The rate at which social media is evolving can be quite daunting, especially for business owners who can’t keep up with its pace.

The fact of the matter is that social media is crucial to a business’s marketing strategy – whether you are a small spaza shop or a multi-national company, these platforms will help to raise your brand’s awareness, to connect with your customers and to increase your sales and leads.

According to Statista.com, it is estimated that there will be 2.77 billion social media users worldwide in 2019 – social media is here to stay.

We’ve put together a few tips on how to start when you don’t know where to start:

Create a social media strategy. You need to decide what you want to get out of social media in the long run – do you want to attract new customers or, do you want to reconnect and keep up to date with existing customers? By keeping your strategy specific, you’ll be able to determine which social media platforms would work best for your business.

Raise your brand’s awareness. How do you expect to attract customers if they aren’t aware of your business? Social media will boost your visibility, assisting you in reaching a wider audience. In order to build awareness, establish who your target audience is.

Each social media platform is a search engine of sorts which makes it easier for you to attract your target audience with very little effort. Be conversational by using the various platforms’ search functions to suss out the users’ propensity to your chosen topics. If you’ve done your research properly, you shouldn’t need to maintain a profile across all platforms – which can become time consuming; choose one or two sites, by focussing primarily on these connections.

Communicate authority regularly. Nowadays, savvy-customers are more selective about which businesses they support. We are all guilty of Googling a business and reading the reviews on social media before engaging. You want to make a positive first impression – show them that your business is established, trustworthy and approachable by keeping your platforms up to date with something as simple as posting your customers positive feedback or sharing a photo posted online showing your product in a positive light. Small efforts like these will rapidly build your business’s reputation online.

Encourage engagement. There’s no point having an online presence if you don’t engage with your customers. Social media platforms are constantly releasing new and fun features which can work to your advantage. Step outside of your comfort zone and experiment every now and then to determine your audience’s preferences. Instagram, for example, offers ‘Instagram Stories’ – its as simple as taking a quick, fun video of the behind-the-scenes in your office and uploading it to your account from your smart phone.

Always provide support. There is nothing more frustrating than enquiring with a business online or lodging a complaint and you do not receive feedback. It is vitally important that you build your reputation as a responsive, efficient brand by offering support through your social media channels. Most business owners do not have the time to monitor their social media pages all day, every day. You can download the social media app on your smart phone and enable the notifications to push through automatically – this is one way of keeping on top of things amongst everything else you have on your plate. Try to respond to your customers timeously – even if you dedicate an hour an evening to do so.

Grow your brand affordably. The benefit of social media is that it offers affordable, value-for-money advertising. Any business can grow its audience and reach its objective through ads on Facebook and Instagram. Put some thought into these ad campaigns before signing up – you don’t want to waste any of your marketing budget on unhelpful advertising. With the right content, you can educate and entertain your target audience.

 

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