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Build And Grow

Effective ways to promote your business on social media

Alvin Fritschle

By Alvin Fritschle

Alvin Fritschle is the Chairman of the Board of First Bank, a community bank serving Southeastern Illinois and Southwestern Indiana. He has provided financial advice to numerous entrepreneurs for over 40 years as a certified public accountant and the President of First Bank. Over this time, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to assisting his clients with their strategic decisions.

How social is your business?

If you’re like many of the Southern Illinois and Southwest Indiana business owners we talk to, you probably have a nagging feeling that you could and should be doing more to promote your business on social media.

But where do you start and how do you continue? The social media landscape changes rapidly and most small businesses can’t afford to hire a full-time social media manager.



The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert to develop and implement a basic social media marketing strategy that can boost organic traffic to your website, increase conversions, expand awareness of your brand, and give you a more engaging way to communicate with your customers and prospects.

First Bank has been Making Great Things Happen for local businesses for over 125 years. In this article, we’ll show you how to Make Great Things Happen on social media.

Getting started

You may already use one or more social media platforms in your personal life. When it comes to business, using social media isn’t that different. You’re still posting updates that incorporate text, images, and videos.

The primary difference with social media marketing for businesses is that the content you share should all be in support of your marketing and branding goals to drive audience engagement.

Therefore, start by assessing your situation and figuring out what you want to accomplish with your social media marketing efforts.

Identify your goals and objectives

The wrong approach with social media is to do it just because it’s the thing to do now. Ask yourself what your business has to gain by going social. For example, you could:

  • Generate more leads
  • Build brand awareness
  • Engage with existing customers
  • Improve customer service
  • Drive sales

Once you know what you’re trying to achieve, you’re ready to pick your platforms.

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Figure out where your target audience hangs out online

83% of consumers use Facebook, making it likely that your target audience is on there as well. But don’t stop with Facebook. Try to add at least one other social media account. Here’s some information on each to help you choose:

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  • Instagram (IG): There are now more than one billion monthly active users and 90% of them follow brand accounts. It’s also the best place for influencer marketing, if you decide to go that route (more on that below). Remember that IG isn’t just for photos anymore--videos also do really well.
  • LinkedIn: If you have a B2B business, this is the place to be. LinkedIn is more effective than Facebook for lead generation and B2B companies can acquire customers through both paid ads and organic content.
  • Twitter: The top platform for finding out what’s new, Twitter has about 330 million active users worldwide. If your company website has a blog, this is the place to share new articles.
  • Pinterest: Users go to this platform for inspiration and end up finding new brands or products in the process. If you have a retail or design business, Pinterest is a great place to share photos of your work.

Schedule posts

Once you’ve chosen your social media platforms, it’s time to start posting!

This is the place where many small business owners get stuck. The best way to overcome this hurdle is to commit to a schedule for your posts and stick to it. 

 
  • Daily is ideal but not essential. Start small if that’s all you can commit to. The most important thing is to be active and regular. This helps you attract new social media followers while continuing to engage with your existing audience. More frequent posting may also help you stand out from your competitors.
  • Keep your brand “top of mind” through regular social media posting so that when your audience needs the product/service you offer, they’ll think of your company first.
  • Don’t know what to post? That’s another common issue. Use your marketing goals to guide your post calendar. You can also find plenty of inspiration from social media holidays.
  • Repurpose your existing content as much as possible. For example, you could post an excerpt of a longer YouTube video to Instagram or Facebook.

Form relationships and engage your followers

Once you have established some content, build a following by finding friends and followers and engage them:

 
  • Follow other local businesses in your community and like/comment on their posts.
  • Respond to your customers/audience in comments or direct messages.
  • Entice people to follow you with contests and social-only flash sales/coupon codes.
  • Just don’t post too many promotional posts, which can turn people off. The golden rule is 80% non-promotional (educational or entertaining).
  • Avoid posting more than once a day, which “floods” your followers timelines/news feeds so that they can’t see content from other accounts.

Give people a reason to follow you with unique content and advertising:

  • User-generated content (UGC): Images, videos, text and audio created and posted by your social media followers on your page or their own. Encourage UGC with contests. It’s a great way to expand your brand awareness and reach a wider audience.
  • Ephemeral content: Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook “stories.”
  • Live streaming: Boosts engagement metrics. Offers a more authentic experience for your audience. Great for a “behind the scenes” glimpse at your business. Also good for product demonstrations, events, and Q&A sessions.

Partner with micro-influencers to increase your credibility:

  • A micro-influencer has an account with about 2,000 followers up until about 50,000 followers. They also tend to focus on a particular topic or niche market.
  • Look for micro-influencers who live in your community or region. Their followers are likely to be more interested in supporting your business.

Put social media marketing on autopilot

  • Use one of the free social media management tools out there.
  • Allows you to schedule your posts in advance so that social media doesn’t dominate your time and schedule.
  • Block out a once a week time to sit down, create and schedule your posts. Then you’re done until next week.
  • Automation platforms can also collect all of your social media messages in one place for convenient/efficient correspondence.

Leverage more First Bank resources and tools

Incorporate these social media best practices into your strategy with our marketing plan template. Be sure to check out more tips and tools to build and grow your business, plus resources and tools to manage every business stage.

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