In the UK and US, it has recently been reported that roughly 70 % of their overall populations are smartphone users. According to the Oxford dictionary, a smartphone is “A mobile phone that performs many of the functions of a computer, typically having a touchscreen interface, Internet access, and an operating system capable of running downloaded apps”. If we highlight the phase ‘Internet access’ in isolation, it means that, at any point of the day, 70% of the population has the ability to access programs such as E-mail, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram at any time during the day, with just a click of a button.  

I know many people would rather be run over by a rampaging mutant llama than have to be exposed to statistics, but in this case, the numbers are so staggering that you may wish to reconsider. It has been reported that in 2018, nearly three-quarters of adults use the video-sharing site YouTube, roughly 68 % of adults use Facebook and 35 % of adults use Instagram. The number of people using social media sites is staggering! 

So what point am I trying to make? Well, if you are a business owner and not marketing on these sites to put your business in front of these millions of people, then you should be! But how, you ask?

Whilst building a following through free social media posts is worthwhile, it can be time-consuming and slow. The quickest way to get results is via paid-for advertising on the major social media platforms. Yes, this obviously involves cost but these platforms offer a wealth of ways to target your advertising and limit your spending so costs don’t run away with you. You can create very specific, time and cost limited campaigns that can make a real difference to your business.

Here are just a few ways in which you can take advantage of social media platforms to market your business.

  1. It is common belief to think that the more customers a business has, the more money that business will generate. Yes, increasing a client base is important, but why not aim your marketing at existing customers first? Just because a customer has dealt with a business once before, doesn’t mean that they won’t return and spend more money. They already have a relationship with you and have knowledge about your business. Social media can be used to help you target and build on that relationship with your existing customers by using the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to promote new products and exclusive special offers, enticing them to come back and buy again. Why not offer them something for free when they refer 5 or 10 people to use your company? Use your customers to do the work for you.
  2. Once you’ve given your current customers a bit of pampering and attention, you can then focus on expanding your client base. Using Facebook advertising, you can target new customers based on parameters such as location, age and interests based on knowledge gained from your existing customers. For example, you could advertise your new water sports product to people aged between 16-30 who live in coastal areas, who have shown a previous social media interest in surfing or other related activities. It’s a good idea to include an incentive in your advert which is likely to appeal to your target audience.
  3. Alongside Facebook, the other heavy hitter in the social media world is YouTube. YouTube carries a lot of advertising, unless you pay a viewer’s premium to avoid them, and is used by many large and successful companies for marketing. Why? Because it works!! Humankind is lazy, people find it less effort to watch a video rather than read a 500-word essay on why your business is beneficial because of blah blah blah. YouTube allows you to convey your business in an entertaining and captivating way. Yes, you will have to make a video, but using YouTube can be a relatively cheap marketing technique. According to Google (who own YouTube), you only pay for your advertising if your video is watched for more than 30 seconds (viewers have the option to ‘skip’ your advert after a few seconds if they don’t want to watch it all the way through or click on its link). Therefore, you only pay if the viewer is interested. The tricks of formulating a good video for YouTube marketing purposes are: Immediately tell them what your company does, keep it simple, convey the benefits of using your company and make it clear what they have to do. Market your business in the best possible way to the 20 % of people who don’t press the ‘skip’ button. On another note, you don’t want to be advertising to people who aren’t going to be interested because it is a waste of your marketing fund and their time, so it is perfectly acceptable to start your 1-3 minute video with a message that clarifies who the video is targeted at, i.e. ‘Are you a start-up business owner? If not press the ‘Skip’ button below’.

In summary, all social media platforms can be used effectively to market your business in different ways. More of an effort is required than just making a company page or sharing the odd picture of one of your products every so often. Creating a successful social media marketing formula that works for your business doesn’t happen overnight, you may have to do a bit of trial and error. Some things will not work, some things will. As Einstein once said “Creativity is intelligence having fun” so don’t be afraid to get creative with your social media marketing. Surprise your audience and grab their attention because that is when they will remember your business and get involved.