If you thought social media was just for gossiping, sharing holiday snaps and procrastination – think again. While many people use platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter to catch up with friends and while away the time, others are logging on for business purposes and with great effect. The truth is, whether you run a shoe shop, clothes store, auction site or another moneymaking empire, social platforms can help tell the world what you do.
So, with this in mind, here’s a beginner’s guide to marketing your small/medium enterprise (SME) through social media:
- Improve your online presence – for free
While poster printing from Helloprint, leaflet distribution and business cards can help promote your organisation offline, it’s becoming more important than ever to have an online presence as this will help you reach a wider audience – and this doesn’t have to cost the earth.
As a small/medium-sized company, you probably don’t have a large marketing budget, so one of the best things you can do is to explore all the cost-effective and free ways you can advertise, such as setting up a business page on Facebook. Creating a page is incredibly quick and simple and with just a few clicks of a button you’ll not only be alive and kicking in the social media world, but you’ll be able to start interacting with Facebook’s users, of which there are over one billion.
What’s more, when you set up a Facebook for business page you can also choose a business category for your page meaning that whether you’re a local business wanting to be more involved with the local community or a band looking for gigs, you can customise your part of the web. You can also choose an industry specific category and optimise your site with a profile picture and a description of your website if you have one, which will help your page to look more professional.
From one social media empire to another, creating a Twitter profile for your business can also be extremely useful and will enable you to interact with users who might be interested in your work. Essentially, your Twitter profile shows the world who you are, which means every element of your account including your photo, header bio and pinned tweet, should reflect the identity and personality of your company. Your @username is arguably the most important detail to consider, as it should be memorable and representative of your company. It’s what people will search for if they want to find you and what will appear when you tweet. Make sure it’s relevant.
- Explore paid options
Aside from the free options available to you, which also includes creating a free Google+ account which will allow you to connect with your target audience, you might want to explore many of the paid marketing options available. Facebook Ads, for instance, have the ability to transform your business’ social reach but as they cost money – the minimum spend being $1 a day – you must factor this into your overall budget. Not only that, but be sure to have specific goals you want to achieve in mind before choosing your target audience and ad spend. Goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based as this will help you to achieve a better return on investment.
Businesses can also pay to advertise on Twitter with Promoted Tweets being used to amplify your marketing message to targeted groups and geographical locations. Promoted Accounts ensure you are quickly seen by influencers and advocates of your brand and Promoted Trends can build mass awareness of your brand or product – all are well worth looking into.
So, as you can see, marketing your SME through social media is big business, but before you do anything, set a budget and think carefully about what you are trying to achieve, be it brand awareness or promoting a competition, product or something similar.