The Basics of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

Social Media Marketing 101: Everything a Small Business Needs to Know

Before I go into social media marketing 101, I think it makes sense for a quick review of the history of communication.

In the 1900's, communication was done through letters delivered from one person to another. We know this today as the postal service.

Then came the invention of the telegraph, the telephone, and the radio. Communication was more private then than it was social.

In the late 20th century, computers and the internet started ruling the world. Businesses were the first consumers and then private homes came after.

Computers were initially used as computing tools and gaming consoles. The internet was first used as a search tool using early search engines like Excite(1993), Yahoo!(1994), WebCrawler(1994), etc.

Today, social media is one of the major ways of communication around the world. The number of users has exploded into the billions. Social media is so prevalent in our society it is a communication channel you can't ignore to help grow your small business.

I'm going to cover all the details you need to know about social media marketing for small businesses so you can get started using it today.


“Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to WOW your online presence” – Sean Gardner


Benefits of Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

1. It Enhances Website Traffic

The concept is simple - create a strong social media presence and use it to promote your website. The more visitors your website gets, the better. This will also improve your search engine ranking.

Social signals are also a ranking factor for SEO. If you aren't familiar with SEO it is worth a few minutes of your time to learn the basics of SEO.

2. It Establishes Brand Awareness

Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter play a major role in building brands today.

Small businesses can generate buzz easily by using these sites. Social media makes communication easy and customers can now contact companies with a single click.

According to Jay Baer of Convert and Convince, 53% of Americans who follow brands in social are more loyal to those brands. It's quite common for potential customers to check out your business on social media before making a buying decision too.

What will they learn about your brand? Will they be impressed?

3. It Allows Geotargeting

Geo-targeting or geotargeting means delivering content to an audience based on their geographic location. Facebook and Twitter allow users to reach an audience based on geographical location.

Having the ability to target a specific audience geographically can be very powerful, especially for local small businesses. 

Related: Increase Conversions with Geo-Targeting

4. It Bridges Gaps and Builds Relationships

Social media marketing for small businesses isn't just about making money online.

Yeah, making money is great, but one of the important benefits of social media marketing is building lasting relationships. By providing valuable information to your audience you can help them and engage them.

Social Media has allowed many small businesses to create an online community of supporters that are excited about their business. 

5. It Provides Valuable Insights

If you take the time to monitor social networks you can see what people are saying about your business and your industry. The information you gather has the chance to improve your business should you choose to implement what you learn.

6. It is Economical

Traditional advertising like TV and radio ads can cost you a fortune. You need big bucks to run this kind of advertising and the bad news is it can be difficult to measure results.

Social media marketing is inexpensive. Opening an account is free and running ads on most social networks is still pretty cost effective.

7. It Converts Leads

Clutch.co ​​conducted a survey in 2017 and as a result, said this:

"More than half (52%) of social media marketers said social media has helped increase their company’s revenue and sales, while 48% said it has had a limited impact but still needs to be managed." - Kristen Herhold

Social media is a proven digital marketing tool that converts leads to sales for a majority of businesses, and for those businesses that aren't seeing significant results, it is still a marketing channel that needs to be a part of their marketing strategy.

Read more about How Businesses Use Social Media: 2017 Survey.

The Most Popular Social Networking Sites

Let's take a look at the popular social media channels today. I'm sure you've heard of many of them...

Popular Social Networking Sites - Visual Comparison

Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites and Apps [January 2018] - CLICK IMAGE for full details.

The most popular social networks used by many small businesses are Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Linkedin.

So, how do you choose which social networks to use? Great question, let's dive into that...



How to Identify the Best Social Media Networks for your Small Business

The biggest mistake I see small businesses make with social media is they set up accounts for too many at one time.

If you don't have the time to stay active on all your accounts, I think you are better off starting small and expanding to other networks as you have time.

You don't want customers or potential customers visiting a social media page and finding little to no activity, it's not going to reflect well on your company.

Here are some tips to help you identify the best social media networks for your small business:

  • Start small. No more than 2-3 social networks in the beginning. 
  • Determine which platforms your competitors are using.
  • Determine what type of content you want to post (written, images, video, etc).
  • Determine what social media networks your ideal customers use.
  • Outline your social media strategy including your objectives (brand awareness, content distribution, etc.)

Armed with this information, you can easily identify the best 2-3 social networks to focus on for your social media marketing.

Social Media Metrics to Remember

Some of the terminology used by the social networks is slightly different. Here are some of the metrics to remember for each channel.

1. Facebook

Sample metrics are the following:

  • Page Likes
  • Post Reach
  • Engagement
  • Unlikes
  • Organic Likes
  • Paid Likes
  • Net Likes

Check out Facebook Analytics to learn more.

2. Twitter

Sample metrics are the following:

  • Tweets
  • Tweet Impressions
  • Profile Visits
  • Mentions
  • Followers
  • Tweets Linking to you

Check out Twitter Analytics to learn more.

3. LinkedIn

Sample metrics are the following:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Interactions
  • Followers
  • Engagement

To view analytics on your Company Page:

  1. Click the  Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
  2. Below Manage, select your Company Page.
  3. Click the Analytics tab and select Visitors, Updates, or Followers from the drop-down. If you've enhanced your page with LinkedIn Career Pages, you'll also have access to Talent Brand analytics.

4. Instagram

Sample metrics are the following:

  • Comments Received
  • Most Engaged Hashtags
  • Engagements Per Follower
  • Followers Gained
  • Referral Traffic
  • Instagram Stories Metrics

Here are 8 Instagram Analytics Tools You Should Be Using.

5. Pinterest

Sample metrics are:

  • Pins From Your Website
  • Repins From Your Website
  • Determine Your Reach
  • Number of Visitors and Visits to Your Website
  • Most Repinned Content
  • Most Clicked Content

Check out Pinterest Analytics to learn more.

6. Youtube

Sample metrics are:

  • Views
  • Subscribers
  • Drop-off Point
  • Likes, Dislikes, and Favourites
  • Comments
  • Shares

Read more about Youtube Analytics to learn more.

7. Google+

Sample metrics are:

  • Total Shares
  • Total Comments
  • Total Engagement

Social Media ROI - Define, Track & Measure, and Calculate

Step1: Define Your Goals
In order to measure your return on investment for social media, you must identify what your goals are first.

Your goals might be:

  • Email list sign-ups
  • Contact form inquiries
  • Trials
  • Purchases
  • Downloads of a whitepaper or ebook
  • Increase your audience size


Step 2: Track and Measure your Social Media Goals
Skip this step and you'll have no idea whether you are getting a return on your social media marketing efforts.

Many of the social networks have some basic analytics built in and you may find they suit your needs just fine.

If you need more robust options there are a number of great social media analytics tools out there you can try.

Step 3: Calculate your Expenses
Sample costs include:

  • Man-hours
  • Cost of content
  • Cost of social media tools
  • Ad costs

With the info from steps 1-3, you can calculate your ROI for your social media efforts to determine whether it's working and where you need to make adjustments.

Social Media Marketing Best Practices

Are you ready to get started with social media marketing for your small business? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Choose the best social media networks that are most relevant to your small business.
  2. Be consistent! Be consistent with the type of content you share, how often you share it, and the voice you communicate with your audience.
  3. Always engage and interact with your audience to show you are human and not a robot.
  4. Automate what you can, but don't forget tip #4.
  5. Don't forget to promote all your social networking sites on your website.
  6. Don't get caught up in vanity metrics like the number of fans or followers you have. You're much better off having 100 dedicated fans than 1000 who aren't.
  7. Negative feedback from customers is OK. This is part of online reputation management. How you respond and handle customer complaints is what really matters. You can actually turn a negative into a positive if done correctly.
  8. If you have calls to action (CTA's) in your social campaigns, which you should, make sure they are mobile friendly. Social media sites are frequently used on mobile devices. To increase the effectiveness of your campaigns make sure your CTA's can be easily navigated on a smartphone.
  9. Convert as many of your social media followers to your email marketing list as possible. Why? You don't own or control any of the social networks, but you do own and control your email list. What if Facebook shut down your business page and all 100K followers you had?
  10. If you think you can't handle social media marketing yourself, seek marketing help for your small business.

Social media marketing is not difficult, but it does take time, consistency, and effort to be successful. Stick with it and I know it will become a valuable marketing channel for your small business.

You've got all the info you need to get started, now get to it...Did you find this helpful? Feel free to comment below and/or share.

Need more lead generation tips? Check out our entire Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation.



About the Author Tim Fitzpatrick

Tim Fitzpatrick is the President of Rialto Mobile Marketing. At Rialto Mobile Marketing we create marketing systems to help small businesses achieve simple, sustainable growth. We help small businesses differentiate themselves from the competition, work with more ideal clients, command a premium for their products and services, and make marketing easier with consistent, repeatable results.

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2 comments
Junayet Sajib says January 24, 2018

Great article Tim Fitzpatrick. I’ve been searching for tips on how to make improvement for social media marketing and this really helps a lot. I’ve also already tried a few techniques and got great results.Well thanks again for sharing your insight. I’ll try these techniques as well.

Reply
    Tim Fitzpatrick says January 24, 2018

    Thanks for the read Junayet. Glad you got something out of it.

    Reply
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