Posted: 23/04/2020

Getting started with social media marketing

Marketing your business on social media can be daunting, but if you focus your approach and use the raft of tools available, it can be relatively straightforward, says digital marketing specialist Donna Stokes.

The best place to start with any type of marketing – and that includes social media – is to ask yourself who your existing and future customers are. Who are you trying to reach? Identify what their needs are, and how your business uniquely provides them.

Think about the behind the scenes stories of your business, from how your operation began to the day-to-day goings on. People want to connect with you, your history, your place and your processes. Images containing people, rather than simply products, have a measurably higher engagement rate than those without, so capture some images of your products being made. Don’t forget in these times to tell the stories of how you’re supporting your local community, too.

Once you’ve identified your story, go back to who your target customers are, and think about where they spend their time online. If you sell predominantly direct to consumer, you might use Facebook, or Instagram for a younger market. If you sell more direct to trade, twitter and Linkedin would be more appropriate. Go where your customers are. Don’t try and put content out on every social media channel just for the sake of it. More posts on fewer channels to the right market are better. If you decide to use multiple channels, apps like Hootsuite help streamline keeping on top of multiple accounts at once.

How you tell your stories is important. The average engagement rate of Facebook video content is nearly double that of other types of post – so don’t be frightened of video. People are put off thinking you need specialist equipment, but you can do great things with a smartphone. Things to remember here are to keep it short, and to add subtitles; 85% of users watch videos without sound, so this is crucial. There’s good software out there that will help or do it for you. 

Hashtags are particularly important if you are using Instagram but are useful to help expand your reach beyond the people that follow you on most platforms. If you don’t know where to start with hashtags, I recommend two things: online tools such as – into which you can insert a keyword and it will suggest hashtags relating to it, and research the hashtags your competitors are using on their posts too.

Don’t forget the ‘social’ in social media. Because it is being used as a marketing tool, people often think about it in quite commercial terms. However, you have to remember that these are social platforms and here you can’t create loyalty without emotion – you have to connect with your base on a personal level to make them revisit your channels and start buying from you. Be conversational in tone. Try to create a ‘loyalty loop’.

It’s very easy for people to get lost in social media marketing. If you remember who your customers are and target emotionally driven ‘social’ content to them, you’re on the right track.

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