The best thing about using social media to promote your business is the costs are mind-blowingly low – especially compared to other popular methods of getting the word out. According to a Duke University business poll, most businesses spend just over ten percent of their marketing budget on social media, and that number is projected to become nearly 25% within the next few years. Now more than ever It’s a wise idea to invest your funds into social media. The key is having a strategy – understanding how you should spend, when you should post and where your target audience are most likely to see your content.
Promoting Generic Products & Services
Different platforms work for different things. Businesses with generic products and services that appeal to a wide variety of people could achieve their goals of raising brand awareness by investing their social media budget into Facebook ads. A dollar or two a day can draw in thousands of followers, and maintaining an active, interesting page will retain the interest of the majority. Facebook is a very cost effective way to increase awareness, but less useful at converting awareness to sales, so it’s a smart decision to combine your Facebook activity with activity on other platforms.
Businesses that are known for a particular product can do well with Instagram. This gives you a chance to show photos of your product and what it can do, and demonstrate it being used by your customers. Health and beauty brands love Instagram, because so many millennials are drawn in by the visuals. The purchasing decisions of millennials are often heavily influenced by their peers, and image sharing can have a viral affect that leads to more awareness and more customers. Sponsored Instagram posts by celebrities with lots of followers can be a great investment.
Effortlessly Creating a Recognizable Brand
Twitter is a great tool, but it also gets a lot of people into trouble. This platform gives brands a voice and a personality, and allows them to have a two way conversation with consumers. When used wisely – with great discretion about what you’re willing to comment on – you can create useful brand recognition. Make sure you have a clear strategy, a rock star writer who really understands your brand and a clear social media policy – before you start promoting your tweets.
Competing During the Busy Season
Depending on the time of year – Christmas, summer and winter sales and so on – people can be bombarded with ads. Everywhere they look, they are invited to buy or use products or services, many of which are completely irrelevant to them. It gets overwhelming, and people tend to get sensory overload and stop paying attention. But people aren’t going to give up their social media and nor should you. There might be more competition but that just makes it more important to be active, not less. The secret is finding ways to get involved that are memorable, but not blatant, will help you stand out from the crowd.
Making it Sustainable
If you want your social media campaigns to be successful, you need to be sure they’re working for the long term. Part of your budget should be allocated to analytics. You can follow all of the above tips to the letter, but how do you know you’re approaching them in the right way if you’re not measuring results and adjusting your tactics? There are plenty of tools that offer analytics for free, but premium ones don’t generally cost a fortune and can provide the most useful feedback. It also pays to have a post scheduling application that will allow your social media program to practically run itself, so you aren’t spending as much on manpower.
In terms of advertising, social media is cheap and easy but you need to have clear objectives and a plan in order to get results. Keeping a close eye on things will allow you to get a great bang for your buck. It’s all about using the right tools and putting the right content on the right platforms. Test, refine and test again!
Jayne Blake works as a Communications Manager at Prospa, Australia’s largest online business lender.