Starting your own small business will always be a challenge, even if modern technology has made it easier than it has been in the past. Not only do you need to come up with an idea for a product or service that people will want, but you need to put in the effort to produce your goods, advertise your business to the right audience, and make sure that it can be profitable enough to stay afloat. Building a successful business – even a modest one that might be run out of your own home – is a dicey prospect under the most ideal circumstances. Fortunately, social media has made all of that a little easier these days. You still need to put in a lot of work and have a lot of luck, but you can get an online business up and running with the help of social media. You just need to know the best ways to go about that.
Having a Clear Goal and Persona
Before you start any kind of business, you need to have a clear goal in mind. And no, that goal cannot simply be to make a lot of money. You need to know what you’re hoping to accomplish with your brand and what it can provide to clients that they cannot get elsewhere. That has always been true about business, and it is still very important in the digital age. This also means creating a strong persona for your business, especially on social media. A good online business will come across as an entity in itself when it is viewed on a social media platform. This might mean putting a lot of yourself into your business and your professional profiles, but it also means treating your business like a person and engaging with your clients like you would your friends and family members. You don’t need to get too personal of course, but people should enjoy checking out your professional profile and your business pages and see it as something more than just another startup.
Define Your Target Audience
As much as you may not want to admit this, your business will not appeal to everyone. You could come up with the greatest product in your chosen field and still find that there will be people who aren’t interested. What you should be doing is finding out who will be the most likely to engage with your content and enjoy your products and focus on them. That is your main demographic, and it is surprisingly easy to find on social media. With a little work, you should be able to specify a broad age range, key interests and geographical location of the people most likely to take an interest in your brand. However, it’s important to remember that this won’t happen overnight. You can and should still continue to experiment with different advertisements and marketing strategies to find which ones will be the most appealing to the demographic that you’re trying to reach.
Engage With Your Audience
While you’re trying to define your target audience, take some time to get to know them. After all, that’s kind of the point of social media. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram were intended to help people connect with one another and share their thoughts and opinions. As you build your reputation on social media, users will send you messages, ask you questions, and voice their opinions on your products. You should take much of what is said on social media with a grain of salt, but you should never hesitate to interact with anybody who wants to interact with you. Not only is it a great way to find information that can be used to build your business, but it shows that you care about your audience and want to please them.
Decide What Social Networks to Focus On
Even though you should have a presence on all the major social networks on the Internet, there will be one or two that will fit your business better than most. If what you have to sell has a major visual component, you might want to consider sticking to Instagram and Pinterest for your marketing efforts. Both of these platforms focus on sharing photographs and videos, and they are incredibly popular with young people. They’re also popular on mobile phones if you want to feature a mobile component to your marketing efforts. Of course, you also cannot forget about Facebook, which is still the largest social media platform on the Internet. You might not think you can use Facebook to target a specific demographic anymore, but you will be bound to find someone who will be interested in what you have to offer just because of the sheer size of the network.
Keep Your Accounts Updated, and Monitor Your Content
If you’re going to use social media to grow your business, you need to constantly keep your accounts updated. This means posting regularly across all of your social media accounts and engaging with your followers. It also means that you will need to monitor your content to make sure that what is being said about your brand will encourage others to seek it out. You can’t control everything that is said about you or your business, but you can mitigate the harshest criticism simply by addressing it and focusing on what needs to be changed.
It’s also important to note how people are engaging with your content. This is far more important than simply monitoring website traffic. Pay attention to how many people are sharing your advertisements and videos, as that is a surefire indicator of how effective your marketing campaigns really are.
Finally, don’t hesitate to change up your advertising methods once in a while. Things change quickly in the world of social media, and you can quickly be left behind if you’re not willing to change with it. Keep up with the things that are working for you, and change what isn’t working. Businesses need to evolve if they are to stay alive, especially if they mainly exist online.