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Own Your Platform: Seizing the Potential of Social Media Marketing

3 minutes Read

Is your business successfully tapping into social media or do you rely on more traditional marketing channels? Perhaps you are struggling to make sense of the jargon, and an ever-increasing array of platforms tailored to different generations?

For small businesses, social media presents a unique opportunity to directly target your customer base in a cost-effective way. Having a strong social media presence should be a top priority, but one in four small businesses (24 percent) don’t have a presence across key social channels, according to the 2017 Small Business Survey from Clutch.

It may seem daunting to devise a marketing strategy across different platforms but with the right one in place, it can be done in just a few hours each week largely from your iPhone.

Here are a few areas for businesses to consider when it comes to marketing on social media:

Prioritize platforms that resonate with your audience

Which platform should you focus on to drive traffic to your business? Research different social channels to see how and where your customer base is engaging. For example, if you’re a restaurant owner it may be that an Instagram campaign showcasing your apps and entrees would appeal to foodies on the lookout for their next dinner. By contrast, a doctor’s office may seek to amplify its latest treatment offerings and research among competitors and new hires, making LinkedIn a better option.

When comparing different social platforms, consider the specific data you’re most interested in. If you’re targeting a specific profession, say dentist technicians, this data will tend to be less available on Facebook than on LinkedIn. Doing this will help to determine the right platform for your business.

Engage with current and potential followers

Social media marketing is a two-way street. So, take time to engage with your followers. They may have commented on an update you shared or mentioned you in a post. Make sure to share timely responses to continue the conversation and show interest in your followers. To garner more traffic, you could ask questions, inviting your followers to share insights on themes related to your business.

Going one step further, you could consider proactively engaging with social activity from industry associations and the companies you work closely with to extend your audience reach. If you were an auto mechanic, you could monitor the social profiles of national and regional automotive associations such as the ASA, and comment on their updates.

 Consider automating posts in advance to save time

Regular updates across your business’s social channels is key to growing your following. If you aren’t posting frequently, your follower base will lose interest and shift their attention to your competitors. Throughout the week, you might consider jotting down content ideas for posts on your phone. With this list in hand, spend 30 minutes building out your social updates, using tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite, which allow you to schedule posts for the weeks and even months ahead. That way you don’t have to pencil in time each day to post an update on Twitter or a photo to Instagram, as you will have already lined up a series of posts. These types of tools, many of which offer a free, basic platform to schedule posts, can be especially helpful if you don’t have a dedicated social media staff member on your team, and are juggling a variety of marketing and communications roles instead.

Be consistent with your branding and posts

To begin, focus your business’s social media marketing on one platform. As you consider branching out into other channels, make sure that your company’s branding is consistent across all your channels and your website. Your followers should be able to easily tell that your social networks are the same business, and to help with this your color schemes, logos and slogans should be uniform for all platforms.

In addition to branding, be consistent in your posts. Start by thinking about the primary subject matter for your content. For example, you may be posting a series of photos for Instagram of recent office parties and events, or the latest gadgets you’ve chosen to invest in. Once you’ve decided on the subject, consider using the same filter and effects throughout to make sure that your business’s branding and narrative are clear.

Over the next few months sit down and assess your current marketing strategy. Recall that, if managed strategically, marketing across social channels can gift your business an opportunity to gain kudos for recent successes and showcase your products and services directly to consumers.

While managing your business’ social media presence may not require significant outlays to begin with, you may wish to consider a short-term infusion of working capital from CAN Capital. These funds will help with additional staffing and training costs to expand your social media strategy, and with content amplification across social platforms to expand the reach of your business. If you are an existing CAN Capital customer, reach out to your renewals rep to see if you qualify for additional capital.