http://www.digitaljournal.com/internet/small-businesses-need-a-strategy-to-advertise-on-social-media/article/546221

Small businesses need a strategy to advertise on social media

Posted Mar 26, 2019 by Karen Graham
With nearly half the world's population wired to the Internet, it follows that businesses use social media sites for advertising. But without a clear strategy in place, many small businesses are wasting their time online, says one digital strategist.
Facebook  Twitter and other social media apps.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media apps.
CHANDAN KHANNA, AFP/File
With 77 percent of Americans online, technology's ever-pervading presence now does the most basic of tasks, from hailing a ride to ordering a meal. With so much being advertised on the Internet today, it is no wonder that 29 percent of small businesses opt out of using online marketing as a tool, citing not having enough time and resources.
Digital strategist Kim Scaravelli says that a small business that has a poor experience with online advertising may just need to rethink who their audience first. In other words, it is always a good idea to know who you want to engage.
"If your people are on Facebook, be on Facebook," Scaravelli told NEWS95.7's The Todd Veinotte Show in Halifax. "LinkedIn is my number one go-to because that's where the people that are making decisions on digital marketing are."
Scaravelli also dashes everyone's ideas that advertising on social media is free. Even the small $7.00 fee on Facebook to boost posts can add up very fast. "You'll start boosting posts and purchasing ads, and you get into the really murky world of maybe even buying followers so you look a little more popular," she says.
Scaravelli, who is also the owner of Trust Communications Inc., a digital marketing agency, said the primary objective for small businesses is building brand awareness, and "Social media will not replace a really good website." She adds, "I've seen smaller companies with Instagram accounts, Twitter accounts, Facebook accounts, but if you Google search them, they wouldn't show up."
LinkedIn has over 467 million registered members  according to its website
LinkedIn has over 467 million registered members, according to its website
Justin Sullivan, Getty/AFP/File
A good marketing plan
A good marketing plan needs to be all-encompassing, and not just rely on social media. "There are a lot of other options for marketing your business online," Scaravelli says. "Social media isn't free, it isn't easy, and it eats up a huge amount of your time."
One option is LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is known as the social network for professionals, a keystone to any good B2B social media marketing strategy,” said Erica Hakonson, principal and founder of Maven Collective Marketing.
B2B (business-to-business), also known as e-biz, is the exchange of products, services or information (aka e-commerce) between businesses, rather than between businesses and consumers. It is also an excellent place to get your business profile out.
Another excellent source for getting your company recognized is Google. When someone is looking for the nearest pet shop, they will Google it first. Not only can they find the business, but the business’ profile will typically appear on the right-hand side of the results, either associated with the company searched or related to the general industry the user is interested in.
The bottom line? It is not easy for a small business to get noticed online, especially with the increasing popularity of marketing online. Just make sure you have a plan before proceeding any further. "Unless you have a clear marketing strategy in place, you probably have no idea whether you are actually getting any return on your investment," she says.