Utilizing Social Media Platforms Effectively to Grow a Small Business

Social media is one of the most powerful tools any marketer can use today and its value is showing no signs of waning anytime soon. There are millions of people using social media platforms every day, making them easier to reach out to. 

Small businesses can take advantage of social media, but this doesn’t make the act of promoting a business any easier. Still, with the proper knowledge and a bit of creativity, you can make the most out of social media to make your brand shine online. 

From the relatively low-cost nature of running a social media business account to the potential of content to go viral, there are plenty of ways to help your business turn in more than just a bit of profit. 

We’ve compiled a list of tips to help make your brand stand out in the competitive online environment so you can get the most out of your digital marketing efforts. 

Have a Plan

Utilizing social media for the growth of your business is more than just posting random images and expecting people to like them. 

As with all things, it’s best to have a plan before diving straight into the action. Luckily, planning for a social media strategy for your business isn’t too different from planning for anything else, but keep in mind that you will be strategizing with the interactive nature of social media in mind. 

1. Do Some Research

Any good plan starts with a solid foundation backed by research. Every move you’ll make in so far as your business is concerned will need to be based on information from this preliminary step. 

Not only will good research guarantee positive results, but it will also minimize any losses you might encounter along the way. You can start by looking up your competitors and getting a feel for the atmosphere of a specific social media network. 

2. Set Your Goals

Once you’ve done your research, start creating goals that are feasible for your business to achieve within a reasonable amount of time. 

Whether it’s to increase brand awareness or create an online environment for your customers, how you grow your business’s social media account should always be based on its needs and the information you got from research. 

3. Specify Your Target Audience

Social media platforms tend to be very crowded, and this can either work with or against you. Carefully constructing your strategy over a specific type of audience is key to success. 

Hitting everyone with your message may seem like a good idea at first, but it often ends with your message simply bouncing off of people who don’t want to hear it. 

Furthermore, messages that target everyone may not resonate with the actual, intended audience. Try to identify and focus your efforts on a more specified demographic.

4. Pick Your Platform

Once you’ve selected your target audience, the next step is to pick the social media platform that can reach the most amount of people in your chosen demographic. 

There is a wide range of social media platforms out there. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are arguably the most famous, but there are also platforms such as LinkedIn for professionals, as well as YouTube and TikTok for those who prefer a more visual-based experience.  

Different platforms have different trends. For example, the Pew Research Center found that US adults use YouTube and Facebook more than other social media sites, while social media solutions platform Sprout Social notes that TikTok is more popular amongst younger audiences.

5. Craft Your Message

Once everything is set up, then it’s finally time to create your brand’s message. The message that you’ll spread across social media will be the one that will determine your success in the digital space. 

Your message depends completely on your goal. It can be in the form of effective copy that increases sales, an attention-grabbing visual that increases brand awareness or similar forms of communication that are able to push your agenda. 

Keep all of the information you’ve gathered up to this point into consideration. Creating something that resonates with your audience is vital to increasing audience engagement and growing your business online. 

Build Personas for Your Brand

Once you have a cohesive plan based on solid research, it’s time to create a persona for your brand. 

To be clear, a brand persona refers to how your brand interacts with people in social media. The persona itself should still remain consistent with the brand’s image to avoid incongruences, but there are some big brands out there whose social media accounts have completely different images. 

The Twitter account of Wendy’s is an excellent example. Their social media persona is bolder and more casual; It isn’t afraid to pick (and win) an argument. The Twitter persona is also in stark contrast with the official brand’s more traditional fast food restaurant image. 

Having multiple brand personas isn’t necessarily bad. According to Sprout Social, having multiple personas will give your business the opportunity to resonate with more than one demographic depending on the social media platform. 

Create a Community

Building a community of followers is a purely optional but excellent way to help your business grow in social media. The fact that social media’s strength is in its interactive nature cannot be stressed enough, and if you aren’t interacting with your audience then you’ll miss out on potential opportunities. 

Lyfe Marketing notes that humanizing your brand is one of the best ways to establish its presence in social media. Your brand’s persona is essential to creating a community that genuinely enjoys interacting with it. 

Going back to the previous example, the Wendy’s Twitter account’s casual, more human approach netted the brand more likes, comments and retweets per post than a competitor like McDonald’s. 

The value of having a community also goes beyond simple metrics. It opens up an excellent channel for updating your audience about any news about your business or receiving critical feedback from your customers on issues you may miss otherwise.

Remember to interact with your community regularly, whether it be through new posts or by simply responding to comments from individual community members. 

Monitor Your Progress

The final most important thing to consider when running a social media account for your business is to track if you’re actually making any progress. 

Community interaction metrics like likes, comments and shares are important to know but you can often track a variety of different numbers, such as the overall traffic that your social media page is getting via the platform’s analytics page. 

Always keep an eye out on whether or not you’re meeting your goals. This will save you time and effort in the long run and you’ll always be aware of what you need to do in order to keep your social media account performing well. 

Check on Your Accounts Regularly 

It can be disheartening to see a Facebook page with little to no followers, but everyone starts at the bottom.

When you start noticing that your plan isn’t working, then it may be time to go back to the drawing board. Don’t forget that you can also run ads on social media to boost brand awareness and increase your efforts. 

Remember that social media is a more humanized space compared to traditional marketing channels. Keep interacting with your community to keep them engaged and keep you updated on the latest trends.