Social media platforms have now been around for decades, but their influence and popularity continues to grow and evolve. Regardless of the industry your business is in, it’s more important than ever to have an active presence on social media channels.\n\nHowever, not all social media platforms are made the same, and audiences on each are also different. Plus, your business’s goals should help define how you should share your brand and where.\n\nHere’s more information about why social media marketing is important for your business and our top 10 tips to help with your success.\n\n\nWhy is social media marketing important for your business?\n\nHaving a social media presence can allow your business to do a number of things, like:\n\n * Increase brand awareness.\n * Promote your products/service.\n * Create two-way conversations with prospects and customers.\n * Generate leads and sales.\n * Establish trust and relationships with your followers.\n * Foster brand loyalty.\n\nSocial media provides an incredible opportunity to create content and develop ways to not only tell their story and promote their brand but also drive demand, foster loyalty, and expand your reach. Organic social allows you to post and engage for free, while paid social involves paid advertising opportunities to help drive even more conversions or website traffic.\n\nPlus, with extensive targeting capabilities, your business can reach the audience that’s most important to you.\n\n\n10 tips on social media marketing for businesses\n\nLet's jump right in with our top ten tips to help your business grow on social:\n\n\n1. Start by setting goals\n\nIt will be virtually impossible to create and implement a successful social media marketing strategy without goals. Ask yourself why you’re interested in social media marketing and what you hope it accomplishes. Some examples of social media marketing goals include:\n\n * Increase brand awareness\n * Generate leads\n * Increase sales\n * Boost engagement with your brand and community\n * Drive traffic to your website or blog\n\nRemember, these goals should be specific, measurable, and realistic. They should also align with your company’s goals on a larger level.\n\n\n2. Know your target audience\n\nTo create a strategy that resonates and helps accomplish your goals, it's essential to know details about your target audience. One reason is that different social media platforms are popular with different audiences. For example:\n\n * While 70% of U.S. adults use Facebook, it's the most popular social network for men and women ages 35-44, with only about 7% of female users ages 16-24 using the site. It also leans more toward males, with 56.6% of the ad audience being men.\n * Instagram is also primarily 18-24-year-olds (30.1%) and 25-34-year-olds (31.5%), so brands wanting to speak to Gen Z or Millennials may find success on this platform. However, Gen X is the fastest-growing group of users on Instagram, with the number of 55-64-year-old males using the app growing by 63.6% in 2021.\n * More than 70% of Twitter users are males, primarily between the ages 25-34 and 35-49. Twitter users also tend to have higher household incomes and education relative to the general population.\n * On the other hand, TikTok skews female, with about 57% of users being female vs. 43% male. About 43% of the audience is between 18-24, with the next largest group being ages 25-34.\n\nAnother reason is that as you create content to post, you need to be sure it's speaking to your target audience. Whether you're asking them to be entertained, educated, or informed, what you produce and the type of content you're sharing should be created specifically for your audience.\n\nFor example, research shows people under age 35 prefer videos, while those in older age groups prefer news articles or reports.\n\nIt should be easy to know your audience because your company or brand should already have extensive research on their ideal customers.\n\n\n3. Choose your platform(s) wisely\n\nOnce you have goals and know your audience, it’s time to choose the best platform(s). Keep in mind that you don’t have to be everywhere and can instead choose one or two platforms that are best suited for your audience and brand. For example, if your audience skews older, you don’t have to be on TikTok (even though it seems to be one of the most popular sites right now), and you should instead focus on Facebook.\n\nIn addition to choosing a site where your audience is, also consider how you’ll tailor your content. Instagram was created for sharing photos, so if the content you’ll be sharing is more text-based, this channel may not be best. TikTok and YouTube are video-based, so if your brand doesn’t have the ability to create videos, you may not want to focus there.\n\nFeel free to do some trial and error here. If you start on Twitter but find your tweets aren’t generating any engagement or clicks, you can pivot to a different platform.\n\n\n4. Check out the competition\n\nYou can also get inspired by doing some competitive analysis on others in your industry. These competitors can be big and small. For example, if you’re a local pet supply shop, look at Chewy and PetSmart, but also other small pet supply stores. A few things to pay attention to include:\n\n * The platforms they are on\n * How often they post\n * What types of content they are posting\n * What content is getting the most engagement (likes, comments, shares, etc.) from followers\n * How the brand interacts with their followers\n\nYou can complete a formal competitive analysis if you like, or you can informally research competitors to learn more to help get you started.\n\n\n5. Create content that’s relevant, engaging, and consistent\n\nYour audience, platform, and competitor research will all come in handy here, as well as keeping your goals in mind. Remember, content can come in a variety of formats, such as:\n\n * Images\n * Infographics\n * Videos\n * Blog posts\n * Ebooks\n * Webinars\n * Case studies\n * How-to guides\n * Podcasts\n * Listicles\n\nThe types of content you create should be designed for your audience and the platforms where you’re sharing it. For example, attraction content can help bring visitors to your website and are designed to be shared. Providing valuable information that your audience is already searching for is key to attracting prospects to your products.\n\nAuthority content can help position your brand as a trusted advisor in your industry, helps answer questions, and offers solutions. Use this content to show you understand your audience and what they need.\n\nAffinity content can inspire prospects to choose your business over other competitors. Connect with your audience through emotion and engagement.\n\nFinally, you’ll also want to create actionable content. This content is designed to turn your prospects into customers and should be created with a specific conversion goal or call to action in mind. This content should be compelling, generate enthusiasm or excitement, or inform. In some cases, you may be asking your audience to provide their contact information or download something, so it needs to be good enough to convince them to do that.\n\nAs you create content, develop a content calendar that helps you map out when you’ll be posting, what content it is, and on what platform. Experts recommend posting on:\n\n * Facebook between 1-2 times per day.\n * Instagram between 3-7 times per week.\n * Twitter between 1-5 times per day.\n * LinkedIn between 1-5 times per day.\n\nA content calendar can help keep you organized and ensure consistency across platforms and your brand.\n\nAnother tip is not to post the exact same content on all channels. Each channel was created differently, so while you may share content one way on Facebook, it should be adjusted to fit Instagram. Even if it’s just changing the image, intro text, or CTA, avoid cross-posting on multiple platforms without making any adjustments.\n\n\n6. Engage with your followers\n\nOne of the huge benefits of social media is that it can be used as a two-way communication tool between your prospects/customers and your business. This can happen in two different ways:\n\n * If someone comments on your post, comment back. Or, at least “like” their comment. This shows customers that you read your page comments and care about what they have to say, both good and bad. It can help you retain or even increase your followers, engagement, and customer service while building relationships with your followers and establishing trust.\n * If someone messages you on social media, you should respond. A recent study showed that 40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, and 79% expect a response within the first 24 hours. Whether they are asking a question or leaving a complaint, build responding to these messages into your customer service training.\n\n\n7. Analyze and optimize\n\nSocial media is constantly changing, from how users interact with brands to how your content appears organically. It’s important to stay on top of this information and these trends, as well as who your audience is and how your content is performing. KPIs to pay attention to can include:\n\n * Follower demographics\n * Impressions\n * Post reach\n * Clicks\n * Web traffic\n * Likes/comments/shares\n * Traffic conversions\n * Social sentiment\n\nYou may have others depending on your business’s specific goals. This information can be found directly within the social media site itself or by using a KPI dashboard like Google Analytics.\n\nIf you’re just starting out, you may want to keep an eye on at least some of these KPIs on a weekly basis. Or, you should at least check and report on them monthly. You can optimize your audience or content strategy to get better performance or conversions.\n\nPerhaps you need to be posting at different times of the day, or your types of content aren’t resonating with your followers. Maybe you’re posting too much or not enough. Minor tweaks can help you learn what is and isn’t working, and tracking your KPIs allows you to quickly pivot to something that can be more successful.\n\n\n8. Test, Test, Test\n\nYour social media strategy may not be successful out of the gate. It may take time to learn about what your audience wants to see from you and how to have the best brand presence. One of the best ways to do this is simply by testing. You can use formal A/B testing capabilities within the platforms or anecdotally track performance of any changes you make. Testing can help you perfect your social media marketing strategy, and learnings can even be scaled into other marketing channels.\n\n\n9. Be authentic\n\nIt’s so important for everything you post to remain true to your brand and your company’s mission and values. Consumers are experts at spotting fakeness, especially on social media, and they will not respond well. Deliver on your promises, and strive to build a real and powerful presence through your posts and interactions with followers.\n\n\n10. Know the algorithms and stay on top of changes\n\nSocial media algorithms are how these platforms work, filtering and ranking content based on unique criteria. Not only do these platforms have different algorithms, but they are also constantly changing. These changes can affect things like:\n\n * Who sees your posts\n * When your posts are shown\n * Engagement with your posts\n * Conversions\n\nFor example, only content that receives the most likes/comments/shares may be shown. Posts that are more recent will appear higher on feeds. The more users engage with content, the more they will see from that particular brand. Content with specific keywords that are more relevant to specific users may be shown for them but buried for others.\n\nYou may notice on your feed that you don’t see content from every person you’re friends with or brand you follow. This is due to the algorithms. While your profiles will never be perfect, it emphasizes the importance of creating engaging and informative content that your audience interacts with.