5 Secrets Every SME Should Know About Social Media Marketing
Don’t tell anyone. But you’re about to gain an unfair advantage over many of your competitors on social media. In fact, the secrets we’re about to share below are guaranteed to breathe life and energy into your social media marketing and start yielding results straight away. We know this because we’ve tried, tested, and analysed the performance data on each approach ourselves. These are social media marketing tactics our clients already benefit from. Methods that they were unaware of or unable to implement before coming to us. And now we’re sharing them with you. For free. Just don’t tell them we told you. You lucky so-and-so.
Secret #1 – Social Media Marketing Has Exceptionally Low Barriers to Entry
Media buying — adshels, billboards, TV and radio slots, editorials, print ads — is expensive. Traditional marketing and advertising methods can quickly price businesses out. And the ROI is far from guaranteed and very difficult to measure.
Conversely, social networks are free. All you need is a name and a valid email address. Then you’re free to set up on any social media platform you choose.
Now, generally speaking, when people initially consider social media marketing, their first thoughts turn to paid advertising. Sponsored content. Boosted posts. What they don’t realise (and here’s the secret) is that social media marketing doesn’t have to involve any paid advertising at all. At least, not to begin with.
The very act of creating and sharing content across social media qualifies as social media marketing. Of course, the quality, specificity, and perceived value of the content are variables that determine how successful your organic social media marketing will be. But, essentially, getting started and trying things out is as easy as posting to your own personal profile.
Here are some easy social media marketing wins you can try out straight away. Things you can do today, that don’t require a new hire, and don’t need an agency to help you get started.
Photos and Video
If you own a smartphone you have everything you need to take high-quality photos and videos to share on social media. Posts with a photo or a video are far more likely to attract users, inspire interaction, and boost engagement than those without.
So, use the HD camera on your smartphone to take some snaps that you can turn into social media posts or albums that you can share. Alternatively, you can record and post a video message to your followers. Or, if you’re feeling particularly bold, why not go Live?
It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. All it takes is a moment to take a photo, record a video, or do a live broadcast, and you’ve got some great content that will draw people in.
You may also be interested in reading 20 Social Media Video Ideas for Small Businesses.
Of course, sometimes you’ll wish you had a professional photographer to give you the perfect photo for that visual metaphor you’re looking to achieve with your social media posts.
Having a photographer on staff is out of the question. Even paying for stock image licenses is also an unnecessary expense.
You can find thousands of high-quality stock images for free. No attribution required. No cost whatsoever. More importantly, you’ll notice the effect and impact some professional imagery will have on both the look and feel of your social media posts.
Like the previous examples, attractively designed graphics really captivate people on social media. But a good graphic designer is expensive.
In summary, getting started with social media marketing doesn’t have to be costly, complex, or time-consuming. You already have access to most of the tools you need.
Secret #2 – A Simple Strategy Can Have a Huge Impact
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? And yet you’d be surprised by how many businesses don’t have a social media strategy in place. Or even a basic plan or outline of what they’re trying to achieve on social media.
It is frequently the case that businesses (both large and small) are simply keeping themselves busy on social media. They know they should be on the major platforms so they set up profiles. Then, they either post ad hoc or just post for the sake of getting something out there.
However, with a bit of planning and purpose behind your social media posts, you’ll very quickly start to see measurable results. So, here are some quick strategy tips to help you fire up your social media presence.
Start With Why
Begin by asking yourself this question:
“Why is my business on social media?”
Spend time collating responses. They could be as generic as, “Because we have to be,” or “Because everyone else is.” Or they could be more specific, “We want to drive more traffic to our website from a very niche audience found on a particular platform.”
Once you have all your answers, organise them into a hierarchy of preference until you have a final social media mission statement. A sentence or two that categorically states the purpose of your presence on social media.
Clarifying your reasons for being on social media will help streamline your efforts and define your approach and tone of voice across your platforms.
Goals. Goals. Goals.
If you don’t have a target to work towards, how are you ever going to measure success?
Set S.M.A.R.T. targets for each of your social media profiles. Make sure everyone in your team knows what they are, the reasoning behind them, and how you plan to achieve them. Once you know the desired destination, it’s easier to map the route.
However, steer clear of vanity metrics such as follower count and likes. Instead, focus your attention on the meatier metrics that will actually yield results. Think engagement, reach, and volume. These will give you a clear indicator of performance and help you refine your posts as part of your ongoing strategy.
Know Your Platform
Every social network is different. They all have their little nuances. Each platform is inhabited by a particular type of user, looking for a specific kind of experience. More importantly, each platform has its own language, style, and expected behaviour. Know these and tailor your posts to suit each specific network.
This doesn’t mean you can’t share the same content across platforms. But it does mean that the post or update that goes with the link, graphic, or video should take into account the platform’s user base and their expectations.
Something that plays well on Twitter may well go down like a lead balloon on LinkedIn. A link to a killer blog post on Facebook won’t get as much traction on Instagram. Familiarise yourself with the unspoken rules of each social media network. Then play a perfect game across them all.
In summary, knowing your reasons for being on social media, the purpose of your presence on each network, and the goals you’d like to achieve, will transform the content you create and the results you see.
Secret #3 – KISS and Repurpose
For some strange reason, we’re always tempted to overcomplicate things. In a bid to create something awesome we pour hours of thought and labour into its creation, often at the expense of other things (of equal, if not greater importance).
Unfortunately, time on social media is fleeting. Posts quickly drown in a sea of content. So, spending too much time on creating something you believe is going to epic, is ultimately inefficient. Unless you’re a large company with a sizeable budget and a team of experts running your social media accounts and creating content for you, you’re not going to get a return on your time investment.
You’d be better off creating a whole range of smaller, less polished pieces of content within a similar time frame, giving you more touchpoints with your audience.
In short, Keep It Simple Stupid!
There’s a difference between publish-ready and perfect. It’s ok to be publish-ready and move on.
With this in mind, here are some quick and easy ideas to help you keep things simple and repurpose content that already exists.
Let’s keep this simple. What content do you already have that you can repurpose into another format?
Your website, FAQs, any printed brochures, PDFs, photos, videos, audio recordings, newspaper clippings, anything about your business you may have lying around, it’s all content that you can reuse and repurpose.
Transform it into something new. Change it from one format to another. Just don’t let it go to waste.
This is more about changing your mindset. Basically, once you’re in repurposing mode, never leave.
Now, think. What type of content can you make quickly and easily? But, before you create it, ask yourself, ‘How can I then repurpose this content?’
When you’re at the point where you’re planning ahead, with a view to repurposing the content you are yet to create, you’re in the Golden Zone of content creation. That’s when a blog is also a potential live video, which could become a podcast, which could become a quote graphic, which could become… You get the idea.
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
It’s already been mentioned, but it’s worth repeating. Publish-ready is good enough. Don’t always aim for perfection. It’s a never-ending pursuit that is ultimately inefficient and fruitless.
Don’t mess about with endless tweaks, edits and refinements. Get it done and get it out there. You can always change things up later (if you want to).
However, there is one caveat. Whatever you publish should be carefully proofread and checked for spelling errors, typos, and grammar mistakes. Although the concept and message behind your content doesn’t have to be perfect, the quality of your communication does.
In summary, KISS. Use the resources you already have and repurpose. There’s a difference between publish-ready and perfect. Publish-ready is good enough, however, there’s no excuse for poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar, ever!
Secret #4 – It’s Supposed to Be Social
It’s easy to get caught up and only focus on the marketing element of social media marketing. The whole point of having a social media presence is to feed your pipeline, right? Whether that’s driving traffic to your site or generating direct sales, social media is just another channel funnelling people through to your business.
Well, it shouldn’t be. It’s important to remember the social element too.
Most people are on social media as a form of diversion and distraction. They’re looking for conversations, interactions, and entertainment. As a business on social media, you should be catering to this need, over and above your need to make sales.
There are far too many businesses out there who aren’t being social on social media. This is your chance to be different. This is how you can win where others are failing.
Humanise Your Brand
One easy way to ramp up your social interactions is to humanise your brand. Be the face (or faces) of your company and show your audience that there are actual people behind the business. After all, it’s a lot easier to relate to people than a logo.
Showcase your team. Give people a real insight into who you are as individuals behind the business. What motivates you? What’s it like to be part of your company?
Always remember, social media is great for developing relationships with your audience, but it takes time and input, just like any other relationship. Think of it as dating, you want to show who you really are and what you’re really about to make sure you’re all on the same page as you travel down the road together.
Conversation = Listening + Talking
With businesses on social media, it’s often one-way traffic when it comes to messaging. Posting with no responses to comments. Sharing your own content only. It’s not very social.
Instead, start or get involved in conversations that are happening online. Find places and reasons to meet new people on the various social media platforms and then talk to them as if they are people, not potential sales.
Similarly, be a real person when you interact with others on social media. Use the company profile but make it known which team member is speaking. Most importantly, spend time listening to what people are saying and respond in kind.
Don’t be afraid of reviews or feedback (it’s how we grow as people and businesses). Openness and honesty on social media help trust with your audience. They’ll remember you for it and be more likely to come to you over your competitors when they need your products or services.
In summary, social networking is supposed to be social. Show the people behind your business. Don’t be afraid to be human and get involved in online conversations. Listen carefully to what people are saying and make sure you respond appropriately and in a timely manner.
Secret #5 – There Is No Secret Sauce
The biggest secret about social media marketing is, there is no secret sauce. Far too many people think there is a magic button to press, an incredible tool to use, or some magic ‘hack’ that guarantees immediate and lasting results online.
It’s much simpler than that.
The most successful businesses online are the ones that aren’t afraid to try.
Try something. If it works, do more of it, evolve it, create new versions of it, and optimise it. If it doesn’t work, no dramas, bin it and move on.
Most importantly, stop looking for the latest trend, newest platform, clique, niche, hashtag or anything else. Stick to what you have and make it work. Also, make sure you track and analyse everything so that you can pinpoint exactly what’s working and what isn’t, and why.
In summary, there is no secret sauce. Social media marketing is all about trial and error. Just try, track, analyse and review what you’re doing. Take time to understand what’s working and what isn’t. Then go again.
You Know the Secrets, But Are You Still Making Mistakes?
The fact that your brand is on social media means that you appreciate its potential and relevance as a marketing channel. However, social media marketing can seem like a complicated beast. Especially when your main focus is running your business.
When it’s not your forte, when it’s not your main priority, mistakes can creep in easily. And that’s when the effectiveness of your social media marketing can flounder.
In our experience, there are 7 fundamental social media marketing mistakes that businesses repeatedly make, and they’re completely unaware. These are often the first things we put right for many of our clients.
We want every business to enjoy success on social media. For this reason, we’ve put together a comprehensive downloadable field guide to help get businesses off on the right foot with their social media marketing.
Identify the key mistakes in your social media marketing and start putting them right today.
Don’t miss out.