Connecting your business values to the right customer is an uphill task for many small and medium eCommerce stores. While marketing is an essential task for any store, many challenges are unique to a growing business. The root of all this is budget and time restrictions that small and medium businesses face.
When you’re starting out, any business would be more concerned about making enough money to sustain the venture. You might feel that there are a lot of other costs and jobs to be performed by an entrepreneur, and full-scale marketing efforts are pushed back. But content marketing can be done quickly with a few simple tips. In this article, we try to explore some basic marketing tasks you can accomplish without the need of a specialized team.
Below are three easily actionable tips to start your social media content journey.
1. Create a social media calendar
The best way to organize your social media posts is with a social media calendar. You can plan ahead of time when to scale up and when to slow down posting on social media according to events, festivals, and new launches.
Don’t just put down dates you will be releasing content but flesh out the ideas with what your content is going to be about. Sometimes it’s also useful marking out when you would be willing to pay for promotion of your campaigns. Then you can use the topic of the paid promotion as a theme for your regular social media campaign. This will give both your organic and paid posts more engagement.
Calendars are also great for setting deadlines and layout clear cut plans for you to follow. This calendar also plays an important part in measuring the success of your content strategy.
The next step is looking at various social media channels to see which one would be the right home for the content you generate.Source: The Social Media Content Calendar Template Every Marketer Needs [Free Template], HubSpot
2. Analyze traffic & content for various social media channels
You will be in for a tough time if you don’t have a strategy in place. The first step you need to take is understanding the channel and audience and then creating content that suits your target market.
You should also take care of creating and posting content that is more likely to get promoted by the social media channel you are posting on. Here's a list of what the most popular social media sites consider when they support a post.
Facebook is the undisputed king of social media and sends more referral traffic than any other social media channel. But for the same reason, any content you create will have to face fierce competition to be relevant for your target audience. Some studies have also found that adding more than 1-3 keywords to your posts can lead to a decrease in engagement. The ideal number of hashtags for improved engagement and visibility can vary so feel free to test out what works best for you.
Content on Facebook tends to be a mix of entertainment and news. So feel free to engage with your customers beyond just simple selling of your products. At the same time, make sure that you’re engaging with people about your brand story and keep the messaging relevant to your offerings. Be careful, Engagement Rates are likely to drop rapidly if you keep pushing content that isn’t on-brand. Posting on related groups can come in handy to boost traffic to your store.
The last thing you have to take care of with the content you produce for Facebook is understanding what sort of content is more popular. Many sources say that Facebook places more importance on video content, so be sure to create this form of content so that their algorithms promote your posts.
Instagram should be your focus if you can create a steady stream of appealing images and short videos. If you think you can create a strong visual brand that can drive sales, then this would be the social media channel for you. Just make sure that you don’t overindulge in sharing your posts.
Posting frequency is also a topic of debate with many social media experts. While some studies suggest a posting frequency of 1-2 per day creates a healthy engagement rate, others claim that as many as ten posts per day are necessary.
Hashtags are a bit clearer with most experts suggesting between 7-10 hashtags for growing engagement, especially for small businesses. Many businesses also struggle to monetize their Instagram channel. A straightforward way to get around this is having a link to your store in your channel’s description. That way if someone is interested in one of your items, they can go to your store and search for it quickly.
It’s important to understand that Instagram is a medium that is used primarily for entertainment, so don’t use it as a medium for the distribution of news. It’s also not an excellent source for increasing traffic to blogs or services websites.
Twitter is a social media platform that functions primarily as a text-based or a news sharing platform. When it comes to social media strategy for small and medium businesses, Twitter’s role is best served to give out updates like new product launches.
One misstep many stores make is sending an automatic tweet to customers who have just followed you. Frankly, this is an archaic practice and is easily recognized by users as being an automated message.
Even though Twitter has increased the character limit of its messages, the best performing tweets generally fall in the 70-100 word range. Another essential point to note is that brands tend to overstuff their tweets with keywords. This makes the message sound artificial and lowers the chances of reaching a wider audience.
Experts also advise stores to not blindly jump on to popular trends as this could dilute the brand’s message in the future. Keeping a consistent message is key for a growing brand.
Twitter is seen mainly as a platform for promoting content rather than products. That is why brands can use Twitter to drive more traffic to their sites or blogs.
Pinterest is another medium that favours visual content and in particular, detailed pictures of product offerings. Like Instagram, brands need to create engaging visuals to keep engagement high for their audience. What is different is that you can try to use Pinterest to increase traffic not just to your product pages but to blog and website pages as well.
Hashtags are a big no-no for Pinterest posts. Instead, use tags and detailed pin descriptions to make sure that your content reaches your target audience. Descriptive pins are one of the best ways to increase discoverability of your content and a great opportunity to link back to your website.
Like with other social media channels, it’s not recommended to create posts that dilute your message. You can, on the other hand, create a board that highlight your blog posts and a separate board where you can create posts similar to your product.
Reddit is another highly interactive medium like Twitter. While you can post both images and videos, the most useful interactions you will make will be text-based.
Reddit users typically visit a variety of “subreddits” and engage with each other. It’s vital to keep your message casual and human as many subreddits will ban your account if you try to push your product too much.
Instead of selling, Reddit is an exceptional opportunity to try and get the pulse of your target audience. What makes or breaks a purchase decision for them? What are they looking forward to buying?
Hashtags don’t work on Reddit. The best way to create engagement is by posting a detailed image or video along with a descriptive text about it.
LinkedIn is a professional social media channel, so your content and message should reflect this as well. The best way to increase your network is by sending across personalized messages and joining relevant groups.
Unlike Facebook, don’t start selling yourself as soon as you get connected or join a group. Sharing ideas and engaging with other members will give you more leverage with customers.
Because the target demographic of LinkedIn is business people and professionals, make sure you tailor your message to fit the tone of the conversation. You can use this to drive traffic to your blogs but not to your product pages.
3. Content ideas to get you started
Now that you’ve got a plan in place, the next step is to create engaging content based on what you are selling. There are lots of ways you can create content to promote your store even as a one-person team. Have a look at some of the ones we recommend.
Social media is not just to share your ideas with the world. It’s for talking and engaging in a discussion. The Likes and Views your posts receive are a vanity metric and should not be confused with engagement. What should is how many people are taking time out of their day to comment or retweet about your brand. Asking simple open-ended questions are a great way to start a conversation about your audience.
Find out what are popular questions in your niche by going on Quora or even looking at the Google search autocomplete. You could also try to look at what your industry leader is doing to engage their audience. Try to create conversations that will give you insight into what customers want to see more of. For example, you can try creating a survey asking people to select which style or colour they like best.
For this, it’s best to use a social media platform where you can create and share simple surveys easily. Twitter stands heads and shoulders above the rest in this matter.
Using contents is a great way to generate high levels of engagement and conversation about your brand. Having contests is integral to strengthening your marketing efforts and reaching out to brand new audiences. The important part is having just the right mix of product prizes to generate interest. That way, you can offer your audience something of interest in exchange for their interest and engagement.
You should also have a goal in mind when you’re setting this contest up. Are you looking to promote a product or a brand? Is it to increase your email list? Is it to promote your store on social media? Is the contest focusing on the launch of a brand new product? Your strategy of this contest should reflect this.
Use multiple-choice formats so that people can interact more easily with your content. Or ask users to submit a photo or a short video to improve your engagement with your audience and create live testimonials. Using Twitter and Facebook for these contests is preferred. Using Instagram to promote these contests can give you a boost in engagement across other channels.
Put Out Short Videos
Videos are gaining a lot of traction as they are not only a means of promotion but give customers a live demo of the product. Having visual content can increase your reach by 135% on some social media. This happens because not only are channels like Facebook more likely to promote this content. People are also more likely to share this sort of content within their social circle.
You don’t even need to create professional-quality videos. Just have a decent camera and keep the videos short and to the point. This is a great strategy to improve your organic reach.
Use Positive Customer Reviews & Testimonials
If you’ve delivered some fantastic customer experiences, share them on your social media channels. Don’t forget to give them a shoutout as well. This method works great to create engagement on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
People are more likely to trust or try out a product based on its recommendations by their peers or even strangers. If you’re already collecting customer feedback and reviews for your site, there is no reason why you shouldn't use this social proof elsewhere. Having descriptive reviews works best. Get in touch with customers personally to show how much you value their opinion and strengthen your relationship with them.
In the same vein, don’t shy away from reaching out to customers that didn’t have a stellar experience to find out what they expected. Remember not to bother them too much.
Give Tips & Advice
One idea that doesn’t get enough credit is the advice video or forums. If your goal is to create an easily shareable video, then look at some of the most common challenges that your customers experience and how your product can help them solve it. You can also use tips as a form of marketing for more text-based social media channels like Reddit or Quora.
Use catchy headlines like “x Best ways to...” or “Top tips on how to …” so that it is easily shareable by your audience. You can also try to host a live Q&A session on platforms like Facebook or Twitter to offer relevant advice to your audience. People like to buy from brands that they trust and have a good relationship with. Sharing simple tidbits to improve the knowledge for your customers can do wonders for your online reputation and gain you a following as well.
Use Special Giveaways
Giveaways are a sure-shot way of improving engagement around a product or occasion. You should also link up a giveaway to specific hashtags so that you can promote your store along with the event.
Remember that this is not content, so keep the barrier of entry low so that you can maximize the traffic this event generates. Twitter and Facebook are the most popular mediums for this sort of event. You can also use Reddit if you can find a suitable community. While social media channels like Instagram are not the correct medium for this kind of activity, it can be used to promote it among your audience effectively.
Capitalize on Special Events & Occasions
Finally, you should focus on social media postings and content around special days of the year. Plan a week or two in advance for these days so that you have some activities running around this time. This way, you can craft enough content for when people start to visit social media channels more frequently. Get into the spirit of things by posting themed content, whether it is in the form of an article, image, or video.
Remember to use proper hashtags that relate your products to the events.
Don’t also forget to update the product tags to reflect so that people can find these items comfortably on your site.
These times of the year are a fantastic way to showcase your company’s personality and create a connection with your target audience.
What’s next for you in social media?
That was quite an exhaustive list for a startup that’s looking to get started posting on social media. We hope that you can implement these tips when you formulate the social media strategy that suits you the best. Of course, these are just a small glimpse of the ways you can look to interact with your audience on social media.
Remember, everyone has to start somewhere but what matters is the results you’re able to get. Keep a close eye on what content works for you by tracking engagement through comments or retweets instead of just impressions and likes. Let us know what works best for you!
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