5 Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
Just two weeks left until the New Year! Is your marketing strategy all set, to adapt to the changes we’re going to face in 2021?
Last week, we zoomed out to 30,000 feet to get clarity on the customer lifecycle, as it relates to your marketing funnel.
Today, we’re going to get more tactical, with some things most digital marketing agencies do as they put together Facebook ad campaigns for clients.
But before we get to that, I want to mention something entrepreneurs easily forget: social media advertising should not be “the strategy itself.” It should be subordinated, in other words, to a higher-level marketing plan where it’s a suitable fit.
As we create marketing strategies for small businesses, we frequently come across owners who put more “stock” than they should in technology. Especially if they’re new to doing business via the internet. They come to us with no online marketing experience … and they feel like they’ve just found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
If you’re a small business owner and internet marketing is a “brand new thing” for you, slow down. Take a deep breath, and listen carefully: you have discovered a useful technology that can make great things happen for your business.
The hard part about advertising your business online is that it’s hit-or-miss. Depending on how much time and energy you invest in researching your market and brand, you could sink tons of money into campaigns that return nothing. It’s an awful lot of blood, sweat and tears … for very little reward.
If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, give us a call.
WHEN FACEBOOK ADS WORK … WHY DO THEY WORK?
As we’ll cover in the practical tips below, Facebook is a giant artificial intelligence machine disguised as a social network. It “knows” things about you, which you wouldn’t expect a computer to know. It can make “educated guesses” about you, based on your behavior online. It can make them as you pass through each stage of a sales funnel – top, middle and bottom.
So, if you’re a surf shop here in Maui, and you know how to promote your business through social media … you have access to a highly evolved cultural information exchange. If you’ve got the money, Facebook has the eyeballs. As a Facebook advertiser, you are both the consumer and the product … because it also knows your interests and purchasing behavior.
Going back to the importance of making Facebook ads part of your strategy … your brand needs to show up consistently, in other marketing outlets, as well as online.
Let’s say you’re an interior design consultant, and you serve wealthy mainland clients who own properties in Maui. To fill your pipeline and keep inquiries going, you also maintain a weekly blog showcasing your work and styles/schemes you like. This may also introduce the need for SEO marketing, so that potential clients are likelier to read your blog.
But people who read blogs like that tend to be busy with careers, family and other obligations. Practically, this means even if they love your blog content, you’re competing against powerful distractions. Until prospects get past the top of your funnel, you can’t use email marketing to contact them or follow up.
Social marketing is a great ally for staying in touch with these people – if you know how to coordinate the different arms of your strategy! Most business owners get stuck at this point. They understand these technological tools need to work together. But most lack the time or finesse to make it happen.
If this image looks familiar or describes you, it’s the right time to give us a call … we do digital marketing all day long!
5 Social Media Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses
Here they are, as promised. But remember, promotion strategy is no longer a “fixed” thing. It’s an “Agile” process that you need to review on an ongoing basis. What works today may change a few months from now. So, hopefully you’ll see that these are all oriented around changeable specifics.
- Local or Not
We know plenty of businesses on Maui, for whom it makes no sense to advertise anywhere but Maui. Facebook allows you to create “geo-blankets,” so you can nail down exactly the geographic area you want to reach.
This helps you to be specific in your ad copy later on. If you’re running a special offer specifically for Maui residents, for example, you can include the exclusive language on your ads. That way, when your target audience on Maui swipes through their newsfeed, it’s likelier to capture their attention.
- Lookalike Audiences
No two individuals are exactly alike … but birds of a feather, flock together! Facebook has sufficient data and intelligence to take a group of your target customers where your ads perform really well – and find another group of people just like them!
It happens quite regularly that you can “re-purpose” an ad strategy on a lookalike audience … because they look alike! Social media advertising is advanced enough to track more than demographics … they work around the clock to program computers to understand psychographics as well.
- Boosting Posts
When you’re just starting a business, you use what you can find to bring value to a hungry market. My business partner Tom Gaddis launched his first business with an offline postcard mailer for local Maui shops. But he didn’t print the materials until he’d sold every single ad space! It’s the same with Facebook ads – find the buyers first, then run the ads.
Boosting posts gives you the same casual level of spending, to “test” if your ads turn heads. You don’t need to be ready for larger investments in marketing until you have a good sense of whether the market will bite. It’s like fishing in a pond before you put out for some deep sea fishing.
- Customized Lifecycle Creative
This may sound like insider lingo, but here’s what it means. You remember the customer lifecycle issue? Well, Facebook can run different campaigns to prospects in the top, middle and bottom of your funnel. You just need to keep careful track of where people are in the process.
You can get even fancier these days with “Stories,” the short video option Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn offer. Engagement and interaction generally trend higher via Stories than they do with regular news feed posts.
Have you noticed, when you shop for an item online … that you get a friendly reminder (in the form of an ad for that same product) when you log onto Facebook later that day? Most people are aware of this to some degree, but few understand how it works.
Social media marketing agencies coined the term “waterfall campaign” to describe how Facebook can “move with” prospects’ online behavior, steering them into your funnel. They start by running ads they associate with prospects’ interests, or perhaps their geographic location.
If prospects respond to those ads, Facebook will begin to get more specific, regularly serving up ads for websites they visit – yours, in this case. These ads will reinforce them subconsciously toward the bottom of your funnel – the decision point.
If they get to that point, but don’t pull the trigger, Facebook will retarget them. Some advertisers can get so granular that the ads in this phase offer alternative messaging to persuade the prospect to reconsider, or at least join your email list.
This is just a sample of what you can do, and if you’d like to read a little more about it, we created this free guide to retargeting.
Let’s be honest though – doing this right takes a ton of time and attention to detail. If you haven’t got the bandwidth to bootstrap this, give us a call and we’ll make time to chat.