pinterest has over 100 million active users and monthly page views of 2.5 billion.

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media platform that allows users to share and organise images and other visual and written content. You can upload these yourself or find the content online and its aim is to help people find creative ideas.

What benefits does Pinterest have for a business?

There are a number of benefits for businesses which is why so many focus part of their social media strategy on Pinterest. These benefits include:

  1. Reaching your target audience
  2. Your content lasts forever, unlike with Snapchat
  3. Pinners engage well with brands
  4. Understanding the needs and problems of your target audience.
  5. Keeping on top of popular trends and new products.