How to Promote Your Online Business Through Social Media Marketing

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So many social media platforms; so little time.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok…the list goes on and on.

When you own a business, it can be difficult to know where to start. Not only that, you might not have the time, money, or energy to constantly post on social media every day.

In this article, we’ll dig into the different social media platforms, what your social media marketing goals are, and how to use the various platforms to achieve your goals.

The top social media platforms you should know.

Let’s do a quick breakdown of the most popular social media platforms. We’re going to focus on platforms that are traditionally used for sales (in other words, we’re leaving out high-ranking platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp etc.).

Figure out who you are marketing towards.

Think about your customers. Do you sell products to folks under 25? Then TikTok—where 41% of users are under the age of 24—is probably going to be a better platform to use than LinkedIn, where 30-49 year-olds make up the largest audience. Do you sell to more women than men? Then Pinterest and Instagram, where women make up the majority of audiences, are going to be better than LinkedIn and Twitter, where men dominate. Sprout Social offers a helpful breakdown on social media demographics, including gender, age, education, location, and more. This is a good tool to use when thinking about your own customer base and who you should reach out to.

Next, think about what your marketing goals are.

Before you create a business account on every social media platform, take an hour or two to write out what your marketing goals are. This can put you on the right path to high ROI. The end goal of most businesses is to drive sales or build leads. But sales shouldn’t be the only goal you care about. Brand awareness should be another major goal of your marketing strategy. It’s one of the most important steps towards sales, and it helps get your name out into the world. Brand awareness means when people think of innovative sneakers or attractive patio umbrellas, YOUR business is the first thing that comes to mind. Besides sales and brand awareness, maybe driving people to your site is a goal? Or building an online community? Each social media platform has its pros and cons, and maybe you’ll find that one platform can help you drive sales, while another will help you with brand awareness. (And maybe some platforms won’t help you at all.) We’ll get more into that below.

Here’s what to do if sales are your #1 goal.

If sales are your most important goal, most platforms offer commerce tools that can help you bring in cash. Besides Facebook being a great (albeit) costly platform to promote your goods, their commerce function allows you to create your own shop. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, offers this same feature as well. Both Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops allow you to customize your collection, add design features, tag your products, and they let your customers purchase your products and check out right in the app. While Pinterest doesn’t offer a commerce tool like Facebook or Instagram, it does let you create a shop on the platform where you can promote your products and link to your external commerce site. Other platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok allow you to purchase advertising.

Here’s what to do if brand awareness is your most important goal.

While Facebook and YouTube have more users than Instagram, Instagram is gaining quickly. Here are some interesting facts on Instagram and brand awareness. Sprout Social found that “90% of [Instagram] accounts follow at least one business on Instagram.” In addition, 83% of users use Instagram to discover new products, 91% use it to research products, and 80% use it to decide whether to buy a product. In other words: Instagram WORKS. Not only that, Instagram is the platform for influencers, who also help spread brand awareness, which in turn equals sales.

So, what about Youtube, LinkedIn, Twitter and TikTok?

We know we’ve spent a lot of time talking about Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, but those sites are arguably the most small business-friendly. If you’re an SaaS (software as a service) company or looking for seed funding, LinkedIn is a great bet. And as for Twitter, unless you want to jump into talking about politics or the outrage of the day, or you’re a huge brand with millions of followers, your voice might get lost in the shuffle. And depending on what your product is, YouTube can be a great way to increase engagement, but you have to spend time and money on making quality content people may or may not see. Over YouTube, we recommend using TikTok which allows for 60-second bite-sized content that is easily filmable. TikTok is currently one of the hottest social media platforms. Users spend 500 minutes per month on TikTok and 23% of American Internet users have seen a TikTok video. TikTok videos are easy to make and don’t require all that fancy equipment.

Bottom line: Social media can be a helpful tool in garnering sales or spreading brand awareness. Before you jump onto every platform, write down what your goals are and who your audience is. That will help you craft your social media strategy and save you time and money.

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