Social Media Marketing

The ultimate guide to social media for SMEs

Social Media Marketing

social media are one of the fundamental building blocks of any self-respecting communication strategy. In 2019, 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 your 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. It is estimated that the number of active users on social networks worldwide will exceed 3 billion by 2021. That's right, we're talking about a third of the world's population spending an average of 2.5 hours a day online (but we actually 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 you post any content on your Facebook page, I recommend that you keep these 5 simple tips in mind:

#1 Ban on 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.

Are you an established dentist? Then talk about the instruments 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 then 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 about the Call to Action.

Never, ever publish a post without including a final call-to-action. 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).

Asking them to sign up for your newsletter or contact you for more information are also perfect call-to-actions to engage your audience more.

The point of CTAs is to push the user to take an action, and thus 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 users' 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 holds true in the social world as well. In fact, perhaps it 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:

  • - Identifying the target audience and tone of voice, as well as the 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 starting in September 2019, you will need to start promoting it at least a couple of months in advance.

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.

Start Me Hub Ltd. |®

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

Start Me Hub Ltd. is a registered publishing house.
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