When starting out on social media as an entrepreneur or small business, you may find it difficult to capture the potential customers’ attention amid the swirl of established competition. Getting likes, inspiring shares, and building a large social media following can be tough.
Think about the social media campaigns you gravitate to. What moves your needle? Compelling content contains several common denominators, including eye-catching photography, clever copy, proper cadence, and exclusive deals. Execution — not to mention the team and time necessary to thoroughly plan and develop your social media presence — is where entrepreneurs and small businesses most often fall short.
So where do you even start? Should you hire a social media manager, graphic designer, or intern to handle the coordination and creation? The answer depends entirely on you and your business. After all, you are your brand’s face, voice, and personality. Your best bet is assigning specialized people to certain tasks like copy creation and graphic design so that you can “steer” the ship.
To do this, you’ll want to utilize tools that streamline your social media strategy and content creation process. You can even schedule posts to upload automatically on specific dates and times. Utilizing artificial intelligence can have a huge impact on helping you create social posts that drive customer engagement over time. However, you still have to put the work in.
The Challenges in Building an Online Community
Executing a comprehensive social media marketing strategy is tough. Many grandiose ideas and spectacular visions fizzle under the pressure to constantly produce content, and successful formulas are delicate and difficult to maintain. Posting too often or not enough, engaging at the wrong times, not striving for engagement, and failing to add value are just a few factors that can ruin your efforts.
Plus, many small- and medium-sized businesses tend to forget that they’re producing content for an audience, not themselves. To woo potential customers to your social media platforms (and your brand), you have to meet them where they are and give them something valuable: an insight, a deal, and/or a reason to stay engaged.
Despite these challenges, building an online community around your brand is easier than ever before, especially with Facebook’s recent focus on its group’s features. The social media giant has spent more than half a billion dollars on upgrading groups. Now, administrators can more effectively manage their communities and small business owners can monetize their online events by charging customers for attending virtual seminars and workshops.
With the majority of the people quarantining or working remotely, online communities are the new hangouts. This provides businesses with a unique opportunity to capture engagement like never before. For example, my company’s Facebook group, Content Masters for HelloWoofy.com customers, has become a hub for startups, entrepreneurs, and SMBs that are learning to utilize social media. If you can create a positive place to promote educational content and build up your target audience, you’ll ace the social media game.
Successful Social Media Campaigns
Just keep in mind that Facebook is only one of countless avenues to success. Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms offer the similar potential for engaging customers. Sony’s PlayStation brand, for example, leveraged a solid content and social media marketing strategy to build a loyal following on Twitter. It’s now the most-followed brand on the platform, with a staggering 19.1 million fans (and counting). PlayStation has achieved this feat by churning out compelling, high-quality content in the form of streaming events, gaming footage, and trailers for upcoming game releases.
International watch manufacturer Daniel Wellington is another good example of a company that used its social media marketing strategy to build brand advocacy and distinguish itself in a crowded industry. The brand’s Instagram channel is a stunning mix of fashion, food, and photography that allows followers to envision how a Daniel Wellington watch might improve or enhance their daily lives.
In the end, social media users want to be educated, entertained and inspired. Companies that facilitate these interactions via social media campaigns will reap the benefits, including increased website traffic, referrals, leads, sales, and customer data. Just think about what your audience would like to see. They’re the ones you need to impress!
How To Build a Social Media Following
It’ll be important to use online platforms to capitalize on customer engagement moving forward. Here’s how you can cut through the social media clutter to stand out among the crowd:
Nothing resonates with potential buyers like reviews, testimonials, and success stories from those who already love your product or service. Unfortunately, most people aren’t motivated to share their brand experiences unless their impressions are negative. To prompt more positive reviews, reach out directly to your followers, and ask them to review your brand in exchange for a coupon or “reward.” This will help you organically build a community around your brand.
As part of the process, learn about your customer base and the platforms they prefer. Focus on those channels when spreading the word about your latest product offerings, special deals, company updates, and other useful information. Don’t feel like you need to be on everything. You have many established and emerging platforms to choose from, so pinpoint which two or three are the most effective and put all of your energy into those. You can always modify your approach once you have some data to learn from.
2. Use Technology and Tools To Your Advantage
Automate the storytelling. Use tools to help you craft amazing content and schedule posts so that you don’t have to get in the weeds. Focus on running your business and find ways to lessen the strain on your team. The easier you can make the content creation process, the easier it’ll be to maintain a regular cadence.
Third-party content creation service providers can take care of cumbersome social media tasks like social listening, news aggregation, and multiplatform posting. You can also schedule posts out on specific platforms like Facebook and free up your team’s capacity for more pressing priorities. And there’s nothing wrong with consulting peers or copying the competition. Borrow ideas and tactics from the best and put your own spin on things.
3. Brand Absolutely Everything
Repetition works. That’s why we have to say our names several times when introducing ourselves to people. Make sure to include brand elements in every graphic you share, even if it’s as simple as using specific colors or sticking to a designated set of emojis. Say your name, use your logo, and promote your catchphrases often. Repetition works. (See?)
The volume of data consumers processes each day is mind-boggling. You’ll stand out better when you pair the right messaging with stunning imagery. For example, tweets are shared 1.5 times more often when they contain pictures. Figure out your brand’s “look” and infuse it into every post you create. After a while, consumers will be able to identify your company each time they come across your content.
Ultimately, entrepreneurs and small businesses have a huge advantage right now when serving their local communities. Consumers need connection and togetherness during this pandemic, and giant corporations often seem distant and impersonal. With the right technology, a positive mindset, and a proper plan, startups, and SMBs can create close-knit communities and drive social media engagement.
What’s your most memorable social media experience? Please let us know in the comments below!
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