Social media is, for most people, part of daily life.
In fact, the average amount of time spent on social media worldwide is believed to be around 2.5 hours daily per person.
So, the question isn’t whether or not using social media could benefit your business. With millions of leads spending a solid portion of their waking hours on various platforms, there’s no doubt reaching even a fraction of them could boost your bottom line.
What you really want to know is the how: How do you use social media marketing to grow your business?
What is social media marketing
A marketing strategy that is less than twenty years old, social media only recently became a hot commodity.
Marketing with social media means you’re using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as a way to connect with your audience, build your brand, and (hopefully) increase your sales.
Depending on how you choose to use it, social media can be a free or paid marketing tool, which is a huge plus for businesses without big budgets. Pay for advertising or extend your organic reach through frequency of posts and creativity of content—the choice is yours.
Platforms for marketing with social media
When you want a jumpstart on growing business with social media, you may be tempted to sign up for multiple social media channels. Don’t do it!
Trying to be everywhere can lead to burnout as well as a lack of creativity—because you’re distracted by trying to post everywhere all the time. Instead, start small. Pick one or two channels that align with your overall business and the type of content you want to create. Prefer writing long posts that contain a lot of information? There’s a platform for that. Do you enjoy creating short videos or posting incredible images? There are platforms for those preferences, too!
Facebook: Boasting 2.9 billion users and generating hundreds of billions in revenue, this platform is the “grandfather” of social media originally released in 2004. While its demographic constantly seems to shift, Facebook still proves itself to be a lucrative advertising space for a variety of industries and company sizes. They also continue to evolve their ad space and newsfeed making it possible to not only post words but also video and photos. Users can even post real-time videos.
YouTube: Offering your business up to 2.6 billion users, it’s estimated that people watch roughly 1 billion hours of video per DAY on this social media giant. Popular with younger demographics, it’s thought that around 95% of 18-29 year-olds in the U.S. use YouTube while 91% of 30-49 year-olds in the U.S. use YouTube.
TikTok: One of the fastest growing social media platforms ever, this platform contains 1 billion users, nearly doubling its numbers from only a year ago. Utilizing short-form video (15 seconds, 30 seconds, 6 minutes) and a search by hashtag, this platform offers a global reach, though it tends to lean heavily into localized content through popularized “challenges” making it a great fit for neighborhood businesses.
Instagram: Not to be outdone, this visual-based platform is home to 1.4 billion monthly active users. You can use it to post not only photos but real-time videos, “stories” which last 24 hours before disappearing from your feed, and “reels” which are videos you can save to your profile, making them accessible again and again to your followers. Hashtags are integral to discovering content across this platform.
LinkedIn: One of social media’s best kept secrets for businesses is this platform. With around 850 million users, this platform has a reputation for being “professional” and makes a great social prospecting space. It leans heavily into written content and LinkedIn’s audience tends to have higher education and mostly consists of early professionals between the ages of 25 and 34.
Twitter: Offering 396 million global users, this platform hosts up to 500 million tweets every single day. It’s main purpose? About 48% of its users use this platform to get their news and entertainment stories. Adults are said to spend roughly 6 minutes a day scrolling their Twitter feed and the U.S. is the main audience, making up about 77.7 million of Twitter’s active users.
Growing business with social media marketing
Before you can use social media marketing to grow your business, you must first come to understand your ideal customer as well as your business goals.
Before you opened your doors (digital or actual), you dreamed up the perfect customer for your product or service. This, you’ve likely heard referred to, as an Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) or a Persona. It’s a profile you refer to when you’re trying to sell whatever it is you’re offering—and your business isn’t limited to just one!
Picture a sporting goods store that sells a variety of equipment. If the store’s ICA was a kayaking enthusiast, their marketing department could sell very well to kayakers—but not as well to soccer players or softball players. Whereas a sporting goods store that has multiple ICA’s would have a better chance of connecting with their entire audience.
Before you can go about growing business with social media you’ll need to understand where your ICA spends time. Maybe you even have their favorite social media channels listed as part of their profile.
Once you’ve determined what channels your prospects are most likely to utilize, it’s time to consider your goals for your social media channels.
Rather than setting broad goals like, “I want to make $1,000,000 this year” or “I want to grow my sales pipeline” strive for something more specific:
“I want to increase engagement on Facebook by 100 new followers in the month of May.”
This is called “S.M.A.R.T.” goal setting:
- Specific: What do you want to accomplish?
- Measurable: How will you know you accomplished a goal?
- Attainable: Not too easy—it should push you.
- Realistic: Don’t go for pie in the sky.
- Timed: Give yourself a timeline to reach your goals.
Ensure that your S.M.A.R.T. goals for your social media channels are designed to help you to boost business in some form or another.
Get the most out of social media marketing
In addition to pinpointing your audience and goal setting, here are 3 tips that will help you leverage your social channels, increase brand awareness, boost your customer base, and impress your prospects.
Watch for trends
Social media trends are based on content sharing or interactions between users within a platform. Knowing the hottest trends as they appear—and sharing them or participating in them—can help you increase brand visibility and even user engagement.
Respond to tags or mentions
When a customer or prospects tags or mentions you on their own page, be sure to see what they’re saying! Not only that, but participating in the conversation or simply replying to their tag or mention can go a long way toward building a relationship with them. Keep your responses from sounding too canned and use personalization where possible.
What are you up to in real-time? From the line outside your door waiting to purchase your latest gadget to fresh muffins getting pulled from your bakery’s oven to guests enjoying themselves at your annual event, going live on your social media channels builds FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which can ultimately benefit your bottom line.