Social media

Social media marketing for small businesses

Social media marketing

You have a business. You have some money. Now, you want to tap the Internet to help your venture grow? It’s quite simple but not very straightforward. This guide will help you understand the medium and tell you how you can gain maximum benefits by leveraging social media.

First up, like any marketing initiative, understand the audience. Try to answer the following questions to understand your audience and your offering better.

  • Who would benefit out of your digital initiatives?
  • What value will you be adding to someone’s life by doing what you want to do?
  • How and to whom are you going to sell your story?
  • What will be age group of my audience?
  • What do they want in life that I can help with?

The reason why we’re starting off with this exercise is simple. The basics of marketing are always the same. Understanding your audience, what they need and how best you can address that need should at the core of your digital marketing strategy.

If I want to sell a radio, I will have to understand if there’s a market for it. If there’s one, then I have to answer the question of how best can I address the need for radio? Will the features on my radio satisfy my customers? What are the threats to my product? And, so on.

Ok, now the first part is over — you’ve understood the audience.

Now, comes the difficult part. The next step is to create a plan on how to engage with the audience in various social media platforms. Each platform requires a different approach. For ex. Twitter works differently from Facebook and Facebook is very different from YouTube. So the first question, therefore, is deciding which social media platform to use.

Social media marketing

Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Announcements, breaking news, live updates, and short videos work better on Twitter. Topical, thematic and live videos work better on Facebook. Videos with longer shelf life, like DIYs and guides, work better on YouTube.

Before we proceed further, let’s take a quick look at what works well where. First, the advantages Facebook has over Twitter.

Understanding Facebook

Facebook’s user base is huge compared to Twitter. As per latest reports, Facebook has over 2 billion monthly users. How much does Twitter have? A measly 328 million.

Facebook has also made its mission statement clear. “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Setting up a business page on Facebook is a breeze and engaging with the community is much easier. Also, Facebook is also going big on videos. If your business strategy is going to be multimedia heavy, then a Facebook page is must. Facebook is also better at targeting advertising.

What about Twitter

Twitter, generally, has more focussed user base. Facebook caters to the mass while Twitter caters to a like-minded few or those with similar affinities. If your business is about academics, education, and niche fields, then Twitter presence is a must. As I said, Twitter is where announcements, breaking news happen, live updates happen.

YouTube?

Next is YouTube. YouTube is Google for videos. Videos with long shelf life do well on YouTube. People come to YouTube to see a certain kind of video, be it music, short films, DIYs, guides, or a series. It’s a powerful tool to create an identity for your brand. However, the launch of Facebook Watch, it is expected that YouTube will come under some heat. Here’s our detailed explainer on Facebook Watch vs. YouTube.

Instagram

Instagram is a very visual medium. Think of Instagram as a place where people come to see good pictures — ones that evoke an emotion or tell a story. At the risk of sounding clichéd and stale, let me reiterate the importance of the medium: “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

Take some time to understand each of the social media platform, its pros and cons. Here are some of the questions you should answer at this stage:

  • Which of the major social media platforms should I have a presence in?
  • What will be my content strategy for each of the platforms?
  • Who are my competitors and what do they do on social media?
  • How can I provide differentiated content on my social media platforms?
  • How much of my time and money should I invest on social media marketing?

Now, I’m assuming that you have decided — or at least you have basic idea — on the various social media platforms that you want to be a part of. Now, let’s look at how at how to create your content strategy.

Content strategy for social media marketing

There’s only one rule to content strategy. Every single piece of content should get your users one step closer to you and help them align with your interests. Sounds simple, right?

Your ability to tell stories, draw parallels, clearly communicate your brand’s position will be the key to success. Your messaging is the key.

ONE GOLDEN RULE: How you say something matters more than what you’re saying.

Here’s a set of questions that you should answer while formulating your message:

  • What is my message?
  • Who am I targeting?
  • What will best convey my message? An infographic? A video? A blog? A picture?
  • What will be the hook (the line that draws the attention of the user)?

We’ve gone through three steps now. Let’s do a quick recap before proceeding further?

The first step is to understand the audience and their needs. The next step is to understand how best you can address them. Then, think of ways to reach the audience, in terms of messaging and the platform to use. The last step is analysing your social media marketing performance which we will talk in detail in the next post.

If you’re already using these social media platforms, tell us your strategy. What is your social media strategy?

And, if you’re just starting, tell us about your business and how you intend to use social media.

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