Small business owners have known for a long time that one of the cheapest, most effective forms of inbound marketing occurs on social media. It's a great way to reach customers where they are, develop a strong sense of customer needs, and enhance relationships with customers.

For many small business owners, it's the perfect platform for getting the word out about their business. In 2016 and beyond, however, many small businesses will discover more ways to make the most out of their social media strategies than ever before.The Future of Social Media for Small Businesses

Developing Goals

A staggering number of survey respondents admitted that they had no idea whether or not Facebook marketing was achieving their goals: only one out of three small business owners surveyed by Social Media Examiner characterised their Facebook marketing strategies--and therefore the bulk of their social media marketing--as "effective." 

What does that mean for the future of social media marketing? Savvy small business owners will learn more about what it means to fully develop their social media marketing plans. They'll learn to set quantifiable goals and measure whether or not they're able to achieve those goals through their social media strategies. They'll learn to test their social media approach, post with the appropriate frequency to reach the largest audience, and find new ways to engage with their customers through their social media presence. Small business owners must wear many hats, and with Facebook advertising only increasing, "social media marketing professional" will quickly become one of them.

Choosing the Right Platform

Facebook is the obvious choice for most small business owners. It's easy to use, simple to understand, and the largest social media platform, with more than one and a half billion active users every month. B2B marketing professionals, on the other hand, tend to prefer LinkedIn, with its more professional set-up and better access to professionals in the same field. Small business owners will, over the next few years, start to better understand the way each social media platform works and how to improve their outreach efforts by using the most effective platforms for their businesses. 

Highly visual businesses with regular images or products to show off will embrace the power of Instagram--especially if their target audience falls into the millennial age range. Businesses that offer a range of tutorials or info graphics will love the power of Pinterest. With a shorter range of characters but greater frequency, many small business owners love the ease and convenience of Twitter. The trick? Finding the platform that works best for each business. 

When a platform simply isn't working, there's nothing wrong with leaving it in favour of a more effective one! Small business owners are already short on time. There's no reason to continue to pour time and energy into a platform that isn't working the way it should be--and every reason to turn to a platform that more effectively meets the business's needs. 

Increased Video

Many small business owners may struggle with the fact that video is becoming the preferred tool for many social networking sites. Because video demands more of the individual creating it, it may feel like a clunky and ineffective tool for business owners who are short on time. That doesn't, however, change the fact that video is becoming increasingly necessary for many markets. A catchy video is more likely to go viral than the best blog post a business owner can come up with--and it's much more likely to resonate and stick with customers long after they've seen it. 

Finding the right path to understanding social media marketing can be perilous. Many small business owners, however, are discovering that it's critical to stay on top of this trend to reach customers to the best of their ability.

Want to learn more about social media marketing and how it has the power to affect your business? Looking for help with managing your marketing strategies? Contact us today.

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