Want Better Social Media Than You Can Afford?
The Sprocket Report
National brands clearly see the benefits of social media, but for many local businesses, social media seems too costly. Is it possible to achieve big brand success with a small biz budget?
The level of response that well-known brands receive from their social media is directly related to the amount of money they spend. Smaller businesses simply don’t have pockets that deep. So is it even worth trying? Yes, of course it is. But you do need to adjust your expectations and be creative in your efforts.
Set Appropriate Goals
The first step to seeing social media marketing success is to choose your goal thoughtfully. You’d be surprised to know how many people do not have a clear goal in mind – which means they are never able to successfully complete it!
What specific objective do you want to achieve? Remember this is a marketing goal, not a sales goal. A marketing goal leads people along the path to the “buy” moment. Do you want to build brand awareness? Make inroads with a new audience segment? Keep your past customers engaged for reselling?
After choosing an objective, support your choice with serious research. Is your goal achievable or are you setting yourself up for disappointment? How will you measure your efforts so you know when you are succeeding? Do you have sales costs information available to gauge how much to spend?
If you are the boss of the organization, you don’t have the time to do all the social media marketing as well. Enlist assistants and spread out the effort. Is someone in your office a secret thespian who would love to make a short video on a regular basis? Can the person who runs your events take a few photos before, during and after?
The folks creating content don’t necessarily have to know how to share it, too. That could be yet another helper’s contribution or left to a hired pro. Social media managers can rewrite, add appropriate hashtags and schedule posts, but it’s hard for them to get access to the best content. If you aren’t passing along stories, event dates, photos and other interesting bits of news in a timely fashion, they have nothing juicy with which to work.
People have short memories – and today’s algorithms are even shorter. If you aren’t posting consistently, folks forget about you and the algorithms are less likely to give you another opportunity. Sporadic posts after weeks or months of silence means you are starting fresh every time. Posting regularly gives you a chance to add more details to your story, demonstrate your trustworthiness and build up an audience. And audience-building makes running paid ads more successful when you go that route.
Since it takes effort to create topnotch content, mix up your very best posts with curated content, reminders and brief observations. Scheduling tools make it easy to ensure that you are reaching out in a timely way and repetition is okay since no one can read and remember everything that is thrown at us these days.
Too many business and nonprofits use their social media platforms as broadcasting channels. They busily push out their own news, but never stop to respond to their audience or support their colleagues. Remember that this is “social” media. Always respond to comments and questions. That’s one place where a hired pro can really help since that’s their focus. Make an effort to call out clients and complementary businesses and comment on their posts. Not only is it great for establishing good will, but you are being seen by their audience as well.
Analyze Your Data
Marketing is cyclical: You set a goal, run the campaign and measure the results so you can set new goals. We have never had such access to marketing data before – use it! If you have set good goals, it should be simple to find out if you succeeded in reaching them or not. Look also for indications of where things went wrong. Just be smart in what you fix so you can track the results accurately.
Yes, social media marketing takes work. Big brands can afford to pay for this work on a larger scale and therefore reap bigger rewards. A small business may run a more modest campaign and see more modest results, but the results are cumulative if you stick with it. Share the load with employees, colleagues and volunteers to create more and more personalized content. And consider outsourcing some of the tasks to a professional. Sprocket Websites offers several levels of social media service. Give us a call and let us help you find a level that works for you.