Entrepreneurs: Find and Reach Customers With The Right Social Media Strategy
These days, almost everyone is on social media – and that includes your current and potential customers. The percentage of adults who use at least one social media platform has increased by 58% in the last 12 years, from 11% in 2006 to 69% in 2018, according to research conducted by SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses. Businesses large and small have realized that they need to be where their customers are, with 77% of small business owners reporting that they use social media. So, how should entrepreneurs go about creating an effective social media marketing campaign? The first step is finding your target audience with the right social media strategy.
How do I get noticed by the right people?
Great marketing can’t be effective if it’s not reaching the right people, which is why it’s important to consider which social media sites your target consumers are using. YouTube is the most popular social media channel across the widest range of ages. According to Pew Research Center, 94% of 18-24 year olds currently use YouTube, in addition to nearly three quarters of U.S. adults. Facebook comes in a close second, with 80% of 18-49-year olds and 55% of 50+ year olds using the platform.
Younger consumers are much more likely to use Instagram and Twitter than are adults over age 30. The same research from Pew found that Instagram is used by 71% of 18-24-year olds, followed by only 53% of 25-29-year-olds. That number drops to 16% among people over age 50. Twitter followed a similar downward trend.
Less widely used social media platforms are helpful for targeting more specific demographics. For example, 50% of college graduates use the career networking site LinkedIn, and 41% of women report using Pinterest.
How can social media help my business?
An understanding of who your customers are, and where they spend their time online, is crucial to getting your message across. Now that you know where to find them, what’s next?
Social media platforms enable businesses to increase their brand awareness at an unprecedented rate, when done effectively. In fact, 44% of local businesses say social media helps generate brand awareness. By posting, liking, sharing and commenting on content in a consistent manner, businesses can increase their brand’s public exposure and interact with consumers in more creative and personal ways.
New businesses can also increase their brand awareness by joining industry-focused social media groups. Startup business owners across the country reported that the most successful marketing tactics directly engage with prospective customers.
Social media is also a useful tool for improving your customer service. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter provide a constant flow of consumer opinions and feedback, which businesses can use to improve their product or service and respond to any complaints in a timely manner. A recent report found that 59% of Americans think customer service through social media makes it easier to resolve an issue. Handling customer concerns quickly, considerately and consistently sends a public message that your business cares about its customers.
Now that you’ve gotten your customer base familiar with your brand, the final step is generating revenue. Whether you opt for a paid campaign, or stick to a free approach, using social media can help your business tremendously. For example, with the knowledge that 50% of college graduates use career networking site LinkedIn, you may choose to prioritize that platform and use it to promote more niche-specific messaging. Here are 40 ideas for creating new and fresh social media content for your business: https://www.score.org/blog/40-ideas-social-media-content
If you opt for a paid social media campaign, you have the potential to greatly increase the number of times your advertisement is seen, and learn a lot more about the users who are engaging with your content. Most social media packages for small business can help you boost your social media presence.
Looking for More Help With Your Social Media Strategy?
Business owners looking to take a deeper dive into improving their social media marketing will benefit from connecting with a mentor. Prevailing research, including our recent Megaphone of Main Street report have found that entrepreneurs benefit from the support of a business mentor. Mentor-supported entrepreneurs are five times more likely to start a business, and 87% are still in business after one year (in comparison to 75% of those without a mentor.)
Connect with a free, expert SCORE mentor today for help getting started with your social media marketing plan.
This guest post was authored by Betsy Dougert
Betsy Dougert currently serves as Vice President of External Relations for SCORE, where she is responsible for national public relations, government relations and sponsors. Her ten years of experience in marketing and communications have focused on building brand awareness and engaging stakeholders through storytelling at educational institutions and non-profits. She earned her master’s degree in strategic communications with a certificate in public relations from Villanova University, and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.