Posted on Sep 11, 2018

How to Successfully Leverage Social Media as an Entrepreneur

As of 2018, there are 3.196 billion people on the planet using social media, up 13% from 2017 to 2018. And social media advertising revenue is forecasted to reach $51.3 billion for 2018 with revenue set to grow 10.5% annually, outpacing TV ad spend for the very first time.   

Overall, businesses and consumers alike are beginning to flock to social media for better content as well as better buying and selling experiences. According to a PwC survey, 59% of global consumers use social media as a source of inspiration for purchases, 34% use social platforms to receive promotional offers, and 16% will click on a social media ad that is relevant to them. Entrepreneurs are flocking to social media because they spend significantly less money on ads and promotional content, gain a highly targeted reach when sharing content with their audiences, and encounter real-time performance analysis regarding their ad campaigns and other promotional content.

With around one-quarter of the world’s entire population using social media, and the growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses relying on it as well, knowing how to successfully leverage it will be what allows you to establish a strong online presence and maintain a competitive edge.

Build a Website

According to a Redshift Research survey, only 60% of very small businesses and entrepreneurs have a website. But of that 60%, 83% claimed that having an online platform gave them a competitive advantage over other small businesses and entrepreneurs. And according to Adobe Analytics, as of 2018, social media ads drive three times more non-customers than existing customers to retailer websites – up from 2.5 times in 2016.

Building a website is critical to leveraging social media successfully because it provides you with a central online location to easily redirect your social media following. You can use social media to promote your blog, sales, and other important information. And if you rely on a website hosting platform that offers an easy-to-use website builder, it’s never been easier and more inexpensive to do.

Discover and Track Your Audience

In less than a decade, social media platforms have evolved into highly valuable tools that allow you to learn about and build a target audience with striking accuracy via evolving algorithms and technology. Now when you promote content on social media, you’re able to select specific demographic groups that you want to engage, how long you want your content to be promoted, etc. And most social media sites will track things like who clicked on what, if they liked it or shared it, and so on. So over time, you’ll learn more about who you’re trying to target, what they want to view, and more.

However, if you’re just starting out with social media, you may not be entirely sure whom you should be targeting or even what specific social media sites you should use in the first place. Social media experts recommend focusing on and dominating one social media platform at a time instead of spreading yourself too thin over too many platforms. The trick is to find out which platforms your desired audience is already using and then craft tailored content for those platforms first. See what they’re already liking and sharing the most, and this will allow you to gain insight into what you should be sharing, too. To get started, view content that your competitors share on social media to get an idea of what’s connecting with your desired audience. 

Distinguish Your Voice and Unique Brand

Social media users want to follow and interact with brands on social media. In fact, 32% of Gen Xers (those born between 1961 and 1981) interact with brands at least once a month on social media, which is 2% higher than Millennials (those born between 1981 and the early 2000s). And 70% of Gen Xers are more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media.

If you want to stand out on social media, you must distinguish your own voice and content from your competitors’. Create and share relevant graphics, blog posts, and other promotional content that consistently shows a unique voice and perspective that your social media followers want to engage with online. 

Select Your Social Media Platforms Wisely

While you might want to start with sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (the current social media behemoths) keep in mind that competition on such popular sites with millions of users can be daunting and challenging to master, especially if you’re operating solo.

You’ll also want to consider niche social media networking sites to gain more traction with your online audience. Here’s a list of niche social media networking sites you might want to look into, compiled by Convert with Content. However, be sure to select the social sites that will best represent your brand and the content you want to promote. And remember not to spread yourself too thin if you don’t have the appropriate resources to help you manage and create content to publish and share.

Join Peer Social Media Networks, Too

Don’t focus so much on promoting your own brand on social media that you forget that you can and should benefit personally from experiences available via social networking sites. You can leverage social media to build referral networks, retain a group of experts with whom you can consult and exchange ideas, and more. Most entrepreneurs join LinkedIn because it is so large and permeates so many industries and occupations. But there are still other sites you’ll want to consider. For example, GitHub is an ideal peer networking site for coders and developers.

Follow Your Peers and Competitors

Don’t forget to follow your peers and competitors on social networking sites. You’ll be able to see what types of ads and content they share and whether it’s successful with the audiences you share with them. And by following them, you’ll gain more insight into how you can distinguish yourself and your voice from them and what they offer.

Plan and Execute a Well-Thought-Out Content Strategy

Determine what business goals you want to achieve via social media and then set in place content strategies to reach those goals. For example, if you’re interested in building brand awareness, share content across your social media accounts that embody that goal.

Tips for Sharing Content on Social Media

Regardless of what your business goals are, here are some tips and best practices for sharing content on social media to keep in mind.

  • Make sure all social media content is easy to access on any type of mobile device. Mobile accounts for nearly 80% of time spent on social media networks.
  • Always develop and follow a content calendar for your social media posts. This will ensure that you’re consistently sharing posts with better-targeted content.
  • Remember that quality trumps quantity every single time. Your followers won’t want to read 20 posts if only a handful of them are truly valuable.
  • 46% of social media users claimed that they will unfollow a brand on social media for posting too many promotional messages. So remember to post high-quality content that is varied in nature and valuable to your followers.
  • Share blog posts attached to your website on social media. Blogging continues to grow, with over 409 million people viewing more than 23.6 billion pages each month on WordPress alone.
  • Share high-quality visual and video content, even if it never goes viral. Read HubSpot’s 45 Visual Content Marketing Statistics You Should Know in 2018 and Word Stream’s Video Marketing Volume Statistics for more details about why this is so important.    

Don’t Just Promote—Engage with Your Social Media Community

Did you know that 89% of messages sent to brands on social media pages go ignored? Above all else, if you want to successfully leverage social media, don’t forget to interact with your social media community, especially by replying to messages and comments. Without being social, “social media” is just “media.” Use social media to interact with your online community by highlighting competitions, distributing rewards, highlighting notable things someone has done or written, etc. Share others’ content and comment on their posts, too.  

Keep the tips above in mind as you discover the best and most successful ways to leverage social media as an entrepreneur. Essentially, you’ll want to be social, share high-quality and targeted content, and continually learn and discover how you can best connect with your online audiences.

 

Feature Image: Pixabay

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