Social Media for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
As our world (or perhaps more accurately, our media) has become more digitized, we’ve seen advancements in advertising that didn’t exist in my younger days. These advancements include the unveiling of consumer behaviors that can be considered intrusive to some and invaluable to others. The ability to target your ad message to highly relevant audiences with little to no waste is critically important to effective marketing.
To do so affordably is the holy grail.
Social media platforms are some of the more transparent (and valuable) advertising vehicles for businesses of all sizes, but they are especially important to small and medium-sized businesses. It can deliver highly relevant audiences and it can do so affordably.
Social media platforms are an efficient means of reaching relevant audiences. For small and medium-sized businesses, executing a sound social media strategy can be a great way to overcome other media advancements that have made it difficult to compete with bigger brands with deeper pockets.
Arguably, social media and its ability to ‘know you’ was one of the first steps in revolutionizing targeting and forging relevancy between audiences and ad messages. More advancements are forthcoming and I personally don’t think the finger-in-the-dam privacy revolution of 2018 that includes the elimination of cookies is the last shot fired in this war.
Regardless of the challenges, a well-structured and well-executed social media campaign that consistently reaches relevant audiences is possible, but not easy.
This means you could waste a lot of time and effort using social media improperly for the purpose of promoting your brand. At ReThinc Advertising, we’re happy to give you some important things to consider BEFORE you embark upon a paid social media advertising campaign.
Here are a few factors for you to consider before you endeavor to engage your customers with a social media campaign:
- Target Audience
Taking time to analyze your brand’s most valuable demographic groups is a good first step in determining which social media platform(s) to utilize in your marketing efforts. With roughly six (6) primary platforms and an almost innumerable amount of secondary ones, knowing who your customer is and what they use is important.In general, younger audiences like newer, video-based platforms that allow for user-generated content (TikTok > Snap) as well as messaging-based SM platforms like WeChat and WhatsApp. Millennials, who are now practically middle-aged at this point, tend to prefer video/image/comment-type platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and yes, TikTok. Older folks have settled in on Facebook with the first adapter types being adaptive to both Instagram and YouTube.Again, these are generalizations and yes, exceptions exist – but for the purposes of this blog, these assumptions are a good starting point for marketers.Here’s a link to demographic information collected by the Pew Research Center. It has a lot of useful information here that helps make my point:
• Pew Research Center Social Media Demographics
- Targeting Capabilities
The protocols in place for identifying specific groups of people on social media platforms have recently been modified. In general terms, you can target audiences demographically, geographically, and contextually. Privacy rules have put barriers up on various categories of targeting. Rightfully so, they are especially prevalent in housing, finance, political issues, and healthcare.Proper targeting techniques are critical to the success of your campaign. The best ads in the world don’t work unless the recipient is relevant to your product/service. Small to medium-sized businesses looking for people who live nearby, are the right age/gender to have interest in your brand, and show interest via their online behavior are all great qualifiers for your audience targeting efforts.
This may sound a bit oversimplified but it’s also important to take into account your business category. Certain industries lend themselves to generating value on social media, while others do not. Again, generalizing but certain industries are not a good fit for social media (see aforementioned categories).Other categories are GREAT for social media: restaurants, travel, events, and retail are all great categories for social media ad campaigns. Creating compelling content that engages your audience is vital.
Video is by far the most influential way to engage a consumer. Sight, sound, color, and motion are not only favored by the recipient but also by the platforms that support both video and still images.Humanizing said content is also valuable. In short, people like seeing other people on social media. It’s a founding principle of why it exists.Creating content (stills or video) can be costly if you ‘overproduce’ your content. One of the great things about social media is that most platforms do not require the level of production that something like television may require. Advancements in video production capabilities are such that great content can be created affordably and perhaps more importantly, in a highly engaging, natural, unstaged, and unedited fashion.Stills on platforms like Facebook and Instagram can still work so when working to establish a beneficial top-of-mind ad strategy, don’t dismiss stills as an easier way to create a favorable cadence with the consumer.
All companies operate with limited resources. Having a designated social media marketer is a great way to engage audiences in both an organic and paid manner. A trained professional will be able to manage campaigns in a manner that would increase efficacy while minimizing expense. It’s always a good idea to have someone who is certified in managing your efforts as anything less can pose a challenge when it comes to generating results while minimizing waste.
Here are a few articles that we’d like to share that will help you to decide what’s right and what would work best for you:
• Forbes Article on Social Media Marketing
• Business.com Article on the Importance of Social Media in Business
• Entrepreneur.com Article on How to Grow Your Business with Social Media
The bottom line is that social media advertising is a great tool for your business, but it’s important that you do it as efficiently as possible in order to maximize the return on your investment. For small and medium-sized businesses, an inflationary economy puts pressure on your operations. Essentially, everything is more expensive while you concurrently try to have your profit keep pace with a significant increase in operational costs. Making sure that your marketing efforts are as efficient as possible is critical to your success.
Want to learn more about the importance of a well-structured website and how they work to attract and retain customers? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 602-284-6722.