When you think about social media, the options almost seem endless. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Snapchat, you might have two even six social media channels depending on your age and interest. 

That same idea goes for businesses too. As a business owner, chances are you’re trying to figure out what social media accounts to use and how. 

  • Will Snapchat get you new business? Yes.
  • Is Facebook trying to limit who views my page? Very much, YES. 
  • Can Instagram get me new customers? Maybe.

There are so many questions that it’s easy to forget how new social media is. It’s completely changed what we know as marketing in just one short decade. 

When Did Social Media Start? 

Social media truly dates back to 1995 with a website called “Six Degrees.” However, what we know as social media didn’t start until later. After all, Mark Zuckerberg was only 11 in 1995!

In fact, all of the social media networks that you are familiar with started in the 2000s and 2010s anywhere from 18 to as little four years ago. With that, it’s even harder to remember that social media marketing on those sites didn’t take off until more recently in the 2010s. 

The Brief History of Social Media Marketing

Some will say digital marketing started long before social media, and they’d be right. Things like email marketing and even the occasional website ad or sponsored post put money-making onto the internet well before social media. 

However, it was social media that took everything to the next level. In 2006, Facebook went from a Harvard only thing to an “everyone” thing. From that point on, businesses could create pages. Then in 2007, Mark Zuckerberg started what we know as Facebook Ads – launching social media marketing as we know today. 

Changes to Digital Marketing

In the years that have followed, we’ve seen 90% of marketing executives take to social media as one of their primary marketing channels paid or unpaid. Many big businesses have a dedicated social media manager that tracks social networks, strategies, and the target audience on each. 

In the biggest business, you might even see each social media account with a unique content marketing strategy and its own account manager. For companies like this, think Nike, active social media use can break or make their business millions almost overnight. 

Changes to Small Businesses Due to Social Media Marketing Services

While big business has been able to take advantage of social media since the very beginning, it’s been harder for smaller firms to dedicate so much time to something that may or may not pay off. As the years passed, social media services started popping up in the form of agencies. 

These service providers enabled business owners to have a social media strategy, create social media posts, and watch real-time analytics and performance without taking time out of their already busy day. 

More recently, things have gotten more accessible than ever before. Now business owners that can’t afford an agency can hire a freelancer or even do everything themselves. While freelancers work just like agencies, they often cost much less. 

On the other hand, automated programs can help with the creation of online marketing strategies so that the owner has to do as little as possible.  

How to Use Social Media Platforms in 2020

With all that history, you can easily see that things will still change rapidly in 2020. Each of these changes will affect your business’s social media marketing strategy in ways that no one can yet predict. That said, some options are available to you to maximize social media’s effectiveness in this new decade. 

Start Being Social

If you’ve yet to join social media, now is better than never. It’s highly recommended that your business a least start with Facebook. However, other platforms will depend on your needs and what your company does.

Instagram

If your business is visually based, then this platform could be great for you. While it’s much harder to convert customers to a website, companies with a visually appealing product or location can easily find new customers here.  

LinkedIn

Business to professional or business to business companies should look into LinkedIn. This is a space for professionals to connect and for companies to find professional customers that are looking for help or networking. Complementary services do exceptionally well networking here and forming partnerships. 

Twitter

As the most people-oriented social network, you have to stand out to make it on Twitter. Companies like Netflix and Wendy’s show that spunk and creativity can get recognition and therefore lead to more sales and customers. 

Pinterest

If you have a blog, cook, or make a “pretty” product, this is a perfect site. As a space where images take you to other websites, converting from Pinterest to your site is easy. Cooks and writers should use Pinterest without a doubt.

Share Your Stuff

When you’re on social media, you need to do more. Just “being there” will not be enough to get your customers and an audience. If you don’t know what to say, think about sharing your thoughts through posts and pictures. 

You can also talk about what your business is up to, what the industry or area is up to, or just what the store cat did today. If you write blog posts on your site, share those so that your social fans can stay up to date as well!

Talk to Customers

When someone comments or messages, make sure you take the time to respond. When a follower interacts with your brand, they are reaching out to connect. If you connect back, you are one step closer to a dedicated consumer or client. 

If you’re looking for ways to get people to comment and message, think about asking questions when you create posts. Ask what they want in a new product or what they have been doing this holiday season. Use their responses to start a conversation. 

Don’t Oversell

As the last social media growth tip, don’t oversell your brand. If you’re posting three times a week, you should only post about yourself (a promotional post) once every other week. Your social channels exist not to make you money but to grow your recognition and provide advice to your potential customers. 

If they like what they get from you on social media, they’ll be more likely to buy your product or service when the time comes. If you always ask them to buy without giving them something first, they’ll be inclined to unfollow you and move on. 

Looking for Social Media Marketing Services? 

If you’re looking for social media marketing services, then look no further than Helianthus Advising. We are a social media group that helps nonprofits and social enterprises grow their following and reach more people. 

All you have to do to connect is click the yellow Messenger icon at the bottom of the page! We’ll chat and have a free 30-minute consultation to talk about your needs.