It’s worth spending time identifying broad social media trends as well as the people you plan on targeting.

Here are a few ways to use the various social media channels available today to your advantage.

“Social media provides a cost-effective platform for small businesses to reach their target audience. If you have an acute understanding of who your market is, their interests, hobbies and age group, then social media can be extremely powerful,” says Peta Shulman, founder and director of GoodnessMe Box – a health food subscription box designed to get people excited about eating clean by nourishing their body with pure wholefoods.

During the early launch stages, instead of rolling out an ad hoc social media campaign, the team first focused on understanding trends across a range of networks throughout Australia, as well as their typical user, in order to draw up an effective strategy.

Here are three simple steps to apply when formulating your own social media efforts:

1. Find out where your audience is on social media

It’s worth spending time identifying broad social media trends as well as the people you plan on targeting.

“More than half of the Australian population use social media on a weekly basis and 40% visit a social media platform once a day,” says Schulman. “However, research continues to show that the platforms are being used for different purposes with 95% of Australian social media users on Facebook and 24% on Instagram.”

As Instagram is a visual marketplace its users have more of a shopping drive and are more likely to purchase products online, says Shulman. In contrast, while Facebook advertising can be effective, reports have shown that users’ primary motivation is to connect with friends and family, she says.

2. Build your brand message

Social media also provides SMEs with creative freedom by giving them opportunity to express their brand personality and soul, says Schulman, noting it’s just one of the ways a business can use content to connect with customers.

“We have specifically chosen to master two social media platforms, as managing these networks is time consuming and requires hard work.”

Twitter has been beneficial for communicating with other brands and for responding to customers quickly, but can be more fleeting when it comes to sharing information or driving sales.

On the other hand, Instagram is highly effective because GoodnessMe Box’s target market, females aged between 18-36, is largely using this platform.

“Food is visual and needs to appeal to all of the senses. Our customers view the GoodnessMe Box Instagram as a canvas. It helps us create the picture of ‘wellness’ as aspirational because we’re providing our community an outlet to get creative in the kitchen.”

3. Engage with customers directly

“Another advantage is the ability to interact with your customers and show them the business is listening to them to make them feel valued. It is an ideal medium for cost-effective customer feedback critical to enable the business to grow, innovate and experiment,” says Schulman.

In order to form authentic and reciprocal relationships with their customers, the team shares their creations daily to show they value their online community.

“For example, today we have over 50,000 health-conscious followers on Instagram but, even more importantly, we can see how engaged and interactive they are.”

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