By Tyler King
Facebook is almost twenty years old, and I think it’s safe to say that social media marketing is here to stay. Over the last two decades, social media marketing has changed the game in the way that consumers interact with their favorite brands. Gone are the days when businesses only had to buy advertisements in the local paper or yellow pages. (For those Gen Zers who don’t know what the Yellow Pages were, just take a second to Google it!) Today’s consumers demand immediate access to companies; if you’re not on social media, it’s almost impossible to grow your brand.
No matter the size of your company, it needs to have a presence on social media. So how do you get started? I wish there were a simple formula people could follow but every industry and business is different. However, I put together 4 tips for small business social media success that should help to guide you as you jump into the world of social media.
1. Social Media Isn’t Free
Whether it’s time, creating content, promoting posts, or hiring people to run your social channels, social media marketing costs money. Does that mean you need to drop thousands of dollars on day one? Of course not. But you do need to fold it into your overall marketing and business plan. The good news of the day is that so many great free tools will help you get up and running. Here are a few of my favorites:
2. Social Media Takes Time
Think of your favorite brand or brands on social media. As you scroll through their feeds, you’ll probably see an expertly curated feed of content that speaks to you. Does this happen by chance or luck? Nope. Creating social media content takes time, and that’s actually a good thing. You want to make sure you take the time to understand your audience, so you know how to create the right content on the right platform and present your content in the most effective way possible.
3. Social Media is all About People
It doesn’t matter if you work for a B2C company or B2B. Social media is all about real people talking about real things. It’s not a 24/7 commercial for your business to ensure every post relates to your audience and their needs. Not sure where to start or need some inspiration? If you’re in the B2B space, check out PandaDoc or BambooHR, and if you’re a B2C company, you should look at Kizik.
4. And Finally, You Need to Be Patient!
You’re going to have posts that fall flat. You’re going to have campaigns that don’t connect with your audience, and that’s ok. I always tell my UVM Digital Marketing Fundamentals Certificate students that social media marketing is a lot like hitting in baseball. A great hitter hits 3 out of every ten pitches, so if you strike out a few times, that’s ok, keep going.
A great social media marketer is patient with themselves and their audience. Sometimes we forget about the social part of social media marketing. It’s ok to take some time to ask questions and listen to your audience. Your audience wants to be an active part of your company, so let them.
Learn more tips on social media for small businesses in UVM’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate program or in the Online Social Media Certificate.
Tyler King is a Senior Social Media and Community Manager at PandaDoc in addition to an instructor in UVM’s Digital Marketing Fundamentals Professional Certificate Program.