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Understanding Social Media Marketing for Small Business

If you’ve been paying attention to marketing trends over the past few years, then you know that social media marketing is essential for any business today. You know that the right digital marketing strategies can be more effective than spending millions of dollars on a commercial that airs during the Super Bowl (not to mention more cost effective).

But do you really have a full understanding of how and why social media marketing is such a powerful tool for small businesses? It goes beyond exposure and driving traffic to your site, though both of those are incredibly important factors in the social media marketing game. Let’s explore a few other key elements and factors to help your business thrive with the right social media marketing strategy.

Reputation Management

First of all, social media marketing gives you the ability to manage your business’ online reputation. If your only online presence is your website, then you’re missing a lot of opportunities to show the world who you are and how you do business. In this case, if you get a bad review on Yelp or Angie’s List, potential customers have no other sources to show that the review wasn’t indicative of how you conduct business.

On the other hand, if you have active presences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you’ll have the opportunity to show how you do business, how you interact with your customers and followers, and why new customers should choose you over your competition.

If you get a negative comment on Facebook or a bad review on Yelp, you can respond to it professionally and politely. Then everyone else looking at that comment or that review will see that you are genuine and that you truly care about your customers. Not only that, but uploading quality content on a regular basis will make any bad reviews or negative comments look like anomalies, rather than the norm.

Better Opportunities for Lead Conversions

In addition to managing your reputation, every post you make on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn is an opportunity to convert leads to customers. When you post interesting blog posts, attractive discount offers, and new products, your followers will have the opportunity to click on the links you provide in your posts to go directly to your site.

Then, with the right digital marketing strategy on your site, you’ll further pull your audience in and get them even more interested in what you have to offer. You won’t convert every lead to a sale, but you can count on a significantly higher conversion rate when you consistently post quality content to your social media accounts.

Gaining Brand Authority as a Thought Leader

On that note, today’s customers don’t want to feel like they’re buying products and/or services from nameless, faceless corporations. They want to have a relationship with the brands they choose to associate with. They want to know that they’re making the right choice when they choose your brand over another, and you can give them that assurance by showing that you’re an expert and a thought leader in your field, as well as through direct interaction on your social media pages.

For example, let’s imagine that you have a customer who’s trying to decide between buying your product or your competition’s product. The two items are very similar in both quality and price. How does the customer make the choice? Well, first they go online and check out both businesses’ reviews, as well as their online presences.

If you’ve posted a few helpful blog posts and articles about your field, you’re immediately going to look better to the customer than your competition. You’ll look even more attractive if you’ve appeared as a guest blogger on a popular site or blog in your niche.

Basically, by posting quality content regularly on your social media platforms, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. This marketing strategy has worked for the likes of Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson, and they can work for you and your small business, too.

Building Relationships with Your Customer Base

Of course, if you just post quality content and then leave your social media pages alone, you won’t really be taking advantage of the social aspect of social media. As we mentioned a moment ago, your customers want to feel like they have a relationship with you. They want to know that you’re going to give them the best customer service, and they want to feel like you truly care, even after the sale.

Social media gives you the means to show that you care about your customers and to build those relationships. Remember, your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all generally leads or returning customers. So, when they post on your pages or make comments on your posts, they’re giving you a great opportunity to really get engaged.

Engaging with your followers in the comments will not only help forge a sense of empathy with the people who are doing the commenting – it will also show others that you’re more than willing to get involved with your customers and that you care about what they have to say. Audience engagement on social media is incredibly good for reputation management and for building empathy with your brand and your business. It also helps reinforce your brand voice and identity with your followers and customers, too.

Improved SERP Rankings

Maintaining active social media accounts across different platforms will also increase your SERP (search engine results page) rankings. If you regularly post relevant content to Facebook and other social networks, and you get a lot of interaction with your fans and followers, you’ll also be automatically improving your search engine optimization (SEO).

So, while you’re improving relationships with your customers and driving more traffic to your site with your social media posts and conversations in the comments, you’ll also be improving people’s chances of finding you when they search for relevant keywords to your business.

Better Marketing Strategies for the Future

And, while you’re doing all that, you will also be able to watch and study your analytics on each of your social media sites. Some sites have different names for the statistical information they provide for users (Facebook calls them “Insights”), but all analytics tools give you basically the same information and the same means to continue to improve your social media marketing strategies.

With these tools, you can look at which posts get the most views and of those which ones get the most engagement with comments, likes, and shares. You can find out where your audience is, when they’re most active, and what kinds of posts and campaigns work the best for them. With thoughtful analysis of statistical data on your social media pages, you can see exactly how well your social media marketing strategy is working and where it needs improvement.

Want to learn more about social media marketing for small business? At Gauge Digital Media, we specialize in web design and digital marketing to drive more meaningful traffic to your site and to increase conversion rate. Give us a call today at 410-376-7709 or fill out our online contact form and we’ll be in touch with you shortly to discuss how we can improve your digital marketing strategies.