Create a social media marketing strategy that grows brand awareness and builds customer relationships.

There’s no doubt that social media has changed the way people learn about and communicate with businesses. In comparison to some traditional marketing initiatives, social media marketing can be lower in cost and provide a direct contact with current and prospective customers.

I’ve seen many small business clients grow after leveraging social media marketing. Trust me, it works. If you’d like to learn more about how to use social media to market your products or services, here are a few social media marketing tips you can implement today.

Create a plan.

A successful social media marketing campaign starts with a plan. Avoid making the mistake of jumping right in and posting on all social media platforms. Begin by outlining the following:

What you plan to get out of social media What social media platforms is your target audience is likely to be using regularly What content might be interesting for your target audience Establish a social media calendar

Post consistently.

If you’re not posting on a regular basis, it’s easy to get lost in the mix of the other hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of other pages your followers are following. However, as a general rule of thumb, remember: quality over quantity. Your content is what drives results. The more value it provides your following, the more they’ll interact.

Amplify using advertising.

Don’t hold back from selling. With traditional posts, you’ve probably invested a bit of your time. If your budget allows, invest a little money as well to get a greater ROI using social media advertising.  Target the right audience, get their attention with eye-catching ads and see the results grow! You can promote top performing posts, share offers, gain followers and drive website traffic.

Build relationships.

Be the ‘social’ in social media. Engage on a regular basis to keep interactions alive. Here are a few methods to encourage conversation:

Reply to posts Retweet Like other posts Use @mentions Ask for feedback/opinions Utilize tagging capabilities

Aside from building relationships with customers, use social media as way to interact with other small businesses or people within your industry. Search for existing social media communities in your city and industry. If there aren’t any, be the leader and create a group to start making those connections.

Extend your reach with hashtags.

Grow your impressions by including hashtags in your posts. The key to success for using hashtags—inserting ones that are applicable. It’s definitely tempting (and fun) to randomly come up with your own hashtags. Instead, do your research on which ones are being used most for your industry.

Analyze what’s working.

If you’re noticing a specific strategy is working, repeat and do it again. If you aren’t getting results out of other efforts, try something else by mixing it up. Track and measure your social media success on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis so you can make adjustments in a timely manner. Here are a few metrics to use to measure success:

Amount of reach and engagement (likes, connections, followers, views, subscribers, visitors, etc.) Number of interactions (clicks, comments, retweets, shares, ratings, etc.) Number of conversions (registrations, form completions, phone-in leads, online sales, etc.)

Carson Barnes is the owner of Pizzazz Group, a digital marketing agency in Columbus. Pizzazz Group partners with area businesses to develop digital marketing strategies that not only help them meet, but also exceed their marketing objectives. Learn more about Pizzazz Group at marketingpizzazz.com.

Email: cbarnes@pizzazz-group.com.