The Evolution of Social Media
It’s been nearly 20 years since the first social media sites became popular with the use of sites such as Myspace.com and bebo.com. However, it was the start of Facebook.com that really kicked off the social media craze. Originally these sites were created to allow people to network and connect rather than for advertising purposes.
The evolution of mobile phones to smartphones then saw social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. The level of commitment of users meant that social media platforms found new ways to enhance their sites. With so many users on these platforms daily, the significance of these sites increased for businesses and, in turn, opened up an advertising opportunity.
The Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses
Social media is a very beneficial tool for small businesses as it boosts their online presence. In fact, research has shown that 42% of the world’s population are active social media users, which is around 3.2 billion users. These figures show how small businesses can have access to many customers at a much lower cost than other forms of advertising.
It helps you reach the right audience.
With advertising such as billboards or other print advertising, the audience you are targeting is much broader as you can profile the type of person that may be reading that magazine or passing down a street in a certain area. Still, it’s much more difficult to pinpoint their exact interest or needs. However, with automated marketing and the increased use of AI (artificial intelligence), it is now much easier to target advertising on social media, so your advertisement will come up for the people who actually have an interest in your product or service. However, your Facebook ads must be set up in the right way to achieve this, which many businesses get wrong.
It helps to give your brand a personality!
Humanising your brand helps customers to relate to your business and can help to grow loyalty. By using social media, you can show your followers the real people behind your company and highlight that real people are using your products and services. Finally, social media gives customers a way to communicate with you making your brand seem more approachable and reachable, which helps to build brand loyalty. Again, this is subject to you correctly utilising social media.
Increase brand awareness
Nowadays, everything is online! If you do not have an online presence, it’s challenging to make customers aware of your brand. Communicating with consumers and regularly posting content that engages your customers increases brand awareness. A massive 60% of Instagram users become aware of new products on this platform. It’s important to use engaging content such as images and videos and use Instagram/ Facebook stories tools.
Finding leads and capitalising on those leads is a major part of social media. Through regular interaction with users, you can create loyalty to your brand, which will, in turn, attract more customers through recommendations. Also, when your customers interact with your brand on certain social media platforms, their connections may then be made aware of your brand creating new leads. Creating opportunities for your customers to tag you in their posts can also bring in new leads. Facebook groups can also be a useful tool for creating brand awareness and new leads, whether you are a part of a group and post about your business or start your own group for tips and advice for users to interact with. In addition, running social media ads with a limited budget can produce new leads if it is well-targeted.
Marketing Strategies that can be used
The great thing about digital marketing is that you can engage with potential customers with minimal cost, so it is a valuable method for businesses with a small budget to get their name out into the market. It’s important to use strategies that will draw people to your brand through different forms of digital marketing.
Social Media content
It may seem obvious to say that publishing great social media content is key to your marketing strategy. So many businesses get stuck in a cycle of posting the same content or only posting about their products. If you lack interesting content, it can negatively impact your social media campaign.
News or studies related to your product or service are one way of posting interesting content that may engage social media users, i.e., research on the benefits of the product you are selling. By using such studies and enhancing them with graphics such as images and videos can strengthen your brand’s authority and portray it as a reliable brand.
Finding unique content can also be a good way to engage customers. Doing something different from your competitors will make your brand stand out and can position you as a leader within your sector.
Host a competition
A social media competition is a great way to engage customers and get them to share your post and, in turn, increase brand awareness. Such competitions can create excitement as consumers love free products, so rewarding them with your products builds awareness and a positive image of your brand.
Consumers posting and tagging their friends in your competition creates a connection between your business, the consumer, and their connections. It encourages people to visit your page and learn more about your products or services. Rewarding the winner with your products will give them a positive experience and, in turn, can encourage brand loyalty.
Partner with other businesses
Social media is all about networking, so by partnering with other businesses, you can expand your brand quickly as it allows you to reach out to their audience as well. Influencers are another way to do this. However, you have to ensure that you choose the right influencer for your brand, as if you get it wrong or the influencer is not ‘relevant’ in your industry, it may have a negative impact. Choosing the right influencers can be extremely useful in creating trust, as 88% of consumers trust online reviews and recommendations and are more likely to make a purchase.
Email marketing is still an important tool that is used worldwide at a very minimal cost. Using emails to connect with customers is a very powerful tool. You’ll be able to make the customer feel valuable to your brand by including special offers or discounts that are exclusive to them.
Research has shown that by personalising emails, you can increase the open rate by 29% and the click rate by 41%. So, this is a great way to boost the performance of your email marketing campaign without breaking the bank.
Loyalty schemes are based on customers being rewarded for their business. It’s a win-win situation for both customers and the business. Loyalty is important for any business as it ensures the customer will come back and purchase your product or service again. A loyalty scheme can also make your customer feel valued and connect with your brand. In addition, such schemes will give you some valuable data about your customers, which you can use to target your marketing. Such schemes can also save you money as retention of customers is less costly and time-consuming than finding new customers.
You can optimise your social media posts by using the right hashtags. Hashtags can also be used to identify your brand or to increase brand awareness. Hashtag turns a word or phrase into a clickable and searchable link. For hashtags to be effective, they must be relevant to your post, product, or brand.
One of the ways to gain good hashtag inspiration is by looking at what successful brands in your industry are doing.
Digital marketing is a great tool for businesses to use. However, to be successful, you must have a plan in place. It’s important to consider your audience when deciding which platforms to use. Having a strategy in place and planning the content for different platforms is essential. If you’re unable to put a successful social media strategy in place, you should consider getting expert advice, as this could save you a lot of time and money.