Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to social media for SMEs
 [NOVEMBER 2022]

Social Media Marketing

social media are one of the fundamental building blocks of any self-respecting communication strategy. In 2022, it is simply unthinkable to do business without including the use of at least one of the most widely used social sharing platforms to bring success to one's Social media marketing for online business.

The reality is there for all to see.

Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have literally taken off in recent years. The number of active users on social networks worldwide to date is nearly 5 billion (Source: Statesman)

That's right, we're talking about more than half of the world's population spending an average of 2.5 hours a day online (but in reality we know it's many more).

What does this mean?

That social media has become one of the main squares of virtual communication (in the most crowded one, to be precise). It means that your audience gathers here, between sharing a video on Facebook and posting a story on Instagram.

Not being there means giving up the opportunity to connect directly with your audience, listen to them and intercept their needs.

It also means failing in what is considered one of the pillar activities of the web marketing and thus forego the intent to build dialogue and trust that could help you sell your products or services more easily in the future.

This is why every brand should take care of its presence and image using Appropriate social media marketing strategies. It is not enough to create a Facebook page and update it from time to time with meager, boring posts without a logical thread. Doing so will achieve nothing at all.

Building good engagement and a large community is the first step to improving your sales strategy and increasing conversions. But doing so requires consistency, commitment and impeccable planning. And performance monitoring, too.

In short, you have to do things with your head if you want to get results.

Every day dozens of entrepreneurs, freelancers, small and large companies contact me because they do not know where to start building the foundation of their authority on the web. That's why I decided to write this mega guide to using social media for business.

In the next few chapters I will give you some practical tips on how to set up from scratch a winning social media marketing strategy that is right for your brand.

I'll explain which types of posts work and which don't, teach you how to monitor the performance of paid ads, and point out a couple of online tools you can use to make your job easier.

I put in the theory, but then the practice is up to you alone. Remember: consistency, commitment and planning. This is the key to a successful social strategy.

Are you ready? Then let's get started.

5 mistakes not to make in social media marketing

When it comes to social media, it is good to never take anything for granted. It only takes one hasty or inappropriate response given to a user to ruin your entire strategy (or worse yet, your reputation).

Before posting any content on your Facebook page, be careful to avoid these 5 mistakes:

#1 Writing boring and too short posts

Here, this is the first rule to observe in social media marketing and one that you should never forget. Think of each post as the ideal opportunity to tell your audience something about you, to let them enter your world little by little. This technique has a specific name: it is called storytelling.

You are a dentist affirmed? Then talk about the tools you use as you work. Explain to people who don't know them why they are the best on the market and why you chose to rely on that particular brand. You can also write a funny post with all the stereotypes related to the fear of the dentist, perhaps giving some tips on how to overcome it. 

It goes without saying that topics like this cannot be exhausted in two lines. The narrative must follow a certain structure to be effective: it starts with a captivating premise that succeeds in immediately engaging the reader and thus makes him or her want to find out the rest of the story.

It is essential to find a personal style and zero in on the right tone of voice to speak to your audience. Don't be afraid to show your personality to the community, both in your texts and in the graphics of your posts. It is one of the elements that will help make you recognizable and stand out from the crowd.

Storytelling is the key that will allow you to open the hearts of your audience and stay there as long as possible.

#2 Thinking only of selling

Wrong, so wrong. Now anyone can recognize an advertisement from a distance. We are constantly bombarded with promotions and propaganda of all kinds, and do you know what the truth is?

That we can't take it anymore. That's why we've become so good at dodging advertisements, which don't appeal to anyone anymore.

So you can't expect to base your entire social strategy on a premise like that. I know, you are here to sell and not to entertain your potential customers. But if you want to increase conversions, you must first build your authority on the Web and give your audience a reason to trust you.

And you're not going to succeed if you keep nagging everyone with discounts, 3x2s and "today-only deals." That's why it's critical to vary the type of posting you do on social.

Alternate motivational posts with those aimed at promoting a product or service, and keep an eye on your audience's response to each stimulus to adjust your strategy accordingly.

#3 Forgetting the Call to Action.

Never, ever, ever publish a post without including a call to action final. It is proven that publications for their own sake fail to create sufficient engagement in users, who simply move on without even interacting with the post.

What you need to do is stimulate a two-way conversation. Ask them what they think about what you just wrote, or how they would act in a specific situation (clearly inherent in the post you published).

Even asking to join the newsletter or to contact you for more information are perfect call-to-actions to engage your audience more.

The point of CTAs is to push the user to take an action, and thus to take the relationship you are building to the next level. A trivial request for information can in fact turn into a quote, which can in turn become a sale.

Be clear, concise and polite in the wording of your CTAs, otherwise you will achieve the opposite effect: driving your users away even more.

#4 Do not respond to user comments or questions

There should be no need to specify this, but I want to because every day I come across Facebook pages or Instagram accounts full of unanswered comments or questions that have fallen on deaf ears.

You know what they say, don't you?

To ask is lawful, to answer is courteous. Well, this principle also holds true in the social world. In fact, it perhaps takes on even more importance than in real life. Yes, because we hardly play dumb to a question asked when we are face to face with someone. We would immediately be taken for crazy, or rude.

Here, why then do we feel free not to answer questions or requests posed via social media?

Perhaps out of fear, uncertainty, or simply forgetfulness. Whatever the motivation, I inform you that it is not acceptable.

As I mentioned earlier, communication on social must be a two-way street. It is the only way for your strategy to work and for people to get to know and trust you.

Avoiding to respond, or not being able to deal with negative criticism in public, is highly counterproductive.

#5 Publishing in the wild.

There is one tool that can make the difference between amateur social media management and more professional planning: I am referring to the editorial plan.

This is the very first step you need to take to build your image on the Web, to have a clear idea of the goals you want to pursue with your communication and the path you need to take to achieve them.

On social media there is no room for improvisation, not if you want to use it to promote your business. Therefore, you need to spend the necessary time to create the plan and editorial calendar, which includes several steps:

  • - The identification of the target and the tone of voice, as well as goals to be achieved.
  • - The topics you plan to talk about (divided by category).
  • - The channels on which you intend to promote your communication.
  • - The scheduling of individual posts (which can be weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually).

Putting everything down on paper right away helps you clear your head about the moves you need to make throughout the year.

Let's take an example: if you plan to sell a certain service from March 2023, you will need to start promoting it at least a couple of months earlier.

Knowing this in advance allows you to better plan the creation of the content and advertisements needed to publicize your product, so you can reach your goal effortlessly.

I firmly believe that no professional can afford to ignore the compilation of the editorial plan.

The key to a successful strategy based on social media marketing is hidden right there.

The 4 Post Framework, my winning strategy

Okay, so far we have seen what mistakes not to make when it comes to posting on social media. What, on the other hand, are the best practices That one should adopt to better manage social media communication?

There are several strategies, but I have chosen one that has managed to bring me excellent results over time. I am talking about the 4 Post Framework.

This technique involves posting four times a day, at different times of the day, on at least 3 different social channels.

But what are the advantages of such an approach? It is quickly stated:

Increased coverage

Facebook will continue to show your posts to people you've already interacted with, but it will also begin to broaden the audience gradually so that more people see them.

Why? Because the social's algorithm tends to reward those who consistently post content on their page. Videos, stories, polls and images allow users to stay on Facebook as long as possible (generating more revenue through advertising), so the platform has every interest in promoting them.

High involvement

Publishing lots of posts helps people get used to your tone of voice and communication style. They will begin to get to know you more and more, just as happens when you meet someone for the first time.

What you are doing is laying the foundation for building a relationship of mutual trust, which will allow you to effortlessly increase your conversion rate at the right time.

Ability to monetize

We've said it before, all efforts put into social media basically serve one purpose, which is to sell our products or services. But keep in mind that monetization is the last step in the process, first you need to prioritize building a good relationship with your audience.

As you say, you don't know where to pull content from to produce 4 different posts a day? Then go back to the previous paragraph and re-read the part about the editorial plan well, because the answer you are looking for is right there.

How does the 4 post Framework work

I know you are curious about how this method works, so I'll get straight to the point. To get good results with the 4 Post Framework, you first need to:

#1 Define the objectives and target audience of the communication

This is the basis of any strategy. Do you want to increase the database of subscribers to your newsletter? Or do you need to increase traffic to the latest landing page you have created? Different goals require different languages and messages; you can't expect to adopt the same type of communication for all your needs, otherwise you risk making a big hole in the water.

That is why it is essential to know your audience before you start planning any strategy. I recommend drawing up a portrait of your buyer persona, that is, the ideal customer you wish to have. Give him a name, then try to glean all his characteristics and interests: how old he is, what his degree is, what sports he likes to play, what movies move him, and what his favorite dishes are.

Platforms such as Facebook greatly facilitate this task, and it is all thanks to the very high level of user profiling.

#2 Laying out an editorial plan

Once the target audience has been identified, the actual communication strategy needs to be planned.

First, make an outline of all the days of the week and define the topics you want to cover (these will be your categories). Then define the type of post you would like to publish (e.g., informative, in-depth, interview, etc.) and jot down as many ideas as you can think of.

After that, make a nice selection and, with your remaining material, plan your content calendar for at least the next 6 months. I recommend that you create at least three different columns, within which you will collect all the posts you write.

#3 Publish posts

This framework requires the publication of 4 posts per day (one for each category) on at least 3 social channels, in different time slots.

The first at 9 a.m., the second at 12 noon, the third at 4 p.m. and the last at 9 p.m., so as to preside over the entire day and achieve as much exposure as possible. Remember, the goal is to show your content to more and more people to increase online visibility.

#4 Boost the best

This is the last step in the process, and it consists of sponsoring the best post going back two days with a minimum budget of €5.00 per day. You do not have to publish it again, but simply highlight it through the appropriate function available on Facebook.

Why am I referring to the best post from two days earlier? Because 48 hours is the minimum amount of time it takes to figure out whether or not a piece of content works, and therefore whether it is worth investing money to sponsor it.

Managing social media in a professional manner is not an easy task. I won't deny you that it takes a lot of effort and time to get worthwhile results, but I assure you that the initial effort will pay off.

The more people you can engage, the more visibility you will give your brand. Fans will increase, as will contacts, inquiries, phone calls and quotes. Whatever strategy you choose to adopt, be sure to carry it out consistently and consistently.

If you are not willing to invest so much energy in understanding and managing social, I suggest you give up now. Avoid wasting precious time to post just one article a month, I already anticipate that it will be completely useless.

Don't forget that the ultimate goal of the 4 post framework is to create a solid fanbase around your brand, first on social and then on your own platforms (such as your website, blog, landing pages, e-commerce).

Start Me Hub Ltd. |®

Valerio Fioretti is the web marketing specialist for small and medium-sized enterprises. Bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer and business coach.

Start Me Hub Ltd. is a registered publishing house.
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