For many small businesses, expensive advertising campaigns or big, splashy PR stunts simply aren’t an option. This means that in the initial phases, business owners are faced with a challenge: how to build the brand awareness your company needs while keeping costs down?
There are a number of efficient PR and marketing strategies that companies can implement to build awareness among their target customers, but one area that is often overlooked by small businesses, or executed poorly, is social media. Social media, when used strategically, can give you direct engagement with many of your target audiences. Twitter now has grown to 241 million monthly active users, while Facebook has 1.2 billion members. Obviously, for those companies starting out, these channels give access to vast numbers of people, whether it’s to raise awareness, create engagement or drive revenues.
The possibilities presented by social media channels are endless, but how can businesses ensure that they use them in the right way, to support their business objectives, rather than wasting time and resources to no end? It is all too easy to think “we need to be on social media” and not get any further than that. Unsurprisingly, however, a successful social media platform needs a strong strategy behind it, if it’s going to generate results.
Like much communication, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are some basic questions that companies can ask themselves about creating relevant and engaging strategies.
Who am I trying to reach?
This might sound obvious, but too many businesses launch into social media without thinking about what they want to get out of it. Unsurprisingly, this rarely yields results. Instead, companies need to think about what they are trying to achieve, and work out their strategy from there. A key part of this is understanding your audience. Are you a business-to-business brand trying to reach CEOs, or are you a consumer brand whose main customers will be mothers? Do you have secondary audiences such as regulators, journalists or NGOs? Establish clearly who your primary and secondary audiences are.
What channels are most appropriate to reach these people?
It’s important to think carefully about what channels are most appropriate for your key audiences. If you’re a B2B brand, for instance, you may find that you have limited success using Facebook.
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