AKRON — Social media is an important tool to small business marketing. It's been said over and over again.
As a business owner, you ponder what sites to be on and what to do with them. Being active on each site that you have an account on is important. However, knowing what to post is just as, if not, more important. As with any part of your business, your social media presence should have a point to it. Whether that goal is to have your tire shop be more appealing to younger demographics, female customers, or to be a resource of educational tools, you should be leveraging your presence toward something.
Here are some quick tips a business can follow to understanding and targeting your audience:
- Have a goal: As stated above, having a plan is key. You cannot just post things to your social media accounts and call it a day. Once you have a goal, you need to take steps to achieve it. For instance, if your goal is to reach younger demographics by using social media, you cannot just post to Facebook once or twice a week and think that is enough.
More older demographics are signing onto Facebook — especially among the 65 and up crowd — and younger demographics are getting involved with other platforms. So if you are just posting to Facebook, chances are you are not reaching the younger demographics that you are hoping to reach.
At the top of this blog is a “Resources” section, which includes social media platforms that are on the rise, statistics on demographics currently using the most popular sites, and some additional tips for finding the right audience. If you were going to do a print ad campaign or buy new equipment at the shop, you would know your objective and find the steps to take to meet it. Treat this the same way.
- Look to see what's already there: One way to tell if you are hitting your target demographics is to spend time looking at who is already following you. For instance, on Facebook you can easily see what demographics are following you. On your business homepage, there is an ellipsis next to the “share” button that pulls up a menu when you click on it.
If you select “View Insights” it will take you to information from page likes to engagement. There are also tabs near the top for additional information. The “People” tab breaks down all the demographics. You can see age, gender, language, country, etc. You can tell right there is you are hitting the demographics that you are aiming for. If you are not, it's time to sit back and think about how you can alter what you are doing to meet those objectives.
- What does the competition do?: While you cannot see the breakdown of your competition's demographics like you can with your own page, you can see who is engaging with them and what they are posting. If you go to your competition's page, look to see what posts have engagement.
If your main competitor is having a huge sale at their shop, do you know about it? What do you do with that information? While you probably don't just have the same exact sale, you can learn and adapt. If your competition is reaching the demographic you are looking to reach, see what kinds of posts they are making and how they differ from w hat you are doing. Don't be a clone and copy them, but use it as a learning tool.
This can also be helpful if you are trying to determine what social media sites to be on. If you were on the fence about creating a business Instagram page, but you see your competitor is successful on the site, that may ease your decision-making process.
- Speak to customers in house: This is the opposite thought of everything above. Looking up who is following you online and building a social media presence so that you can gain new followers is important. However, why not ask the people who are already your customers what social media sites they participate on? The tire and automotive aftermarket is a service industry, so friendly chatter is occurring at your shop everyday anyway. Seize the opportunity to get gain knowledge about what they are interested in and then apply it online.
- Utilize what you learn and adapt when necessary: Learning younger demographics are active on social media sites like Instagram and YouTube is helpful. But then what? If your goal is to reach younger demographics, then do something to reach them.
Additionally, if you do start branching out onto new sites, first look at how successful posts are done. For instance, Instagram can have many hashtags and that is perfectly acceptable. Other social media sites' posts are most successful with just a few hashtags.
Basically, if you are putting in the time and effort to be on social media, why not be as effective as possible? Make a plan, put it into action. Social media is ever-changing so go back and check to see if your plan is working, then regularly update and adjust it as needed.