5 Ways to Leverage Social Media for Small Business

There’s no doubt social media is one of the most cost effective marketing channels. With almost 2 billion social media users worldwide, it comes as no surprise that millions of businesses are using social networks to build their audience, grow brand awareness, generate website traffic, generate leads and get ahead of competition. For small businesses, there is no end to the growth opportunities effective social media marketing campaigns can bring.

There are 5 main ways small businesses can leverage the power of social media to grow.

Method 1: Putting together a social media strategy

A social media strategic plan is simply the summary of everything you plan to do and achieve for your business using social networks. Your plan should first include the social network or social networks you plan to use.

There is no need to join every social network if their audience doesn’t match the one you wish to target. For example, Pinterest attracts mainly women who are into arts and crafts, so if your business targets men from the corporate world, Linkedin might be a better fit.

Your plan should also include the content you plan to publish, making sure it’s not too one-dimensional. In other words, your content should be a balance between posts about your business and products, posts about your customers and staff to humanize your brand, educational information for your audience, etc…

Your plan should also include the frequency of your posts, the hashtags you plan to include in your posts, your goals, your key performance indicators and your tracking tools to monitor return on investment.

By having a plan, it will not only hold you accountable, it will also make sure your marketing efforts are consistent and aligned with your goals.

Method 2: Leveraging the power of social media influencers

Social media influencers are usually social media users who have become famous on the internet in a specific industry. They also have high levels of engagement on their social media accounts and have large online audiences.

By partnering with social media influencers, small businesses can tap into large, engaged and targeted audiences.

To receive endorsements from social media influencers, you first need to identify the ones that attract your target audience by simply running a quick online search.

When you’ve identified a few potential influencers for your business, find out further information about them by checking out their social media profiles, blogs, websites, videos etc… Find out how they prefer to work with brands and what projects they are working on.

Then, when you’ve collected enough information, it’s time to reach out and develop a relationship with them. The final step is making an offer, making sure it’s a win-win opportunity for both parties involved.

Method 3: Tapping into the power of social media contests

A social media contest is a way of inviting people on social media to perform a certain action in exchange for a reward. The call to action can be as simple as liking a Facebook page, typing a hashtag in the comment section or tagging a friend and the reward can be anything from a free giveaway, money, discount coupons etc…

Running contests is a great opportunity for small businesses to experience higher levels of engagement than usual (as people love the idea of being able to win something in exchange of performing a simple task).

Contests also represent a great opportunity to build brand awareness, advertise the business and its products as well as build a huge, targeted and engaged audience.

The key to successful social media contests is making sure the reward is a high perceived value and appealing to your target audience.

Method 4: Turning your social media audience into traffic

Social media marketing doesn’t stop at having a large audience. The key to experience business growth thanks to social networks, is knowing how to turn fans and followers into traffic to your offers.

In order to do so, make sure you add your links in key places. For example, place them in the “about” section of your profile, on your account’s cover picture as well as in your posts and images you publish.

Another useful tool to turn social media fans and followers into traffic is snip.ly. This tool not only shortens and masks long links you wish to publish in your posts, it also creates pop up ads for your business as soon as people click on the link.

For example, let’s say you’re in the beauty industry, selling anti-ageing products and an interesting article is published on cnn.com about anti-ageing. You can shorten the link to the article using snip.ly before sharing it on social media so when people click to read the article, an ad pops up saying “check out how to look 10 years younger thanks to revolutionary anti-ageing creams” which redirects to your website.

Method 5: Scaling your efforts with advertising

One of the most powerful features of social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is their advertising platform. For as little as $5, small business owners can now advertise to hundreds, if not thousands of people.

Plus, with the in depth targeting options now available, you can get your marketing message in front of your target audience regardless of how specific your audience is. For example, should you want to target  31 year old men, married, university graduates with an interest in fishing, you can! Thanks to social media advertising, you can literally start generating new business within minutes of setting up your campaign.

by Corinna Essa of www.SocialMediaWorldwide.com