Social media marketing – mystifying, daunting, constantly evolving…..but ultimately essential for you and your business. With over 4.2 billion social media users worldwide at the start of 2021 it can actually do your business harm if you don’t have a social presence. But that doesn’t mean you have to set-up a profile on every social platform out there – that would be a heck of a lot of work (there are more than 95 different platforms that are rated as “need to know about in 2021“)! We’ve pulled together this top ten social media marketing Q&A, that came to mind when thinking about starting social media marketing – though do let us know if you have any more questions you’d like answering!
1) Can social media marketing really help my business?
Absolutely! It’s been proven by lot’s of companies and influencers that social media marketing really can work.
Social media users are growing at an astonishing rate of 13.2% annually (490 million users to give that some context!), so no it’s not just to share photos of your kids, or to find out about Kim’s latest new look, it’s the place to have a conversation with your future and existing customers.
It’s also worth noting that these days it is expected by customers that businesses have a social media presence, and by not having one you could actually be doing harm to your business – at the very least you won’t be able to hear the great reviews or defend yourself against negative ones.
2) What are the benefits of social media marketing for my business?
Like it or not, social media has changed the way people communicate with businesses – it’s the first port of call, for many, to praise or complain about a product, many people ask questions about services – or seek local tradespeople recommendations.
By having a social media presence you’re making it super easy for people to link to you and recommend you. It also enables you to reach so many more people, which in the age of GDPR and opted in mailing lists, it’s super important to expand your reach in any way that you can for your business.
3) Which social media platforms should my business be on?
To answer this, I’d first like you to ask yourself two questions (or I could ask you if you want to have a chat):
- Who are your customers?
- Which social media channels do they use?
There is absolutely no point in setting up a profile on a social media platform that your target customers don’t use. You will end up spreading yourself too thinly and exhausting your already limited resources. You might have heard from some “social media agencies” that you can just post the same content across all the channels to save time and resource, but we’d recommend against this. Each social platform is different and the people who engage with their communities all respond differently to posts and content. You’ll find that:
- You’ll need to use different copy on different platforms – now we’re not suggesting you write brand new copy/content, but rather amend it – for example LinkedIn and Facebook can facilitate, and invite, longer form content; for Instagram and Pinterest visual content is key
- If you are targeting businesses, professionals or office workers – different platforms will be more relevant – for example LinkedIn is going to be more beneficial than Pinterest
- Hashtags reach will vary by platform, so a simple copy and paste, or publishing to all social platforms with the same message, won’t help you optimise or make the most of your potential reach
We’d therefore recommend that you take a good look at the above questions, really think about what platforms your target customers are on, and start with these platforms.
4) What tools can I use to help me manage my social media marketing?
Remembering to log in and update your different social profiles can be a pain. Whilst most social platforms are set-up to easily help you switch between personal and business accounts (though be careful of accidental cross-posting!). They also don’t easily help you to schedule and plan out your social post calendar.
There are a lot of professional tools out there for managing your social media marketing, but as with many things they can start to cost quickly. One platform Hootsuite does offer a free level account (not just a trial) which allows you to monitor from one dashboard:
Update as of 5 April 2021 – the Hootsuite free plan now only supports 2 social accounts and a maximum of 5 scheduled messages.
- Up to three social accounts
- Schedule up to 30 messages in advance (great for planning out your week on admin Monday morning!)
- With one user account
Once you expand out to have more social media accounts, or another user, then you’ll be looking at £39 per month (February 2021).
However, you can also use plenty of free tools, like planning tools such as Trello or a simple spreadsheet on Excel or Google Sheets. We’ve created a social media planning sample Trello board that you can use as a starting point.
5) How much does social media marketing cost?
So often I’ve heard that social media is free, and yes, whilst you don’t have to commit to any contracts, minimum terms, or sign up for a subscription.
You do need to commit to spending time and potentially money – either your own resource, an employees or you might have outsourced your social media marketing to an agency – but social media marketing is categorically never free. So it’s important that you make the most of your social posts and generate Return-on-Investment (ROI) for your efforts or budget.
6) Does my business really need a blog for social media marketing?
No not really, it all depends on what your business is – if you are selling products online, like jewellery – you might instead want to link to your Etsy store, if you’re a photographer you might want to link to your stock photo library, for people to buy the photo you’re talking about or showcasing.
A blog is extremely useful and does have it’s place, especially if you’re looking to position yourself or your business as an industry expert, or you’re looking to leverage the fantastic value from keyword-rich blog posts, that can really help boost your search engine presence. Plus it can help you easily loop traffic from your social channel back to your website for further, more in-depth content.
7) Is social media marketing better for B2C or B2B businesses?
Both! There are social media platforms which better suit B2C, others which better suit B2B and some which suit both. You’ll often find that B2C businesses can have more fun, whilst B2B businesses need to post more “value-added” informative content – but that doesn’t mean you can’t be light-hearted and have fun as well! Again I’d recommend that you identify your own audience and what they resonate with.
8) What are some of the common social media marketing mistakes businesses make?
Social media is not to be taken lightly, it can be easy to make mistakes that are not valued by your community, some of the ones we’ve seen over the past 15 years include:
- SELL, SELL, SELL – only ever posting about selling – not actually talking to or engaging with your customers
- Being inconsistent – there is nothing worse than inconsistent posting – pushing out lots one week and then not posting for a month
- Personal opinion – remember this is your business not your personal profile – keep your content and comments professional
- Not responding – too often businesses will post and post and post, but never engage with replies. Social is all about being social and engaging with your community
- Not judging the situation correctly – it’s okay to bring in humour, at the right moments!
- “la laa la laa la” (fingers in your ears) – or put better, not listening! Don’t assume that everyone talking about you is doing so by @ tagging you or coming onto your social feed, they will talk about you in their own feeds, so it’s important to listen
9) What can I do to have social media marketing success?
Aaah the million dollar question, but here are our top tips:
- Be human – bring a human tone and character to your business. It can be hard to decide what this should be and to ensure that your whole team talk in the same manner consistently – but we can help with this.
- Post consistently – put time in each week to craft a few posts for the week, or weeks coming
- Listen, respond and engage – you wouldn’t ignore your friends, so don’t ignore your community, talk to them, engage with them – be real!
- Ask questions and answer questions – be helpful – the more you help the more people will listen and engage with you
- Provide great content for free – we always appreciate and remember those people who have given us free advice or information
- Talk to us (we have to say that don’t we 😉 ) but seriously, we’d be happy to have a chat and give out some free advice!
10) How can I measure my social media marketing success?
On each social platform you’ll be able to see automatically the number of followers you have, but engagement (the number of people who like, comment, share your post) is the most important metric to measure your success – as someone could follow you but then mute you, so they never see your posts. Plus social media platforms are constantly changing their algorithms which means that your posts might be struggled to be seen, even by those who are following/liking you. So by measuring engagement you’ll get a true feel for how effective your posts are – and over time – which ones work best for your audience.
The top five social media platforms tend to provide insights and analytics – though often you have to activate them or use the mobile app, for example:
- Facebook – will provide insights on business pages – you can access this information by visiting your Facebook business page and clicking on Insights
- Twitter – pop over to Twitter Analytics – and activate it for your profile
- Instagram – only viewable from your Instagram mobile app – once there just click on the action button and go to insights
- LinkedIn – provides analytics from your business page – just click on analytics in the top menu bar
- YouTube – analytics are available from your YouTube channel – under your profile icon (top right) and click on YouTube Studio
Get further information or help with your social media marketing
If you have any concerns about the potential impact this could have on your social media marketing, why not book in a chat with me. We can help you identify if you have any concern areas, and hopefully – if we impress you enough – get the chance to work with you in the future!
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