Despite their disadvantage in terms of manpower and financial resources, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can match or overtake larger corporations’ online visibilitywith an effective social media marketing strategy. In an age where there are approximately 2.5 billion users on social media (and the number is expected to reach three billion before 2021), it is necessary for all businesses to have an online presence.

If you are an SME with few locations, those billions may mean nothing to you if you can’t attract the few thousand potential customers within your area. You cannot attract customers simply by creating a Facebook page and waiting for the clicks to roll in. It is not an overnight process and takes weeks or months to create an effective social media campaign.

To determine the success of your social media account, you can look at it two ways: from the conversion rates that tell you how much sales your campaign is bringing you; or a successfully established branding that increases your network of customers and provides long-term loyalty as you stand out memorably compared to other competitor pages. Targeting social media users more likely to buy from your business will cost money, and both can help determine if your marketing expenses provide a good ROI.

 

Conversion Rates

One way of finding your social media campaign’s effectiveness lies in its conversion rate. For example, after you have launched a social media campaign, you have earned 100 more sales than the average within a month. This means you have a hundred conversions or the number of people who convert from a customer browsing your site to a paying customer.

Not all of your social media page visitors, however, will buy your product. Let’s say within that same month you had 500 visitors. Dividing the number of conversions by your total visitors, you have a 20 percent conversion rate, or 20 percent of your visitors are more likely to make a purchase.

These rates are important to know because an active online presence is only a goal; the real endgame is to attract more customers, increase sales, and see returns from the investment you put into your social media expenses. Your page’s conversion rate allows you to track your performance, gauge your success, and find areas you can improve.

The higher your conversion rate is, the higher your sales are and the more you can justify your budget for advertising on social media. Compared to other means of reaching out to potential customers (i.e. email, search engines, ads, etc.), the average social media conversion rate stands at around 0.71 percent. It’s relatively low, but maybe instead of looking at it as a way to make sales, consider how social media can increase your network of potential customers and improve your branding.

 

Branding & Reaching Out to Customers

Another way of looking at your social media campaign’s effectiveness is through how successful you have established your business’ branding. Although you won’t be looking at sales, you will be looking at how many customers you are reaching and how your social media network extends.

TakeWendy’s Twitter account for example, which has established a distinct brand by picking fights with competitorssuch as Burger King and McDonald’s. It’s not advertising their products, but it is delivering a unique brand personality that stands out among its competitors that follow a formal format. Wendy’s, therefore, provides a sense of authenticity, realness, and responsiveness.

While we can’t put branding into a number the way conversion rates can, it is a great way to expand your target audience by creating a network of loyal and long-term consumers.

 

Which Social Media Is the Most Effective?

Establishing a successful social media campaign also includes the site you use to establish your business. One mistake many SMEs do is try to create a presence in social media sites that do not have their target buyers. It may be a waste of time and resources trying to establish your business on all sites. Instead, focus on sites that are more likely to be used by your target customer.

An industrial concrete company, for example, will want to reach out to real estate corporations, land developers, and other businesses that use tons of concrete for their infrastructure. Facebook may be a safe option, being the website with the highest amount of active users. However, if you want to connect with business contacts, you may see more results building your business page on websites such as LinkedIn, where related businesses and industry members can connect with each other. On the other hand, it is not a good idea to start a page on Instagram, where the site hosts users more interested in aesthetics and visual appeal.

 

SMEs that do not take advantage of social media may be leaving money on the table. By failing to reach out to more customers, they are giving way for other SMEs and larger companies to widen their reach and market themselves in an avenue where many potential customers will find them.

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