Statista asserts that there are over 25.4 million social network users in Canada alone and a social network penetration rate of 67%- making Canada one of the most online connected countries in the world. Industry experts expect this number will rise to 80% of Canadians embracing social media by 2025. This is excellent news for small businesses across the country!
Social media marketing has become an essential tool for businesses everywhere. It allows companies to use these established and popular platforms to reach new audiences, create a recognizable brand, and start a conversation with customers.
But how exactly does it work? And why should your small business spend time and resources on creating a social media presence online?
Social Media Platforms to Use
Social media is a relatively recent online platform of communication that allows individuals, businesses, and brands to connect from anywhere in the world. Since its inception, social media has taken Canada, and the world, by storm. These platforms are used to reach out and communicate to your target audience and customers on their level.
Three major social media platforms boast billions of accounts that small businesses can use to connect with users. These include:
On top of these main sites, there are various other platforms that can be used to reach customers, including:
Facebook is the leading social media website in Canada, with over 25 million users. It is also the most popular social platform in the world, with over 1.79 billion daily active users globally. This is great news for Canadian businesses, as well as international companies looking to create social media profiles on this platform.
You can create a business page for your company that allows you to post content, interact with users, and provides a means for others to discover your services- some 2 billion others. Once created, start inviting previous customers to like your page and begin establishing authority for your business brand.
The second most popular social platform in the country is Instagram, with over 12 million Canadian users. In 2012 Facebook bought Instagram for a staggering one billion dollars. You can create a business profile on this social site to start interacting with others by posting and following users.
One way to take advantage of this platform’s high visibility is by enlisting the help of Instagram influencers. Influencers are users with a large following that promote brands, products, and lifestyles. Many businesses will pay specific industry-related influencers to promote their brand to reach their larger audience and expand brand visibility and authority. This is just one example of a social media marketing strategy.
Twitter is the third largest platform, home to over 7 million Canadian users, throughout the country. Create a Twitter business account to reach your customers on this site. Many individuals and consumers turn to Twitter to discover new brands and products, making this platform a great tool to promote your goods or services.
LinkedIn is the go-to platform for career-oriented social networking. An individual’s profile illustrates the user’s job history, skills, and experience. Leading professionals use this site to disseminate new ideas and ways of thinking surrounding their industries. If you are looking to become an expert in your industry and an authority in your field then posting to this platform is a must.
Pinterest is a social media platform that shares images and infographics between users. This social platform is great for making boards, or groups, of related images based on a theme or topic. Many people turn to this site for decorating and DIY ideas.
Pinterest is also one of the only social media sites that are actually crawled by search engines, such as Google or Binge. Therefore, having a presence on Pinterest can help improve your business’s search visibility.
How To Use Social Media for Marketing
When it comes to using social media for your small business, you should first set out a strategy or process to define how you can best use these platforms to your benefit. Social sites can offer more than just a place to post your content.
You can connect with your customers on a personal level, find out what they are saying about your brand, and determine where your business can improve its outreach, as well as its products and services. Such benefits are a result of a successful social media marketing plan.
To set out a social media marketing campaign, you should first ask yourself these three questions:
- What are your main goals for using social sites? How can these platforms help you achieve whatever it is you have set out to do. Are you trying to boost brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, or improve your customer support and overall experience?
- Which social media platforms will you use to further these goals? Social curation and management is a never-ending task. With so many platforms out there, you could become overwhelmed with work if you try and use them all at the same time. Consider which platforms your target audience and core customer group use, and start there. Choose only a few sites to get going, and once you have a hang of it, you can begin expanding your platform outreach.
- What voice and content do you want to send out to the world? You will want to think hard about what kind of voice your brand speaks with and the content you want to produce for users and customers. This is where marketing personas can come in handy. Create a profile of a fake customer that you believe is your target audience, then determine what type of content you think will catch their eye and keep them engaged with your business.
Once you’ve given thought to these questions and determined where and how you will place your energy to reach your social media marketing goals, you can get your social media campaign underway. Now is the time to create your accounts online for the platforms you wish to target.
If you have previously created a social account for your business, but it has been left unattended, no need to worry. If it’s been a while since you have hopped onto your business’s social accounts – now is the time to do it. Here’s how you can clean up your business’s social media presence after an absence.
Who does media marketing in small businesses?
As a small business owner, you can decide who is responsible for your social media presence. Will you take on the duty, hand it over to an employee, or specifically hire someone into the role of social media coordinator? In recent years, many companies have created a job title and spec specifically for social media outreach and management. But if you do not have the resources- monetary or human- then such responsibilities will need to be taken up by you.
That being said, there are many online courses and certifications you can obtain to help you create a social media campaign and teach you how to get the most out of the platforms you use.
Organic Social Media Marketing
When someone refers to organic social media marketing, they mean any social media activity without paid promotion. Such organic activity includes the use of free social media tools to build and engage an online community for your business. Organic engagement allows organizations to build a relationship with their customers online for free.
Once you create your business accounts online with any of the platforms mentioned above, you can directly interact with your customer base, building confidence in your business. Listen to your audience and what they have to say about your industry or products to improve your business services. Establish trust and credibility while also demonstrating transparency as you allow others to reach out to you.
Learn more about building a social media marketing strategy for your small business.
Paid Social Media Marketing
Paid social media marketing, on the other hand, refers to social activity that has been paid for. By using paid services and advertising dollars to back your social campaigns, more users will see your brand.
There are various types of paid social media marketing strategies and tools that businesses will use to create a presence online and bring customers to their site. PPC, or Pay Per Click, is one such instance. Paid promotions allow businesses to harness online algorithms to connect with customers using their previous online interaction history.
Some marketers believe that organic social media is dead and that companies must put money into paid social media campaigns to see any type of conversion in sales. However, many companies use a mix of organic and paid advertising to reach a wider audience and get their name or product out there to improve their social media performance.
Must-Know Social Media Terms
To get a grip on social media marketing for your business, you will need to know the various terms that show up and are used in reference to this marketing form. These terms include:
- Engagement: Refers to the number of shares, likes, or comments or replies surrounding a social media post. It is a metric that measures the performance of your social interactions online. Businesses should aim for high engagement. The higher engagement a post has, the more people have interacted with the content.
- Social Network Analytics: This is the process of gathering data from social media sites and analyzing it to determine how well a business or brand is doing on these social channels. Such metrics include the tracking of customer engagement and the conversations surrounding their products or services.
- Hashtags: Users can add hashtags to their online posts to gain visibility within a certain topic or theme. It is the number sign,’#’ that is used as a hashtag and it helps users find content relevant to their online activity. #usethehashtag for higher visibility on your social platforms.
- Stories: Many of the social media platforms allow users to share stories, which are temporary posts individuals can make that disappear after 24 hours. These stories take the form of full-screen, videos or images that are posted outside of a platform’s regular feed or dashboard. Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all use stories.
- Fleets: Twitter’s fleets feature is similar to Snapchat stories, as it allows users to post videos, images, and texts outside of their normal feed.
- Handle: Referring to a user’s account name, or what they go by online. Typically known as a Twitter handle, you can find out a person’s handle by checking their profile and looking for the ‘@’ symbol, followed by their account name.
Small Business Social Media Marketing Budget
Social media marketing has become a mandatory part of doing business in the 21st century. This type of marketing allows businesses to reach larger audiences and interact with their customer base to drive traffic to their website and boost sales and brand recognition. To take advantage of these social platforms, you will need the marketing funds to cover your paid marketing expenses or the wages of your social media manager.
To ensure you have the marketing budget to cover these costs- whether paid campaigns or the payroll for your employee’s social coordination- accounting software can help. By using quality accounting software like QuickBooks Online alongside your marketing campaign, you can stay within budget while reaping the benefits of social media marketing.
Why not sign up for a free 30-day trial alongside your other newly created social accounts to start taking advantage of these services altogether. Improve your customer outreach, brand recognition, and finances all in one go!