It’s all the rage now and everyone swears by its ability to generate traffic to your brand, but what is social media marketing? The definition is actually pretty straight forward: social media marketing is the use of social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.) to connect with your audience in order to build your brand and drive traffic to your website in the pursuit of increased sales. It involves engaging with and listening to your followers, and creating targeted campaigns and content that align with that data.
That sounds simple enough, but in practice, it could get tricky. This is because the way you employ social media marketing can greatly differ depending on factors including your audience, your goals, and market trends. These factors will determine the social media marketing strategy that will best suit the needs of your business. Small businesses particularly benefit from social media marketing because there are a variety of strategies that are both cost-effective and impactful. The list below is a selection of the most effective social media marketing strategies.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Immersive experiences by way of virtual and augmented reality are gaining more and more traction, and not just for entertainment purposes like video games and movies. There are loads of possibilities for marketing whether through complete immersion experiences that submerge you in a new world (VR), or by adding digital elements to a real view (AR). Consider the potential for AR in real estate for instance, where VR can give homebuyers privileged access to thousands of homes without having to leave the comfort of their own home. What about AR’s ability to show you what a home improvement purchase would look like before making a purchase. All of these technological features are things you can boast about to draw people into your website. People appreciate the visual, so AR and VR are the perfect recipe for increased audience engagement.
Podcasts have seen an enormous rise in popularity over the past few years. They are the new talk radio, and for business, it can be a very useful marketing tool. They are an alternative to video which can be difficult to shoot and expensive if you don’t have the right equipment. It’s also a unique type of content that many businesses will not take the time to create, which will set you apart. Podcasts are great for reaching out to new audiences and can help build familiarity with your brand because listeners can subscribe and regularly listen. Though it is a one-sided medium it can help with building effective relationships with your customer base because it shows that your brand and the customer have mutual interests and concerns.
Master Live Streaming
Live streaming has become a fan favorite for customers and social media users. Research shows that over 80% of shoppers prefer live video over blog and social posts. Some of this has to do with the authenticity connection that develops from viewing a brand up close and personal without the superficiality of editing out flaws and imperfections. Live streaming will boost the awareness of your brand which will lead to higher conversions. It’s also an affordable option among the social media marketing strategies for small business.
Vertical Videos and Social TV
If you want to make sure you’re ahead of the curve, include social TV and vertical videos in your social media marketing plan. An example of this is IGTV which has become a staple since its inception. It allows users to create channels and post longer videos (since Instagram caps it’s video posts at one minute). Some of the other video platforms like YouTube TV and Snap Original have yet to gain as much traction, but it’s certainly a trend on the rise. With the amount of competition in the marketplace, it certainly couldn’t harm you to stay up to date on this newer tactic of social media marketing.
Set Up Rich Pins
If your brand has a Pinterest page (and it definitely should!), then don’t forget to include Rich Pins which give more information about your product right on the pin. Rich Pins provide more context about the pin because the information is directly on it.
There are four types of pins you can include: app, product, recipe, and article. Product pins make shopping much easier for your customer because they include real-time pricing, availability, and where the customer can purchase your product. If you are creating blog posts and want to showcase them on Pinterest, article pins help users save stories that matter to them. Each article they pin will include a headline, the author name, and story description.
Easily Shareable Images
People are drawn to visual content—it attracts the eye and helps direct the reader. Also, people are more likely to take action based on the subtle cues of visual content rather than text or audio. It can be a misconception, but the power of visual isn’t limited to platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat. You can and should showcase your images especially in places that are text-heavy like LinkedIn and Twitter because they’re more likely to stand out on those platforms. Unlike videos that, depending on the platform may need conversion software, pictures are easy to share. This means that your followers may do some of the work of spreading brand awareness. This is especially true when it comes to review sites. Customers will not only share their written experience of your company/product but the business review will often include a photo of that experience.
Humanizing Your Brand
Interacting with your followers is hugely important to building and maintaining a positive image of your brand. Nowadays, people don’t just want to purchase the products they want and need. They want to get to know the brand they are buying from just as they would want to get to know someone they recently met. Those who feel connected with your company and message will sometimes even post on your behalf in the form of a blog post, video review, business review, etc. You should encourage these posts because these followers are doing some of the work of marketing your business.
Chatbots seem impersonal, but they can do wonders for your business while saving you money. This is especially important if you run an e-commerce business because you are likely fielding customer questions 24/7. Chatbots can’t necessarily answer all questions, especially ones that are much more intricate and complex. However, they will be able to answer queries that are redundant. This frees you up to focus on other more pressing aspects of your business.
You don’t need to incorporate every single one of the strategies right away, but in general, the social media marketing benefits are undeniable. Try out a few and see which of these tactics work for your business. They may not all do the trick but they are affordable ways of building brand awareness and hopefully gaining more prospects.
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- 8 Powerful Social Media Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business - February 16, 2020