The powerful effects of social media on businesses and brands have been proven. Over the past decade, the adoption of social media as an awareness, selling and customer relationship management tool has moved from large brands to Main Street mom-and-pop stores.
As marketers, we know that we need to be where our target audience is online, but do you truly understand how social media usage plays a role in the consumer buying process? With seven in 10 Americans using social media, it is very likely that the vast majority of your customers (or potential customers) are already online. It is important to take into consideration how that affects your current and potential customers so that you can craft social strategies that align with both consumer expectations of the brand and, of course, sales for your business.
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Social media use over time
When Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption in 2005, just 5% of American adults used at least one of these platforms. By 2011 that share had risen to half of all Americans, and today 72% of the public uses some type of social media.
|Less than $30K||70%||35%||12%|
|More than $75K||70%||47%||50%|
|High school or less||64%||30%||10%|
Source: Survey of U.S. adults conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 2021.
Today around seven-in-ten Americans use social media to connect with one another, engage with news content, share information and entertain themselves. Explore the patterns and trends shaping the social media landscape over the past decade below.
While some people create an account on these mediums to simply connect with friends or loved ones, social media is now more intertwined with business than ever. Popular social media platforms have integrated a wide variety of options for consumers to conjugate with brands and companies alike, even offering the ability to make purchases of goods or services directly on an app.
For example, Facebook first implemented a “buy” call-to-action button on ads and page posts back in 2014. Adopting this feature gives users the opportunity to make a purchase of a product without interrupting their scrolling. Many other mediums have followed suit, and other marketplaces, like Instagram Shopping, are more popular than ever. Listing products in the dedicated “Shop” tab gives your items exposure to a wide breadth of audiences that were previously inaccessible if you were a brick-and-mortar location that required consumer foot traffic to make a purchase.
Setting the focus of your social selling strategy toward advertising your products or services on these apps is one of the ways to bridge the gap between future customers and the long-standing issue of “how do I share what my business offers to fresh eyes?” Consider social selling as part of your overall sales strategy.
The algorithms of social platforms with buying options help to expose your brand’s services or items to relevant audiences dictated by triggers such as demographics, geographics and interest, all with the help of paid promotion. Set aside a monthly budget for promoted posts or product ads to increase sales, and utilize costless tactics such as including relevant and popular hashtags on posts to drive up organic reach.
It’s also important to recognize the effect of social media on consumer buying choices when considering the power of recommendations. Most modern consumers carry their purchasing power in their pockets, and when they’re not buying, they utilize social networks for reviews about a product and where to (or not to) shop from. With 80% of consumers making buying decisions based on a friend’s social media post, the era of virtual word-of-mouth recommendations is in full effect.
Consumers gravitate to brands that are hospitable, humanized and relatable, and expect companies to interact with them in a meaningful way that goes beyond an advertisement or product listing. Taking steps, such as answering Facebook or Instagram inquiries, or even something as simple as responding to a tweet showing excitement about your product or service, can boost your brand’s reputation and increase the likelihood of a consumer recommending you to others. Build a relationship with followers and customers to increase consumer satisfaction and bolster the likelihood of those coveted positive social media recommendations to peers.
On the other hand, a negative recommendation of any kind can be detrimental to your brand. Thankfully, consumers have entered a new dimension of two-way engagement with brands on social media. The days of latency on the phone while seeking a customer service representative have passed, and an era of contactless, voiceless assistance has entered. Social listening, active community management and, well, being social on social media, can help keep that negativity at bay.
Consumers seek honesty and rely on other sources such as influencers when it comes to making buying decisions. Hiring a popular influencer in your brand’s niche to put a spotlight on your product or service can make a difference if handled correctly. Just one positive review conducted by a recognizable influencer has the capability of causing an influx in popularity and, more importantly, sales. Many larger influencers, like the mega- and macro-influencers can be hired through an agency, while smaller influencers, like nanos, can be reached by sending a direct message or email to create a line of communication and begin the process of getting your brand in front of their audiences. The benefits of a positive recommendation to a large audience typically will greatly outweigh the monetary value of an item, so don’t be hesitant to give out a promotional product at no cost.
Social media has created a level playing ground for brands and consumers, unlocking a never-before-seen type of relationship between the two. Social platforms are modern era storefronts and serve as the liaison between customers and your products.
Social media offers multiple ways to connect with an audience—and small business owners (SBOs) know it.
Go Where Your Customers Are
Rather than trying to be omnipresent on social, SBOs should focus most of their time and resources on the social media platforms that naturally attract their target audience.
“Every business is different, and your approach should be centered around the places and spaces that your target audience hangs out on,”. “There are specific platforms that are great for B2C reach. There are also platforms that are best for keeping your community up to date with what’s new. There are platforms that are perfect for B2B connections. Ultimately, it’s up to the businesses and the niche in which their ideal audience or demographic spends the majority of their time.”
Develop Your Content Pillars
A small business also needs a social media content strategy before it starts posting on a social platform.
SBOs can identify their content pillars by asking themselves these two key questions. The first: Whom am I looking to help? The second: How can I help them?
“This typically sets the ground for their elevator pitch, their marketing material and of course their content strategy,” he says.
Once you develop your content pillars, you can organize your content into four main buckets: awareness, engagement, connection and sales content.
Read also; How to Make Instagram Reels Like a Pro
Awareness content helps you reach new audiences. Engagement content keeps your followers interested. Connection content nurtures your audience and shows them that you’re relatable. Promotional content gets people to take action, whether it’s subscribing to your page or newsletter or buying your products or services.
Anchoring your social media strategy around these four content types can help you attract new followers and strengthen engagement with your current ones.
Start With Organic Marketing
Though SBOs may be tempted to pay for sponsored ads, it’s better to stick to organic marketing when your business first starts out on social.
“If you do have the budget and you can make the investments, it’s always best to run paid ads after you’ve seen success or after you’ve seen that you have a good product or service that people actually enjoy,” he says. “It would be a shame to invest a lot of your budget on paid ads and your product or service isn’t really where it needs to be.”
If you do have a small budget to invest in social media advertising use smm panel, consider running a brand awareness campaign to see what demographics may be interested in your products or services.
From there, he suggests retargeting users who have visited your website after clicking on a post or watched a minimum of 75% of your social media videos. Retargeting ads is always cheaper than running cold traffic ads in a bid to reach people who have never heard of or interacted with your brand before.
Expand Your Toolkit
Unlocking creativity and making standout content can be tough. Forty-five percent of SBOs say they don’t have the time, tools or skills to bring their social ideas to life. Jasaseobe recommends expanding your toolkit to help streamline your content production process.
“I’d highly recommend taking the time to really dive in and learn an easy-to-use platform, such as Adobe Express, to create high-quality content,”
Adobe Express includes several features that can help small businesses create eye-catching social media content. Among them are thousands of unique, high-quality templates to kick-start the design process, 175 million licensed Adobe Stock images, 20,000 premium Adobe fonts, video and image editing features, and content scheduling capabilities.
Should you post every day or only a few times a week?
“This is definitely a question I get asked probably five to seven times a day, and my answer is always to start with what you can stay consistent with,” he says. “A lot of social media gurus will tell you, ‘You need to post three to four times a day,’ but for a lot of the small business owners, it’s just not realistic.”
The numbers tell the story. Forty-two percent of SBOs say the most time-consuming aspect of digital marketing and social media is posting to and managing their channels. On average, they’re spending nine hours a week on digital marketing and social media. That’s a healthy amount of time, especially given how overscheduled SBOs can be.
find out what a feasible posting schedule is for your business, strategize and plan your content in advance and “stay consistent with the days and times every week so that the algorithm can pick that up and understand when and how you’re going to post. Adobe Express even has a built-in content scheduler feature that can help you plan your posts and take back your calendar.”
Posting consistently will also help SBOs foster regular engagement with their customers, which Adobe research indicates is something they take seriously: Whereas 41% of SBOs value regular engagement, only 24% are seeking to “go viral” when they leverage social.
Repurpose Content That Works
Being creative on social media doesn’t mean you always have to do something new. Use analytics to help you decide what content to remix.
“Take the time to actually look at your insights and see what’s performed well over the past year, and just repurpose that. You may have had a carousel post that performed extremely well and got over 500 saves and shares. Why not repurpose that and create a motion graphic, a reel or an infographic?”
With its vast library of templates, Adobe Express is a useful tool for making old content new again.
“There are so many different ways to repurpose content, and I think that with a tool that provides templates and a lot of extra elements to make your content stand out and look different, it makes it very easy for you to repurpose content and not have to reinvent the wheel,”
Unlocking Your Audience On Social Media
With creativity tools like Adobe Express, you don’t need to be a world-class designer or marketer to stand out on social media. With just a few clicks, you can create captivating and shareable social media graphics and content that grows your audience—no design skills necessary.