Once you are ready to launch your business, it’s time to build an online social media presence. Statistics show that 94% of digital consumers have social media accounts, and they spend an average of just over 2 hours every day on social media! Being active on social media allows you to reach these potential customers, in Africa and all over the world.
If you post to your social media accounts regularly, your brand name will become recognized, your business will become more popular, and people will want to buy your products or services. The most popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Here are some social media marketing tips to help get you started:
Create a social media marketing strategy
Before you open any accounts, or post any content, develop a strategy that will create a buzz about your new product or service. To do this, you should first monitor your target audience. Find out:
- What social media platforms they use
- What type of content they look at (blog posts, videos…)
- What their interests are
For example, if your audience likes to read blog posts on Facebook, your strategy should involve creating interesting blog content and sharing it on your Facebook account.
Once you’ve decided which platforms and what type of content would be best, you need to decide what your main goals are. Goals might include:
- Building brand awareness – the more your post content and engage with social media users, the more your brand name will become recognizable and your popularity will grow.
- Driving traffic to your website or blog – you can post content that links to your blog or website, to get more traffic.
- Getting your content shared – when you post to social media, other people might share your content, and this in turn will act as free advertising for your business.
- Getting new customers – this is the ultimate goal.
After deciding what your main goals are, it’s finally time to come up with some ideas to meet them, such as:
- Creating competitions and special offers to draw in customers. On Facebook, this can include competitions that users can enter by sharing or liking your content. When a user shares your content, their friends will see it too, so your audience will grow.
- Using catchy taglines or phrases. On Twitter and Instagram, use hashtags. Users can search content using the hashtag, so if you include relevant hashtags, you’ll come up in search results.
- Posting useful content. If you provide tips and advice to your customers, they’ll see that you genuinely want to help them and they will trust your brand. For example, if you have a travel-related business, post tips on how to pack for a vacation.
- Including customer reviews to show your business is trustworthy. If past customers enjoyed your product or service, make sure to ask them to leave a review on your social media page. Positive feedback is a great way to advertise your business.
- Staying consistent and focus on quality. You should develop a plan as to when you will post content to your accounts, and stick to it. It’s recommended to post to Facebook and LinkedIn about once a day. When it comes to Twitter, you should tweet between three and five times per day. Any more, and you’re at risk of spamming your followers. Any less, and they may lose interest. Keep posts high quality, ensuring each one gives across an important message about your brand.
Choose ideas that are unique - don’t be afraid of being different. The more excitement you generate, the more people will want to spread the word about your product or service.
How to get started on a minimal budget
When you are launching a startup, you need to keep your expenses low, but at the same time you don’t want to hold your business back. Customers need to know about your product or service in order to buy from you and for you to start making money.
Social media is a great solution, as most social media features don’t cost anything. Your first step to building your social media presences is to create accounts for your business on a few popular social media platforms. Remember, this is completely free.
How many accounts you should open depends on how much time you have to manage them. You’ll want to stay active on every account, to keep your customers interested, so if your time is limited, pick one or two.
Facebook is the most-used social media platform, so creating a Facebook page should be a priority.
If you do have some of your budget allocated to social media marketing, you can do paid advertising. Here are some tips for creating paid Facebook ads using Facebook’s Ads Manager:
- Concentrate on retargeting a specific audience, such as your email list or website visitors. On Facebook, you can choose a ‘lookalike audience’ which includes people similar to those who already like your page. Focusing on a narrow audience keeps costs down and maximizes chances of success.
- Set your budget. Ads are pay per click – you decide your budget based on the most you want to spend for one click on your ad. Facebook will suggest a recommended bid range. Start low, and if you don’t get results, slowly increase your bids.
- Create multiple versions of each ad, so you can test them and then use the most effective one.
- Use carousel ads. When creating your ad set, choose carousel ads. These allow you to advertise multiple products or services in one place.
How to build a community
For your social media marketing strategy to be effective, you’ll need to build a community of followers. This takes time, but is a worthwhile investment if you want to get your brand name out there in the world. Here are some ways to build a community:
- Invite existing customers to “Like” your page, such as those who were involved in the testing stages of your product or service.
- Follow influencers. On Twitter, you can follow people who are influential in your industry and mention them in your tweets. On Facebook, you can add influencers as friends. This creates visibility for your brand.
- Network with influencers. Can you send any freebies to high profile social media users in your industry? If an influencer mentions your product or service, it will promote your business to thousands of relevant followers.
- Encourage people to share your content with their friends.
- Engage with social media users – get involved in relevant discussions and create conversations. Comment, share, and like other people’s relevant content to develop a relationship with potential customers. Don’t just promote your business - people like to develop a personal connection.
Maintaining an effective social media presence takes time and effort. Once you’re all set up, keep posting consistently and look out for feedback constantly. In time, your efforts will pay off as your online presence grows and you gain more customers.
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