Social media marketing
Once your website is ready to show off your business and/or your skills, it is time to get it in front of people (your audience) who can be interested in what you have to offer. Marketing, especially online marketing is, for sure, your next investment. How big that investment is going to be depends on your available budget, and that is going to be the key to determining the marketing channel you are going to approach.
Once you know your next step (which is, of course, spreading the word about your business) and your budget, you have enough information to choose which way you will go in your online promotion. At that moment, you will have to become familiar with different online marketing channels and their benefits in order to choose where to start.
One of the most important benefits of social media marketing is the fact that you can connect with your target audience with a financial investment (by creating paid campaigns) or without financial investment (by creating an organic community). Now it is a perfect moment to answer a few questions:
1.What are the goal(s) you want to achieve?
2.Which social network you are going to target?
3.What is your available budget?
With this valuable knowledge, you can devise your social media marketing strategy.
Understanding your audience is the key to social media success
Behind any good social media marketing campaign, there's a well-planned social media marketing strategy which consists of a clear goal (e.g. reaching new customers) and the target audience you want to reach no matter which social network you actually choose.
Social media is all about connecting with the right audience. It gives you a megaphone to speak up about something you started or created. Social networks allow you to speak up among your friends or their friends as well as people you have never met before or haven't had any way of connecting with them. In other words, they act as digital flyers you can give out to people in different countries and even continents.
Determining the right audience you want to reach is the first step to accomplishing your business goals. It is a process of creating your ideal customer by age, location, habits, interests, lifestyle, work, education experience and many other factors.
Let's go through a simple example - you make unique boho jewelry and you have just created a website to showcase your work. So far you have been selling your art to your friends, but you want to reach more people and expand your sales (business goal). You know from previous experience that your customers are ladies (gender) who are 25-35 years old (age) and like boho trends (interest). Besides that, you also know that you want to reach people in your country (location) to avoid international post costs. In addition, to facilitate communication, they should speak English (language). So, there you have it - your target audience.
Finding the right social media platform for your business
Once you have a clear understanding of your goals and your audience, it will be easier to choose the right social media platform for the business you want to talk about. Knowing where your audience hangs out is actually knowing where to put your efforts to make your business visible.
When people talk about social media, they usually mean Facebook and Twitter. Both of them are without a doubt a good start if you are still trying to figure out where your audience is. While Facebook is mainly used to connect with real people's lives, Twitter is used to share short and important information or news that could have benefits for many. But social media marketing is more than just facebooking and tweeting. It is a combination of social media strategies and plans mixed along with many social media campaigns and even different social media networks in order to reach one or several business goals.
Other social media platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube are rapidly growing and opening their doors to help you find your perfect audience. What makes each network unique is the means of communication - some use messages or images and others may use videos or even different combinations. We can say that Linkedin is a professional network (mostly suitable for B2B marketing), but that doesn't mean you cannot reach your audience there too. It just means that you will have to follow some communication rules when engaging with them.
Let's have a look at one more example - you are a web designer and your goal is to create websites for small businesses (audience). If these businesses are companies (no matter the size), your first steps could be made on LinkedIn or Facebook (or even both). If you want to reach people who started creative business (like baking), you will mainly consider Facebook, but you will also start with Instagram marketing, since you know that bakers love to share their delicious images too.
Why Facebook marketing is important for your business
Facebook is definitely one of the most popular social media platforms, not only when it comes to the number of individuals who use it, but also the number of business who decided to start from here. This social media platform offers a complex marketing tool for the whole advertising process - from creating a business place (page) to creating and measuring ad success (Ad Manager). Everything you need to make your first marketing steps - they have it ready for you.
In order to start marketing on Facebook, you will have to create a page:
Log in with your account
Visit Create a page link
Fill out basic information about your business
Set a profile and a cover image
Start inviting your friends to like your new page
At the very beginning, focus on building your Facebook community by sharing relevant and interesting content. It can be anything from tips on how to solve problems (relevant to your business) to sharing images of your creative processes. Once your community starts engaging with your business, you can start advertising and reaching more people.
Tip: create a content strategy and work on your business credibility. Once they know they can trust you, they will more likely start engaging with your business!
Facebook was launched on February 4, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard College roommates.
Initially called Facemash, then Thefacebook.
Worldwide, 38.6% of the online population use Facebook.
Users spend an average of 20 minutes per day on the site.
In 2015, Facebook's average advertising revenue per user was US$11.96.
440% of users don't like any brand pages ñ meaning paid adverts are the only way to reach them.
Tweeting for beginners
No matter how popular Facebook is and how beneficial Facebook marketing can be, if your audience is mainly on Twitter, then tweeting should be your thing. When tweeting, you are actually having a short conversation with your audience. Every message you send is limited by the number of characters, which means that every message you intend to send has to have a clear and catchy point. In order to start engaging with your Twitter community, you will have to create a Twitter business account. Once your account is created (and by that we mean all the info & images are set), it is time to start following people and gaining followers.
When it comes to start following, focus on these three types of people:
1.Those who are good influencers in your business niche
2.Those who are good community influencers (online community builders)
3.Your customers and friends
You are only a good tweet away from start following to gaining followers, so pay particular attention to the information you are sharing. Give your community valuable and trustworthy tweets. Share links, images and videos that will give them the option to find out more about breaking news you share. And finally, become a part of the community by posting info, sharing thoughts and engaging in conversation.
Social Media Marketing Tip: Another way to connect with your followers is to get listed and start digging through other people's lists. If you find a list of a person who is an influencer in your niche, that is probably your stash of gold. Try to connect with people on the list and hope they will find your account (with all the amazing tweets you are posting) interesting enough to follow you back.
Other social media networks and why you should consider them
The best part of Facebook and Twitter is that they can be suitable for any kind of business and a great push if you are just starting with social media marketing. However, if you know where else you can find people to engage with, these two channels shouldn't be your only choice. You have the freedom to combine as many social media platforms as you want in order to reach your goals. There are no limits to the number of social channels you can use - LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube are all yours for the taking.
Reaching other businesses through LinkedIn
When it comes to LinkedIn, it is very important to know that you get the opportunity to directly influence decision-makers. For example, if you have decided to focus on small companies, you can target business owners directly.
There are two different ways to reach your target audience on LinkedIn - via ads or via sponsored content. Whereas ads are very simple (you create a text ad and a headline), sponsored content will give you the option to promote the content you shared on your business page.
Social Media Marketing Tip: Advertising on LinkedIn can be a bit more expensive for startup businesses. If your budget is limited, focus on decision-makers and create content/ads they would engage with and then sponsor only the ad/piece of content that increases your chances of reaching your desired goal.
The average CEO has 930 LinkedIn connections
More than 1 million members have published content on LinkedIn
Why is Instagram advertising gaining so much popularity today?
In 2012, Facebook acquired Instagram, a platform where your life is presented in images. It is common knowledge that a picture is worth a thousand words, and you can understand why marketers see a great potential in this social media channel.
It is important to understand who uses this social media and why before saying this is the one. Instagram is created to give creative people a way to express their life in images (nowadays in videos too). Creative businesses like baking, art creating and jewelry making use this social channel to present their portfolio, which makes them easier to find. In other words, maybe lawyers are not going to find new clients on Instagram, but they can definitely build a community there too (for example, by sharing images from their office).
Social Media Marketing Tip: If your audience is on Instagram, you have to prepare yourself before your first shoot. Since Instagram is all about images, invest in learning how to take quality images and think of catchy titles/descriptions for the images you share.
Exploring and learning about social media platforms is the first step toward understanding where your audience is. Some businesses can benefit from using only one social media network, whereas other see more benefits in combining different types of social platforms in order to engage and build a bigger community. Focus on creating a social media plan that may be more suitable for both organic and paid social media advertising, as your budget may not support paid social media campaigns all the time.
Whichever social media you choose, do not forget to be consistent and creative!
Boosting your creativity with Canva
Great social media content (status updates, tweets, news), the one that is liked/retweeted/shared like crazy, usually consists of two things:
Relevant and creative content
Eye-catching image or an engaging video
Regardless of your photography skills, there are some amazing tools that can help you boost the visual presentation of your social media campaign. Here's where Canva comes in handy. This online tool helps you design amazing images for your social media accounts, posts and paid campaigns. In other words, it can help you with both your profile picture and ads at the same time. To start creating your next image, you need to figure out what you want to show and what your goal is. You'll be ready to start using Canva after a fruitful brainstorming session. With a free Canva account, you can prepare as many social media campaigns as you want. For more details on how to create social media images using Canva, click here.