5 Steps to Leverage Social Media for Your Local Business in 2016

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social media strategy for local businessFor local businesses, social media strategy in 2016 can be the difference between success and failure. Social media is more important than ever. Many internet users now primarily use social media while online, whether to interact with friends, network with colleagues, watch videos, read the news, or find online content.

If your business does not use social media, you are failing to reach a large amount of potential customers. As well, you are losing out on opportunities to develop connections and foster your brand image.

However, social media is constantly evolving and effective strategy needs to take into account new trends and best practices. When developing social media strategy for local business, here are some steps that will ensure results.

Find and Analyze Which Social Media Platform You Should Use More

Now that we’re in 2016, there are more social media platforms than ever before. It’s not just Myspace or Facebook. There are business platforms (LinkedIn), mobile platforms (Snapchat), and video-based platforms (YouTube). Few businesses use all of these social media networks, but it can be hard to determine which ones will bring you the most success.

Consider the demographics you are trying to reach and select your social media networks based on that. For instance, Snapchat and Instagram target a younger demographic, so they may not be effective for reaching older customers. Likewise, Pinterest and Tumblr are used more by women than men.

The two social media networks that every business should use are Facebook and Google+. Facebook is the biggest social media network, while Google+ is important for business listings search engine rankings on Google.

Set a Goal for Each Social Media Platform and its Campaign

Next, it’s important to figure out how you will use social media for small business success. Social media platforms can be used for a variety of functions. For instance, you can use social media to drive people to your web site and increase web traffic. Or, you can also use social media to create a community with your customers and foster better connections.

Whatever approach you choose, you do need to settle on specific goals or metrics to guide your strategy. Successful social media needs to be targeted and goal-oriented. Determine what your business needs for success and revise your social media strategy accordingly.

Offer Customer Service through Social Media or Get Your Customers Involved

Social media works through conversation and interaction, which means that any social media strategy needs to engage with users to be successful. Using any social media platform as a place to dump your advertising will turn people away from your business. Rather, your social media pages should engage with users, interacting with them and responding to their questions.

Using contests, discussions, questions, and polls are a great way to encourage people to come to your social media page and increase their engagement. As well, many businesses are now integrating their customer service with their social media, responding to questions and complaints on the customer’s desired platform.

Reach the Target Audience with a Mix of Content—Video is a Must!

Social media revolves around a lot more than text-based posts. In fact, social media sites are more visual-based than before. Sites like Facebook have put more of an emphasis on video and images, while other sites like Instagram and YouTube are devoted entirely to either images or video.

Using a mix of content is the best way to engage users and attract more online interest. The most common internet activity is watching videos, which means that your business needs to be making use of video to reach these users. As well, graphics and images can reach a wide audience on sites like Facebook, where people can share them with their friends.

Be Consistent as You Turn Competitive

Social media presents many opportunities for businesses, and it can be easy for business owners to want to attempt everything, using multiple platforms, employing different types of content, and creating constant content. However, good social media strategies require consistency more than anything else.

With your social media strategy, start small and work your way up. Spreading your social media across too many channels can result in ineffective campaigns. As well, when putting out a lot of content, it is easy to make PR mistakes or eventually irritate your fans. Create a consistent, measured social media strategy that engages users without turning them away.

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