When you’re growing a business, you need every advantage that you can get. And social media, with its budget-friendly benefits and near limitless reach, is one of the advantages that you definitely don’t want to pass up. As a digital marketing tool, social media offers up a unique and effective way for entrepreneurs to find, engage with, and sell to their target customers. It also provides a much more accessible entry point than other marketing tactics, with the ability to use social media for entrepreneurs to gain exposure for their creativity rather than just the depth of their pockets.
No matter your business’s size or scope, if you haven’t started thinking about social media strategies, then there’s no better time than now to get going. Keep reading for a handy primer on everything that you need to know about social media for entrepreneurs, from the many benefits of social media for business to the social platforms that you definitely don’t want to ignore.
What is Social Media, and Why Do Entrepreneurs Use It?
If you’re one of the more than 3.6 billion social media users around the globe, then you’re probably already pretty familiar with what social media is. But in the context of business and entrepreneurship, social media has a bit of a different purpose than simply connecting with friends and sharing photos from your recent vacation or dinner date.
When it comes to business, social media and branding go hand in hand. The purpose of social media—to facilitate communication and relationship building—is well-suited to the needs of entrepreneurs, many of whom are always on the lookout for creative ways to expand their client base. By building a presence on various social media sites, entrepreneurs can expand their pool of leads far beyond their local borders. They can also create and share original content designed to establish their brand identity, build brand authority, and establish themselves as a notable player in their industry.
Regardless of your niche, if you’re an entrepreneur trying to build a sustainable business, then having a comprehensive social media strategy is one of the very best ways that you can do it. And if you’ve been struggling to make those connections with customers, it might even be the most important step that you take toward boosting your business’s growth.
Social Media Statistics
Do entrepreneurs need social media?
There is obviously no such thing as a one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy, but you really can’t oversell just how critical social media for entrepreneurs really is. If you’re not convinced yet, consider some of these social media statistics, all of which point out just how major the benefits of social media for business really are.
- In 2019, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Gen Xers, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers were active on at least one social media platform. (eMarketer)
- Among Gen Z, 97% use social media as their number one source of shopping inspiration. (The Influencer Marketing Factory)
- 78% of consumers who have a positive experience with a brand on social media are then willing to make a purchase from them. (Sprout Social)
- 55% of consumers discover and learn about new brands on social media. (Sprout Social)
- 43% of consumers use social networks to research products online. (GlobalWebIndex)
Great social media content does more than just engage. As these stats show, it can be instrumental in bringing attention to your brand and building more trust with your audience. In many cases, it can also lead to more sales. If you can provide a positive social media experience for your followers, there’s a good chance you’ll see that turn into more profit for your business.
Social Media Benefits
Social media provides a direct line of communication between entrepreneurs and their audience. For new and established business owners alike, that line can be used in a multitude of ways to better their business, especially for those who recognize the true potential of a strong social media presence.
Here are just a few of the social media benefits that entrepreneurs can get for their efforts.
Building an Identity With Social Media Branding
Social media and branding are two marketing tactics that were pretty much made for each other.
The goal with branding is to establish a clear voice and identity for your business that stays consistent across every platform that you use and every piece of communication that you share. Social media branding is well-suited to this larger mission, providing entrepreneurs with a way to constantly reinforce the identity that they want for their business.
Follow through with your tone and values throughout your other channels as well—including things like blog posts and email newsletters—and your brand identity will become central to who you are.
Social Media Presence and Brand Trust
Having a presence on social platforms is key to building trust with your target audience. Thirty-nine percent of consumers say that they only trust brands they have interacted with on social media, making it quite necessary that you cultivate a social media presence and give would-be shoppers a place where they can learn about and interact with your business.
Cost-Effective Entrepreneur Marketing
Social media is a low-cost form of entrepreneur marketing with a high return potential. In the competition for attention, the ability to produce creative, shareable content is just as valuable as having a big marketing budget to dip into, and audiences are quick to reward brand ingenuity with “likes” and follows.
Growing a Social Media Audience
All businesses need buzz. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and TikTok allow you to grow a social media audience from among billions of active users, which is far beyond the number of people you might be able to reach through the majority of your other print and digital marketing methods.
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8 Social Media Sites That Can Boost Your Business
What social media sites you decide to pursue depends largely on your type of business and who your audience is. For best results, start with just one or two of the top sites instead of trying to be everywhere at once. This will give you a chance to find your footing and get a feel for what’s working and what’s not. As you grow, you can diversify your social media efforts and start to expand to more platforms.
Take a look through the basics of the best social media sites for entrepreneurs, then decide from there which platforms make the most sense for your brand objectives.
- Facebook: Best for reaching the most people. Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world, with nearly 2.90 billion active users.
- YouTube: Best for getting your videos seen. Not only is YouTube where people go to watch videos, it’s also the world’s second largest search engine.
- Instagram: Best for sharing and monetizing images. There are 130 million clicks on commercial posts on Instagram every single month.
- TikTok: Best for connecting with young people. Forty-one percent of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 16 and 24.
- Pinterest: Best for marketing to women. An impressive 70% of Pinterest’s users are female.
- Reddit: Best for interacting with your audience. Reddit has more than 100,000 hyper-specific communities that brands can target and engage with.
- Twitter: Best for posting a lot of updates. Unlike other social sites where it’s best to limit how often you post so as not to turn off followers, the recommended frequency for Twitter is 15 posts per day.
- LinkedIn: Best for B2B marketing. Four out of five of LinkedIn users have decision-making powers at their business.
Designing a Social Media Strategy
There’s no use in just winging it. Entrepreneurs need to put together stellar social media strategies if they want to see a positive performance. And fortunately, there’s a general blueprint that you can follow to make sure that you’re doing that strategy right. While the specifics will be unique to your business, follow these four steps to put together a winning social strategy that’s geared toward getting you results.
Step 1: Start a Social Media Content Calendar
Plan ahead with a social media content calendar and you’ll never be left scrambling trying to find something to post. It’s a smart idea to plot out at least one month’s worth of content at a time, which will keep you on track and ensure that you’re staying consistent with your posting schedule. You’ll still be able to post on the fly if there’s the opportunity to give an update, get in on a trending topic, or share user-generated content, but the bones of your strategy will already be in place—including posts related to any sort of targeted campaign that you may be running.
Step 2: Automate Social Media Posts
Lots of entrepreneurs automate social media to free up time and take the guesswork out of staying on schedule. And in addition to saving you time, choosing to automate social media posts also allows you to put more effort toward active engagement—monitoring posts, responding to comments, and analyzing your performance data so you can tweak your strategy moving forward.
As an extra bonus, choosing to automate social media for your business could also lead to improved outcomes; nearly 80% of marketers credit social media automation with being the number one contributor to their success.
Step 3: Target Your Social Media Audience
There are a lot of fish in the social media sea, and not all of them are going to be the right audience for your brand. So as part of your social media strategy, you’ll need to define exactly who your target audience is so that you can optimize your approach to posting and create more relevant content.
A target audience refers to those people who are most likely to want to purchase your product or service. To figure out who they are, look to your current customers and the customers of your competitors. From there, you can create personas that lay out all the specifics of your ideal customers’ demographics, interests, motivations, and challenges. The better you understand who you’re marketing to on social media, the more effectively you’ll be able to reach them.
Step 4: Dig in to Your Social Media Data
Don’t neglect your analytics dashboard. All social media sites offer businesses a ton of data around their performance, and you can—and absolutely should—use this data to modify your strategy as needed. You’ll be able to learn who your most active users are, what types of posts result in the most engagement, and what days and times are ideal for you to post, among other things. Some sites also allow you to benchmark your data against your competitors, choosing a handful of other businesses that you can track on your dashboard so you can easily see how your performance outcomes compare to theirs.
Start Marketing on Social Media
You have to wear a lot of hats as an entrepreneur, and social media marketer is one of them. If you haven’t cultivated a social media presence yet, now is the time to start, beginning with the platform or platforms that are best suited to your brand.
Outline a strategy (anything will do; no need to make it perfect!) and start posting to see what works and what doesn’t. Over time, you’ll become more familiar with your audience and what they’re looking for. You’ll also hopefully gain more confidence in your voice and come up with more creative and more impactful posts for your page.
Not seeing results? Social media marketing takes time, so there’s no need to worry if your initial efforts don’t seem to be paying off. Stick with it and adapt your strategy as you go. If you’re putting in the work, the payoff should follow.
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