Social media has become everything — from a way to connect with new people to a way to make money. It has turned into something that we can’t live without — it has become a part of our lifestyle. It’s no surprise that the first thing we do when we open our eyes in the morning is to check our phones — social media.
The latest data show that there are 4.48 billion social media users around the world in July 2021, equating to almost 57 percent of the total global population.
The growth in social media usage is happening in all parts of the world today. It is because social media apps are readily available, free, and easy to use.
We shouldn’t consider social media not just only a pastime activity. As the number increases, it means more customers, more business potentials, more professional opportunities!
There are people who got the point — use social media for their own professional advantages, and have been making money from social media.
Social media is lit. For everyone. For everyone to find anything they are looking for and for everyone who wants to be found.
In this article, I’ll point out how to use social media for small businesses and discuss how they can be appropriate for your business. A big plus, I’ll not talk about common social media strategies like using hashtags, finding SM influencers, creating giveaways, and these types of overtalked points.
The authenticity of social media marketing
Social media has become an integral part of marketing for almost every business.
It’s the most accessible and effective way for small businesses, including individual people, to build an online presence, reach new customers, and improve content marketing without spending too much on advertising.
How does social media benefit your business?
I feel that there’s no need to repeat or paraphrase the benefits of social media in detail since there have been enough articles and research.
As a short summary, social media has the following benefits for businesses:
- Building online presence
- Generating word of mouth
- Leveraging brand recognition
- Being an alternative channel for customer support
- Growing traffic to your website (off-site SEO)
- Promoting products
- Building online community
- Advertising at a lower cost
- Engaging customer
- Creating hype
The list of these benefits can go on and on.
And, here are some latest social media statistics from different sources that I gathered together on the following infographics which I think is quite convincing to take your SMM activities seriously.
As you see, there are a considerable amount of opportunities that social media provides you to take advantage of your online activities.
Now, the question is:
Which platform fits best to your business? Where to start?
When choosing a social media platform, you should take into account the type of business you have, your target audience, and your goal for using social media. That’s wrong.
Marketers may say that choosing the right social media channel depends on your brand — product or service you’re offering. For instance, it may sound absurd, say, for an SEO company to use TikTok at first thought.
But, for me, it’s not irrelevant at all. I’ll tell you why.
The challenge about social media is not about which one to use, but rather how to make the most of it, and how to reshape your social media activities — content to talk to every user on each platform accordingly. And, it’s not only about selling and finding new prospects, but also how you convert them to be your prospects on the platforms they are.
The thing is, unless you know how to present your brand in the right way on each social media channel, people will not know if they need your products & service or not.
Let’s take an example of TikTok. Why are people on TikTok? Because TikTok has its own video clips styles. What do people follow on TikTok? The accounts that speak to their interests (hiking, cooking, cat videos, etc.), and TikTok suggest you accounts based on one’s interests.
Now getting back to the SEO company example: why a digital marketer, the one that gives tips on SEO, not share his content with a TikTok clip style? And, why a TikTok user, whose interest is digital marketing, not follow that guy? Do you see where I’m going?
And, that applies to each social media platform. People use Pinterest for finding ideas and products, why not inspire people on Pinterest by sharing different ideas in related collections? People use Instagram for art and photography (well, mostly), LinkedIn for business-related news, you got the point.
I’m sharing one of my favorite parts from the book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk:
“Content is king, but context is God. You can put out good content, but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can still fall flat. Most marketers are oblivious to context because marketers are on social media to sell stuff.
Consumers, however, are not. They are there for value. That value can take many forms. Sometimes it’s in a few minutes’ respite from the stress of a busy day. Sometimes it’s in the form of entertainment, information, news, celebrity gossip, friendship, a sense of connection, a chance to feel popular, or an opportunity to brag.”Gary Vaynerchuk
If you’re using Facebook, knowing that it has the most users among other platforms, but sharing content that doesn’t fit the context, no gain.
Or the opposite. You may have a wonderful piece of content, if you ignore the context of the platform, again, no gain.
Takeaway: don’t overthink which social media platform to choose because your SMM performance depends on the context and content.
What to publish on social media?
When I first started working as a content creator (I was a sophomore at that time), with my International Studies background, I’d share a new blog post announcement, feature, or partnership updates on every social media channel, thinking that social media channels are meant to share what’s new with the brand. I didn’t have the guts to admit that I would never follow myself on social media.
Here’s another part from the book, with a nice rhyme “Jab, Jab, Jab, the right hook”, yeah:
“No one wants to be interrupted, and no one wants to be sold to. Your story needs to move people’s spirits and build their goodwill, so that when you finally do ask them to buy from you, they feel like you’ve given them so much it would be almost rude to refuse.”
Social Media is supposed to be fun, so share things that you and your followers would like. They should follow your content because they enjoy it not because they feel obligated. We need to become part of the people’s experiences (connection, entertainment, etc.), not try to interrupt that experience that users seek to have, as Gary says.
Information VS entertainment
At first, it’s exciting to follow an account that shares tips and educational content. But as the time passes, and as people who want to spend their time by watching cats, memes — entertaining content on social media, they might get annoyed seeing your wordy how-to tips every time they see your brand name on their feed.
Gary uses the word “infotainment” in the said book:
“Consumers want infotainment, not information. Information is cheap and plentiful; information wrapped in a story, however, is special. Brands need to storytell around their content to make it enticing, not just put it out for passive consumption like a boring platter of cubed cheese.”
I wish there was a formula to know what to publish. But it’s not like 1+1.
But I can give tips:
- Explore each channel’s style: what kind of content do users publish the most? Which works? What kind of filters or specific features make each social media platform popular?
- Research and see what your competitors publish, and what you like the most among them.
- Present your product or service differently on each platform to fit the context.
- Be flexible and creative, and not follow the rules that anyone suggests.
- Imagine, what it would be like if your brand was a person? Create a “personality” for your brand and create a unique brand image.
- Remember, it’s not about you and your brand having social media channels to publish products, brand-related news, but people; share what they love to see, not what you offer.
- Consider “infotainment” and satisfy people’s hunger for information and fun.
- Create emotion in your followers with copy like excitement, laugh, etc.
- It’s great to have discipline but don’t automate your post sharing; be natural.
- Never ever neglect to hire the best creative director, graphic designer, and copywriter you know.
- Before publishing a post, ask people around you to give their thoughts.
And, ask yourself:
- If you were your follower, would you share the post with your friends and followers?
- Would you like (not the act of clicking the like button) your content?
- Does your content have a unique style?
- Does your content represent your brand’s style?
- Is your content style consistent with your brand image?
- In the end, would you follow you?
Also, think about the KPIs for each platform. Likes, comments, and shares are always key metrics, but check also:
- How many people send your post in private messaging? This is what we do when we like a post on Instagram: we send it to our friends, repost them in our stories, and save it to read again or later, etc.
- How many people are building their thoughts on yours with quote-tweets on Twitter? This is what we do when we like a tweet: we retweet, reply, quote-retweet, and add our opinion on it to express ourselves.
- How many people share your posts on their timelines on Facebook? This is because we become picky when it comes to our Facebook profiles, we share only what we love the most.
Be always online
Share posts and stories frequently on your social media channels.
While drafting out this article, there’s one thing that came to my mind.
So, I’m really into psychology. The last book I purchased was “THE PSYCHOLOGY BOOK, Big Ideas Simply Explained”, just to look through whenever I get bored.
There is a concept, “the more you see it, the more you like it” by Robert Zajonc (1923–2008).
This idea points out that without any powerful fancy copywriting words that invite people to buy something, just being always in the eyes of people, we can help them remember us well, and can create a liking for it.
And, this is how “the more you see it, the more you like it” explained:
Being always in front of your followers’ eyes will make them remember you well, and will create a liking towards your brand. But it doesn’t mean that you should post 3 times per day, and automate your social media marketing activities.
What I’m trying to say is that you should create powerful content frequently, wherever it feels natural (doesn’t matter on which platform) that people will follow you, like, really follow your activities regardless of what type of business you’re in.
The ultimate goal: drive conversions
Yes, social media is used for being closer to your customers and building a social presence. But the ultimate goal of every social media marketing activity is to monetize their activities on the platforms — sell more.
Optimize your social media channels, and make the selling journey easy by adding CTA buttons, tagging products, etc.
There are link-in-bio apps like Linktree, LinkinBio, Bio.fm that allow you to create customized domains, add your social media profiles or custom links to one web page.
Now, hold on, I’ll share one cool software that will take your social media accounts to the next level.
Uvodo — a headless eCommerce platform, allows you to turn your Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok into shoppable channels. So that, Uvodo’s PWA ready store lets users shop right on the platform they are on, without leaving their social media experience on their mobile devices.
How? Just place your Uvodo’s store link to your social media profile.
As I said earlier, always, but always put your followers first. Share posts that talk about their interests, do not use social media to explicitly promote your products.
Be your brand’s follower, wear the shoes of your followers to more understand how well your social media content is doing.
That’s all folks. For now.
Next, I’ll give ideas with examples of what you can publish on your social media.