By this point, we’re all somewhat familiar with social media and the impact it can have for brands. No longer is social just a platform for tweens and millenials to follow their friends, but now an actual way to reach and connect with customers and prospects.
Social media is a great way to have fun and represent the culture and human aspect of your brand. But, it takes time and well thought out strategies to execute social media campaigns properly. And because anything that involves your time should be worth it, here are a few ways to best utilize social media as a small business, no matter what your mission or agenda is.
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Free & Low Cost Ideas:
Why sell yourself when your satisfied and successful customers can do that for you? Customer takeovers are a great social media strategy for giving people insight into not only who your customers are but how they use the product or service. This is an incredible selling tool, and a really invaluable method of social media advertising. It gives a face to a name and a voice to a brand, allowing prospects to better see how they’d benefit from your product or service. Plus, it’s fun!
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You can work collaboratively with customers to create ‘Day In The Life’ Instagram takeovers, live Twitter Q+As around product launches, brand-related topics, or really anything you feel like sharing. This helps strengthen your relationships, while simultaneously shedding light into how they use your product. Just remember to make sure cross-promotion is part of the agreement, so the customer shares the content on their channels and exposes your brand to their social following as well.
Move over Google! People now use social to research current events and trending topics, too. So, why not put your creative hat on and tap into the trending word or topic of the day? You can even plan ahead by relying on weekly trends. For instance, you could motivate your followers with helpful tips on #MondayMotivation, or post photos of your business when it was a two-person startup out of your attic on #ThrowbackThursday.
Remember, if you're chiming in on a trending topic, make sure it makes sense for your brand and feels authentic.
The options are endless and are searchable on each platform, so checking daily is important. That way, when people click into the trending word, your post will come up in their feed. Just remember, if you’re chiming in to something that’s culturally relevant at the moment, make sure it makes sense for your brand, feels authentic, and doesn’t come across as trying too hard. Read the ‘room’ first to see if it’s turned into something playful, then go wild!
Paid social media advertising has taken on a life of its own in the past years. In fact, most marketing teams now have a separate budget and dedicated positions for managing them. Social ads are the best way to build a following, brand awareness, and conversions. They can be targeted to reach people in your desired demographic, industry, spoken language, etc. and the ROI can be incredible. Also, they can be pretty budget friendly — run as many or as few ads as you like, and spend accordingly.
While launching your first social media advertising campaign can seem daunting, the platforms are often extremely intuitive in this area, especially with targeting, and offer advice and best practices along the way. Additionally, there are courses at Udemy and General Assembly which help break down the basics of how to run a successful campaign.
Social media influencers are used to help brands with their marketing and advertising efforts. Often compared to paid social ads, influencer marketing has become a new ‘go to’ for brands due to its less intrusive nature.
For consumers, buying from a social media influencer feels like taking a recommendation from a trusted friend.
When users scroll through their curated feed on Instagram (or Twitter or Facebook), they typically see only the people they choose to follow, as well as paid ads. Social media influencers bridge the gap between the two by meticulously creating content that represents a brand (messaging, product, etc.) without being too aggressive with the selling. They tie a product to their own core mission and brand, thus introducing it to their thousands of followers in a much more natural way. For consumers, it feels more like taking a recommendation from a trusted friend than a brand’s overly sales-y ad.
There are countless agencies, like The Shelf, who can manage and execute these social media campaigns for your company. They research influencers who will represent your brand well, whose followers are ideal customers for you, and who will create incredible content that you can share. In general, influencer campaigns are less flexible than paid social ads from a budget perspective, in terms of the minimum cost required. If you do want to follow this route, be prepared to put some spend behind it.
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