There is no doubt that social media has overtaken the marketing world as a table stakes tool for business owners to connect with their audience. In fact, 94% of Canadian small businesses use social media at least once a month, using platforms like Meta (Facebook and Instagram), LinkedIn, and TikTok to build a following and gain key audience insights and feedback.
Is social media right for your business?
Social media is an important part of the marketing strategies of many companies. But your business doesn’t have to be on social media. Businesses that rely mostly on face-to-face contact with clients might see a smaller return on investment from social media. Other businesses, like ones with a strong local focus or ones that conduct significant sales online, may see the upside from smart social media marketing.
Ask yourself these questions to see if social media marketing is a fit for your company:
- Is our audience using social media?
- Do we have the inclination, time and budget to invest in maintaining a social media presence?
- Do we have a website to promote on social media?
- Could we benefit from more customers?
Understanding your audience and where they spend time online is the most important part of an effective social media strategy.
Establishing your social media presence
- Develop a cohesive brand identity: Determine your brand's tone, voice and visual elements. Harness your brand to create consistent branding across all social media profiles.
- Define your goals and target audience: This includes clearly outlining your business objectives and using them to identify your target audience on social media platforms.
- Choose the right platforms: Researching popular and up-and-coming social media platforms and the demographics that use them are key to executing your plan successfully. Select platforms that align with your target audience and business goals. For example, you could use TikTok to reach Gen Z and Facebook to reach people ages 25 to 34.
- Optimize your profiles: This includes creating a compelling biography and description for your business on each of your social media platforms, accompanied by on-brand, high-quality, engaging visuals. Ensure your audience can get in touch with you by including your contact information and a link to your website.
- Create a content strategy: Identify the type of content that resonates with your audience and follow a content calendar to post regularly on your channels. For example, you could post a contest, use live video to show behind the scenes, create lighthearted reels or write educational posts—but only if each method aligns with your brand vision. Include both promotional and non-promotional content.
- Engage with your audience: Respond daily to interactions, comments and messages from your audience. Encourage user-generated content and engage with it by reposting, liking or commenting on it. Use social listening tools to monitor mentions of your brand.
- Analyze and adjust your strategy: Use social media analytics to measure key metrics, identify trends and patterns in user engagement, and make data-driven adjustments to optimize your strategy.
Take it to the next level
- Use paid advertising and targeting options: Set a budget for social media advertising and explore targeting options to reach your desired audience. Track and analyze the performance of your paid campaigns and capitalize on your learnings to inform future strategy and campaigns.
- Collaborate and network with influencers: Identify relevant influencers in your industry. (Note: they don’t have to have a huge following. You may be able to create impactful campaigns working with influencers who have smaller, more targeted audiences). Establish partnerships for collaborations and promotions.
Be strategic with social
Social media may be popular, but it's not for every business. Decide if it's an effective way to reach your audience: where are they online?
Be strategic about which platforms you use and have a regular schedule of content so your customers can be engaged and up to date: what’s the call to action? They expect consistency, accessibility and reliable information. Anything you post should align with the brand you’ve already built.
Adjust your strategy according to market data as you go. Monitor your analytics to see which marketing campaigns work best, and stay informed about trends.