Social media marketing is the new wave for business and the truth is, it’s not going to die soon. In fact, if you are a business owner without an online presence in at least one social media platform, you are actually living in the Stone Age (And I mean that literally). As much as being on social media is almost like a criterion for starting a business doesn’t mean that every business on social media is doing well and getting the result that they want. The only way to get the best out of any social media platform is to do it the right way. It is like every other thing in life, if you want a beautiful and delicious cake, you have to follow the right procedure and use the right ingredient in the right proportion, else you won’t have a cake but an eba made from flour.

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When done right, Social media has so many benefits to small businesses because as a new business, you don’t have the big budget to spend on traditional advertising like the bigger brands would do.

The online space is not meant to solely sell your products, instead, it is a place to create and nurture the relationship with existing clients while creating values strong enough for potential customers to see you as someone they can trust to buy from.

Effective social media marketing will benefit small business in the following ways;

•    It will help increase brand awareness. You might be a small business but be popular on and offline because of your strong presence on social media

•    It will help you build your brand community. Everyone needs a community of loyal customers that would even amplify the message of the brand to other people

•    In the long run, it will help increase sales. Yes, the phrase “In the long run” is every intentional because the primary purpose of social media is not to make sales but to engage with customers until they trust you enough to buy from you.

So let’s dive straight into the 12 commandments or tips that every business owner should know about social media marketing. This post will, however, discuss the first six commandments and then the next post will talk about the concluding six. I guess you are ready to know what these commandments are;

1.    You Must Have A Strategy

This is the first and most important commandment of social media marketing. You know how Jesus said that the greatest commandments are love God, yourself and your neighbours? Well, that’s how having a social media strategy is important. This is the bedrock of every other thing that happens online, the same way love is the bedrock of obeying God. So what exactly is a social media Strategy? A Social Media Strategy is an effective foundation for everything you do social media and it is more than just planning to post every day. It is a detailed plan on what you aim to achieve on social media, how you want to achieve it and when you want to achieve it. An effective social media strategy typically contains;

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  •  a well-defined goal type of contents to be posted,
  • A Customised hashtag for your business
  • A unique brand voice.

2.    You Must Have A Tool Or A System That Tracks Your Result

I know that for some of us currently using social media to market our business, we are really not paying so much attention to how we are faring on social media and the impact that we are having. The only thing we are concerned about is if we make sales or not. I’ve come to burst your bubbles today by letting you know that sales, likes or retweets are not the only things to track online. You need a systemized way of knowing how you fare on social media and there are tools like Hootsuite and Crowdfire that can help you with it.

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These social media accounts also have insights and analytics page where you can get a holistic view of how you are doing on social media. For Instance, Instagram and Facebook have an Insight page where you get to see the gender of the people following you, their interest, their location and the post they engage with the most. This will help you either restrategize or intensify with your strategy. The best way to know what works for your business online is to monitor this Insight closely.

Iphone displaying various social media marketing tool

3.    You Must Understand that All Social Media Are Unique

You are probably on the table of those people that share one content and caption across all platforms to save time. I’m here to tell you that this trick is most times counterproductive because all social media platforms are unique and different. For instance, you cannot use the same tone of voice that you use on Instagram, on Twitter because Instagram allows for longer captions and on Twitter, you are restricted to a particular number of word counts.

Sharing the same caption on Instagram and Twitter will make the content lose its value because Twitter won’t upload the photo from Instagram and it will also cut the caption short based on the restriction of word count. To avoid all these just learn to adapt your content to each platform.

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4.    You Should Not Delete Or Ignore Negative Comments

I understand that no one likes to be openly criticized especially in public and you might have probably been told that this is the best way to manage the crisis but deleting negative content is like sweeping dirt under a rug. In my little sojourn in digital marketing, I’ve come to realize that negative comments are not just beefing skills and they actually give you an opportunity to improve the quality of your services and products and also build trust within your community of customers.

Just imagine a situation where no one has ever said the truth about the quality of your product or service until you become a big shot in your industry and then one negative comment pulls down the entire image you have been building and protecting for years. This is what you should do when you receive a harsh or negative comment from your followers, see from the customer’s perspective and try to make them feel like they have a point and you sincerely heard them. Then go back to your drawing table to try to work on this comment. By doing this, you would have won the loyalty of the customer and also earned a new word of mouth marketer for your business.

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5.    You Must Be Ready To Engage and Interact With Your Followers.

The “social” in the word “social media” is not there for fancy or for lack of a better word to use as a prefix for this form of media. It is very important that as a brand, you should devise a plan to engage and interact with your followers. Don’t be that kind of business that is just online to post and go. I understand that data is expensive and dropping regular comments on each of your followers’ posts is not possible, but it will do you a lot of good to genuinely engage with your followers’ posts. Wish them a happy birthday, drop your own thoughts on a topic and even watch their insta-story. The more you do this, the more they notice you and interact with your brand in return. Please note that gossip blog pages and also dropping derogatory messages should be avoided at all costs.

6.    You Can’t Appeal To Everyone So Find Your Own Target Audience

You have to understand that you are not Jollof rice so not everyone will like you and I’m still sure that some people detest Jollof rice so who are you to appeal to everyone? In social media marketing, being deliberate about the audience you want to reach out to is not an option, having everyone as your target audience is having no target audience at all. You are not Mr. Tortoise so you can’t be everyone, my dear friend and fellow hustler.

You must deliberately select the people you want to reach out; it must be as detailed as their gender, their interest, their income and purchasing power, their location and what they do for fun. For instance, if you sell luxury human hair products it would be useless talking to ladies within the ages of 16-22 living in Makoko who loves fishing because you know they cannot afford your product.

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I hope that you have learnt something that you would be implementing in your business this week. Subscribe to our email newsletter so that you can be updated about the concluding part of this article. In the main time feel free to contact me on social media if you need any help regarding implementing a solid social media strategy for your new business.