More and more, social media marketing is becoming essential for business owners. As of April 2021, reports indicated that 72% of the American public use some type of social media, and the average time spent on social media each day is just over two hours.
As such, for the business owners who can do it successfully, there’s so much to be gained from social media marketing. A successful social media campaign can help businesses increase their customer base, spread awareness, build their brand, and strengthen relationships with existing customers—all of which are essential for profit and growth. Best of all, aside from services such as paid ads, social media is free.
However, for some small business owners, even just the thought of social media marketing is enough to induce a headache. While many people are familiar with using social media for individual and recreational purposes, using social media platforms to grow your business is an entirely different (and much more complicated) matter.
One of the biggest factors in a successful social media marketing campaign is engagement. Engagement refers to the level of interaction people (i.e., potential customers) have with a post. Engagement might take the form of likes, reactions, comments, or shares and is generally used to gauge interest in the post’s subject. While a robust level of social media presence may take some time and effort to build, it’s certainly possible with the use of these tips and tricks for increasing engagement.
Make a Strategy
Before you start posting, it’s essential that you take the time to outline your goals and game plan for your business’s social media campaign. A common misconception about the use of social media for small businesses is that volume is a critical factor for success. Instead, a targeted, regular approach to posting will yield much better results than multiple unspecific posts.
As you prepare your social media campaign, consider thinking about the questions below and using them to focus your efforts:
- Who is your target audience, and which platform are they most likely to use?
For example, suppose you are targeting younger generations. In that case, you might consider devoting more of your energy to platforms like Instagram and TikTok. On the other hand, if your ideal customer or client belongs to an older generation, you might be better off with Facebook or Twitter.
- What is your primary goal?
Are you more interested in building relationships with existing customers or attracting new ones? Are you looking to boost sales or spread awareness about a new product or service? It’s okay to have more than one goal for your social media marketing campaign, but picking one that is the highest priority can help keep your posts focused.
- How much time and energy are you willing to commit?
When it comes to social media marketing for small businesses, consistency is key. You should be prepared to post regularly and reliably and log on frequently between posts to reply to customers. Many people find it helpful to draw up a calendar of posts to keep them on track, or even use software that allows them to create posts in advance and set them to publish automatically at a specific date and time.
However, even with these tools, social media marketing can be a lot—especially if you’re already occupied with the day-to-day work of running your business. If that’s the case, you might consider delegating the task to an employee or hiring a freelance social media expert.
Develop Actionable Content
For social media marketing to be effective and engaging, it needs to grab the attention of its audience. Therefore, try to include visual media in each of your posts, such as graphics, photos, or videos, to catch viewers’ eyes. Even using emojis in the text of your post can go a long way toward communicating tone and making you (and your business) seem more approachable.
One of the most important things you can do to increase your posts’ engagement is to make them interactive. For example, inviting viewers to like, vote, share, or comment on your post. One popular way to do this is with polls. For example, a pizza shop might invite its customers to vote in a poll about whether pineapple belongs on pizza. When creating polls, try to focus on topics that are widely known but not highly controversial or political.
Other ways to engage people on social media include posing a question in your post and inviting viewers to answer in the comments or asking them to like or react to the post if they relate to it. Contests and giveaways are also great ways to boost engagement. For example, you might offer a chance to win a free product or service to people who share your post with others or who tag their friends in the comments of your post.
Creating posts with an interactive component allows you to segue naturally into a call to action. A call to action is an invitation to the reader to engage directly with your business, such as subscribing to your email list, checking out your website, or calling for a consultation.
Maintain Your Presence
Social media marketing involves more than just publishing posts. Your small business’s social media presence needs to be maintained to be effective and grow. To do this, you must pay attention to what your customers say on social media and be responsive. For example, if a customer posts a good review, leave a comment thanking them for their business. Conversely, if a customer posts about a negative experience, respond to them with an apology or an offer to make amends. Showing that you care about what your customers have to say will go a long way toward generating repeat business.
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