Though social media may have once seemed like just a fad, the sheer number of people participating in these online social platforms indicates otherwise. Out of just over 3 billion active internet users, nearly 2.1 billion have social media accounts … that’s a whopping 70%!
The increasing popularity of social media has become a game-changer for businesses who want to build a stronger connection with leads and customers. In fact, according to an AdWeek study, 88% of companies are now using social media for marketing purposes.
Oftentimes, local businesses delay putting together a social media marketing strategy because they do not understand how it works or realize its impact (because simply creating a Facebook page is not enough). This digital marketing channel has quickly become a must-have for local businesses who want to remain competitive: it can help increase leads, boost website visits and foot traffic, and enhance customer retention efforts.
Why Social Media for Local Business is Important
Local businesses often find it difficult to compete with bigger, national brands because large companies typically have larger marketing budgets, which allow them to reach more customers. However, social media marketing is changing the way that local businesses compete by allowing them to attract and maintain new local customers effectively and affordably. Local businesses can work to target local customers with social media advertising while also listening to, learning from, and connecting with their current customers.
Top Social Media Strategies for Local Businesses
The same social media strategies that work for bigger businesses may not have the same effect for small businesses who are trying to reach smaller, more defined local audiences. Here are some effective strategies that local businesses can use to attract and nurture new customers:
Deliver targeted ad content such as coupons, discounts, sales or other promotions to local consumers.With sophisticated targeting features, Facebook can help you narrow down your audience by location as well as other features like interests, industry, or job title. This helps you maximize your ad dollars by ensuring that those who are seeing your ad are those who will most likely find your product helpful.
Share your blog posts, news, and any other company information with your followers across channels.Whenever you publish new content or have something to share with your followers, post it to your social media channels. This helps you stay top-of-mind for customers who engage with you online.
Start a conversation with your customers to learn more about their greatest likes, dislikes, and challenges. Rather than just posting ads to your social media pages, make sure that you are engaging with your customers to learn more about what drives them. Social media is a great channel for gaining new insights and providing quality customer service.
With all the ways that social media can help local businesses build better connections with customers within their community, it’s clear this digital tactic has become more than just a nice-to-have element of your marketing plan, where you can check off a box for having it done. Those who do not work to build a social media presence could very well be losing out on important opportunities to start a conversation with new customers and nurture relationships with existing customers. Let us help you get started with or refine your social media.
In order to make the most of a limited budget, you need to be strategic. If you want to create successful digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic to your site and increase sales, you need to identify and understand your target audience. Though you may have an idea of the type of customer you would like to attract, without formally defining your target market, there is a good chance that many of your marketing efforts will fall flat.
Before you can begin to develop effective digital marketing campaigns, you need to define your target audience and identify the best tactics for reaching it. Below, we’ll discuss tips that for finding and engaging your target audience.
How to Define and Identify the Target Audience
Clearly defining who you are trying to reach is an important first step in developing a successful content marketing plan that is both strategic and efficient. Here are a few ways to define your audience.
1. Get insight from your current customers.
One of the best ways to better understand your ideal customer is to take a close look at your current customers. Review customer data that you have collected over time to better understand demographic information like age, gender, and marital status. Then, go one step further by surveying your customers to find out more about their likes, dislikes, habits, fears, and challenges. This will give you more insight into what you find most important, which will help to tailor your message to this audience.
2. Develop detailed, data-driven buyer personas.
Once you’ve gathered some insight from your current customer base, it’s time to create buyer personas. These are profiles of your ideal customers, which contain demographic information as well as a more in-depth description of what these consumers need and what you care about. Buyer personas will help drive strategy for your digital marketing campaigns.
After you’ve worked to identify the target audience, what your biggest challenges are, and what value you can provide them, it’s time to learn more about where they are and how to reach them. Here are a few ways to engage your audience.
3. Utilize search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is a must-have for any business that wants to compete in the digital marketplace. By producing content that emphasizes keywords, phrases, and topics relevant to your industry, you can work to rank higher in organic search results, making it easier for your target market to find your business.
Social media is an excellent platform for reaching local and global audiences. With sophisticated targeting features on social media platforms like Facebook, you can ensure your content is seen by your target audience.
More and more consumers are engaging with and searching for brands on their mobile devices. Not only is it vital for you to have a mobile-friendly website, but these companies can also take advantage of mobile marketing opportunities that use geo-targeting and other features to reach mobile customers.
We can help!
Are you ready to discover your target audience and connect with them in innovative, engaging ways? We’ve got the insight, strategy, and tactics you need to reach them in meaningful ways. Download our Digital Trends whitepaper to learn more about inspiring consumers to take action. You can also contact us online or call 888.573.4773.
5 Best Practices for Effective Social Media Marketing
Using social media for your business is an effective way to engage your leads and customers by distributing interesting content—but a great strategy takes a lot of thought and planning. With the proliferation of businesses making news headlines because of social media blunders, it’s crucial to set yourself up for success from the get-go.
Below, we’ve listed five social media marketing best practices that will help your business see social success.
Know your platform(s)
Effective social media marketing starts with understanding the platforms you’re using. Who are you targeting through which social channel and what types of content are they expecting to see? Knowing the ins and outs of the platforms you’re using will help you better create social content that engages your audience.
Create a social media guide
Creating a social media guide that outlines your social strategy for each platform will help keep your objectives clear and your team focused. In the guide, include brand voice requirements and recommended types of posts, as well as guidelines on posting frequency and hashtag usage.
Incorporate visuals into your posts
Including a high-quality image in your social media post is the easiest way to increase its chances of being viewed and shared by users. In fact, Social Media Examiner reports that photos on Facebook have an 87% interaction rate from fans, and adding a photo to a tweet can boost retweets by 35%. For more engagement, include high-quality videos or photos in your posts whenever possible.
Use a content calendar
Content calendars are a must for effective social media marketing. Use a content calendar to help your entire team keep track of the content being distributed across social sites at any given time.
Follow the 70/20/10 rule
Lastly, we recommend following the 70/20/10 rule. The rule states that 70 percent of your posts should be brand- and business-building, 20 percent of your posts should be shared from other sources, and 10 percent of your posts can be self-promotional. Following the 70/20/10 rule will ensure that you’re posting varied content that keeps your audience’s interest piqued.
If you’re looking for assistance creating an effective social marketing strategy for your business, contact us today at USA TODAY NETWORK TENNESSEE.
Integrating your search and social marketing efforts can help you multiply results: Insights from the Marin Software white paper
Most marketing directors today have learned the power of search engine marketing and social media marketing. Unfortunately, while most of them understand the return on investment that these two channels can offer, many of them continue to operate both channels separately from one another. Integrating the two channels into a single marketing platform can drive even higher ROI by giving a complete 360-degree view of the customer and better identifying potential high-value customers.
That’s the message behind “The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising: A Best Practices Guide for Cross-Channel Marketing.” This new white paper, published by Marin Software, argues that SEM and social media marketing operate differently from one another, play a different role in the buyer journey and are much more effective when used in combination with one another.
According to the white paper, marketing efforts suffer when different channels are siloed-off from one another. Today, marketing must be all about the customer, instead of being about the channel used to reach the customer. Since search engine marketing and social media marketing provide different insights about the customer, the white paper argues that the two channels should be combined into something that can give a complete view of the customer.
Search can tell a marketer what a customer wants
Social can tell a marketer who a customer is
When examined separately, these two insights don’t mean very much. However, when search and social are combined, giving an integrated view of who a customer is and what their buying intentions are, marketers have a much clearer perspective on how to best target that customer.
The benefits of marketing channel integration don’t stop with greater customer insight. It also helps ensure that marketing messages and promotions are clear and consistent across all channels. As the Marin Software white paper points out, when search and social channels operate separately from one another, messages can get muddled.
For example, marketers in the search silo may be sending customers a message of “high quality,” while marketers in the social silo are sending a message of “low price.” Integrating the two silos ensures that both search and social will be sending customers consistent messaging, which helps increase the likelihood that customers will identify with the message and find the company trustworthy.
The white paper also points out that search marketing and social marketing should not function separately from one another because they both serve a different purpose in the customer lifecycle. For instance, many users click social ads early on in their buyer life cycles. When they eventually make a purchase, those social ads will only be attributed as a factor in their conversion if the social channel is integrated with the search channel.
The final reason that integrating search and social together is perhaps the most powerful one of all: integration leads to higher marketing ROI. A survey performed by Marin as part of the white paper demonstrates that customers who interact with both social and search ads from a company are far more likely to purchase from that company than customers who only interact with search ads or only interact with social ads. In addition, customers who interacted with both search and social ads drove significantly higher revenue than customers who interacted with only a single channel.
What do these results mean for marketers? According to the Marin white paper, they illustrate the fact that customers are more likely to do business with a company if that company’s messaging is reinforced over multiple channels, while marketers are more likely to make informed decisions about how to optimize marketing resources when they have a clear view of a customer’s complete buying journey over multiple channels.
If you are like many business owners in the greater Nashville area, you know that Facebook is becoming more important to your business marketing plan. But you might be asking: “Why should my business care about advertising on Facebook?”
3 out of 4 internet users are active on Facebook
128 million are daily active users in US
Piqued your curiosity? Join me as I talk about the four dimensions of social marketing (connect, engage, influence and integrate) and how Facebook is a great utensil to merge them.
Connecting with customers is a great way to stay top-of-mind and find and reach your target audience with precision. Facebook has more information about your target audience than any other media outlet. Once your company has 30 likes, it receives the Insights dashboard that hosts a plethora of awesome metrics for you to learn more about your audience and who is connecting with your business. You can use this information to find more people just like them.
Facebook is obviously a social place, this means users are much more engaged with content viewed during their time spent on the site. Each Facebook user is subject to seeing 1500 pieces of content per visit found in their news feed, photo gallery, friends’ profiles or company profiles. Your business can advertise within these pieces of content. Ads within the news feed are 2x bigger than an average island ad (300×250). Page post ads get 8x more engagement than other ad positions. The click-through rate on Facebook ads is .20% for retail. Average display advertising click-through rates are .03-.05%. Engage your target audience by putting your business in front of them with a snappy ad asking them to join a contest or take advantage of a sale.
Word of mouth advertising is more powerful and authentic. 92% of people trust opinions of their friends and family while only 47% trust traditional media. When users on the site like a company or share an ad, their friends and family see that interaction and are more likely to follow suit. Facebook stimulates better ad recall and awareness. Users on Facebook are more likely to remember and recognize ads they see because they are engaged with the site. In a survey done on Facebook campaigns, research found 70% of campaigns had 3x the return of ad spend.
Tie your advertising into your Facebook apps. This strategy will help develop a personalized social experience for users. Create a “Like” or “Contest” Facebook landing page that coincides with your advertising and also allows for lead generation. You can also monitor and measure the metrics for those apps to find another level of success for your ads.
Facebook is a powerful advertising tool. Your business will only benefit from using it. It can be a steep mountain to climb, so if you’re lost on where and how to start…..contact us. USA TODAY NETWORK TENNESSEE has experts that can guide you to the summit. Fill out our contact us formand you’ll be one step closer to the top!
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