How to establish target market research for your small business social media marketing plan
In today’s technology-driven world, online presence is essential to attracting new customers and maintaining current ones.  Like any social media marketing plan, maintaining online presence is a continuous task – your virtual business must evolve along with technology and consumer trends as well as the growth of your company. Here are 4 aspects to focus on to increase online visibility.


Set Social Media Marketing Plan Goals

Determine a concrete objective of your social media marketing plan you want to accomplish for your business. Start small, like “gain 10 new Instagram followers every week.” Focus on little improvements and build from there. With an achievable goal is set, increasing your online presence will be less overwhelming.

Perform Target Market Research to Determine Target Market

First, you must determine who your potential customers are. Consider demographics like age, gender, location, income, and shopping habits.  Who will benefit from your product? Who is likely to use social media in the buying process versus Google?  You can perform your own market research by creating surveys on websites like Survey Monkey. For better results, purchase secondary data, information already obtained by a market research company, to analyze.  Paying a market research company to perform custom research and analysis for you is another option.

Improve SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is essential to your online presence because it determines how easily and frequently your company appears in search results. Make sure the title pages of your website and social media accounts include your company’s name, services (i.e. “candy store” or “tailoring”), and location.  Your contact information should be immediately visible, as search engines pull phone numbers and addresses for their maps and to display on the search page.

Cultivate a Social Media Marketing Plan

Three-quarters of adults online in the U.S. are active on social media, and 75% of them are more likely to purchase after interacting with a business on social media.  Given these facts, social media is indispensable to small businesses.  Most platforms are free to use, offering a cost-effective way to increase visibility and attract customers.  The “social” aspect allows you communicate and form relationships with consumers, also allowing consumers to share your business with others. For successful social media you must post often, lest consumers forget about you!  Be responsive to positive and negative comments.  Get consumers involved by offering incentives for re-tweets, follows, and comments.  Establish your business as part of a community by collaborating with like-minded brands and organizations.  With so many social media platforms at your disposal, this may seem overwhelming.  In that case, pick one or two that your target market is most likely to use, and make them awesome! Remember to stay on brand, check spelling, and maintain a cohesive tone.

Aim for Social Targets

For any business, developing a thorough understanding of the customer base is paramount to formulating a successful social media marketing plan.  Platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, allow you to remotely connect with potential customers on a personal level.  However, in order to maximize efficiency and return, the application must mesh with those customers’ concerns.  The problem many business owners run into is tweeting where they should be pinning.  As recently highlighted by Vladimir Nagin, not all social media platforms share clientele, and businesses with a strong presence on Twitter may be perceived as less serious than businesses with a Facebook page.  Formulating insight into the expectations of your customer base will determine what content to share, and on which networks to share it.

Develop, Strategize, Engage

Once you have established your target market, the personal engagement aspect of your social media marketing plan is ready for implementation.  In the modern world, nearly every market is saturated with businesses offering similar products or services. Businesses that experience growth in this environment are those, which establish and maintain positive customer relationships.  Few strategies forge stronger customer relationships than catering to the specific interests of the customer. One way to do this is by engaging old-fashioned marketing avenues (newspaper, radio, television), determining which ads are impactful to your shared audience, then providing your customers with similar content via social media.  Another method at your disposal is email automation. Companies such as Wishpond have reported 20% increases to their product upgrade business simply by maintaining customer engagement through personalized automated emails. Once this social media market plan has been established and maintained, it translates into a personal relationship with customers and would make Dale Carnegie proud.

Many people remain confused on how to establish target market research for a small business when creating their social media plan.  Following a three-step approach allows you to create a winning strategy.

Step 1: Listen to Your Competition

Ninety percent of all small businesses use social media in their social media marketing plan so it is usually very easy to find out what your competition is doing and over 74 percent say that they get invaluable ideas by scooping out what their competitors are doing. Start by connecting with your competition on Twitter using Twitter’s own list tool to find them. Do not overlook the importance of connecting with leader’s personal accounts too. Industry groups can be a great source to find out what others are talking about in your field. There are many things that you can learn by listening to your competition besides their social media strategy. These include their finding topics that are frequently discussed, understanding their target audience, and learning more about who they view as industry leaders.

Step 2: Plan your Strategy

Now, that you know what the competition is doing it is time to plan your own strategy. Eight out of 10 posts that you make should be non-promotional, such as things that are happening in your neighborhood, introducing the people behind the scenes, or talking about a current event that is impacting your industry. The other two out of 10 posts can directly promote your company. Schedule your small business social media efforts on a calendar.

Step 3: Analyze

No social media marketing plan or content strategy is successful unless you can prove it on paper. Therefore, you should establish goals for your social media marketing that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Use a tool like Google Analytics to track your engagements, conversions, and downloads for your small business social media campaigns.