When the topic of digital marketing arises, it is impossible to view that realm of marketing without discussing the incredible benefit that social media has been to online marketing. Everyone is on social media these days. Grandmas, aunties, dads, teachers, friends, everyone. And everyone is consuming visual media while on social media, ads and promotional pieces included. Because of the way that social media is structured, people are inclined to remember the ads that they’ve seen on their own social media pages. If there is one form of marketing that everyone should take full advantage of, it would be social media.

If you are new to the concept of social media marketing, you may be unsure of where to begin. Social media, while a widely popular way of communicating with friends and family, can be an incredibly overwhelming place for a business. It’s easy to look at incredibly popular social media influencers and businesses who have expertly launched businesses on social media and think that you could never get the number of viewers, likes and shares that they have. The whole aspect of followers is there to inspire feelings of competition and pleasure when your own number grows, but don’t let the number of followers discourage you. With a little bit of effort and a healthy dose of know-how, you could use social media platforms to reach audiences that you could never have dreamed of with older forms of advertising. So, how do you get started?

First and foremost, you have to decide what you want social media to do for you and your business. That may sound a little strange but consider the different types of business out there and what types of audiences that they have and are trying to reach. Imagine that your business is a restaurant and you want to advertise your food and atmosphere to locals and tourists alike. It may be beneficial for you to be active on Instagram posting plenty of pictures of the delicious meals and the environment of your business. If you have a small publishing company, then Twitter is a great place to engage readers and fans of authors working with you.

Even further, you’ll need to determine what your social media will do to interact with clients and customers. Do you want your social media to be a direct line to handle questions and concerns of customers? Do you want social media as a platform to gauge your customer’s wants and needs? Do you want to simply advertise your presence as a new business? Or do you want to engage the whole community in events and projects that will not only make a positive difference in your community but will also advertise your company and positively associate you with your local area? Social media can be used to do all of these things, but not often all at once.  Every social media site has its own merits and benefits, so it is best to cover your bases and have an account on all of the major platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. Managing all of those accounts on your own must seem like a nightmare, especially when you consider that you’ll also be managing all of the other tasks associated with running a business.

It’s important to note that social media is not a golden ticket to a successful business. Many a small business came to the internet thinking that a viral video or two would have their businesses booming forever. Sadly, that isn’t the case. You’ll have to take a serious look at your own marketing analytics and decide exactly what audience you want to target and how best to reach that audience via social media. Maintaining customer engagement on social media is an incredibly difficult task, even for the experts out there, so it’s good if you are always consulting your social media manager and keeping eyes on those analytics. YouTube videos may require some level of production that might not be worth the investment if your company is not one that bodes well with video media. The only way to know is to give it a try and consult with a marketing manager that specializes in the field of social media.

Social media largely is an exercise in trial and error. What gets clicks and increases revenue for one business will not get clicks and increase revenue for you. What works Monday may very well not work on Friday. It is a bit of an unpredictable medium of advertising, but with consistent, well-targeted, quality content you will surely see results. The growth of your social media presence may be small at first, in fact, it is likely that the process will be slow for new businesses, but by raising your presence organically, you’ll retain more viewers and maintain a positive image among your customers as always being available and visible to them.

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