I don’t have to tell you twice that going online to conduct business and engage customers have become an increasingly popular practice. Because of this, digital marketing and social media marketing has become a requisite part of doing business for small and large companies alike. However, according to a survey on small business’ digital marketing habits, less than half of small businesses (44%) engage in digital marketing.

I took a look at the findings and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

How to Develop a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

1.) Test Different Tactics To Find What Works Best For Your Company

Successful social media marketing strategies vary based on business type, priorities, and goals.

For example, a business-to-business (B2B) focused company will use social media differently than a business-to-community (B2C) company. The business’ products and services, as well as its desired audience also factor into a social media marketing strategy.

Because there’s no one-size-fits-all digital strategy, it is important to test and scale different tactics based on which ones provide positive results for your company.

The first thing I would suggest for a small business is to find out what is working and what is giving them a positive ROI. Then, they can increase their spending in a certain area or change their strategy based on their most successful tactics. They have to make sure their strategy continues to work, but there’s room to add and test new tactics in order to reach new customers.

2.) Understand How All Digital Marketing Tactics Complement Each Other

Digital marketing spans a variety of tactics, including search engine optimization (SEO), website and mobile app usage, social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. Significantly, each tactic complements the other.

While the array of tactics may seem daunting at first — especially to a small business operating on a tight budget — implementing all of the strategies at the same time is not necessary.

You can’t do everything all at once, but it’s important to understand how everything works.

3.) Strategy is Key

Jumping into digital marketing without establishing a clear plan that includes an objective, budget, and metrics, limits a business’ chances of being effective at digital marketing.

The majority of small businesses don’t have a strategy. They try things they think might work, but without a planned strategy, their efforts are not measurable. Something that seems ineffective actually could have immense benefits with just a little tweak.

Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses: A Case Study

For most small businesses, social media marketing is the starting point for their digital strategy. In fact, nearly 60 percent of small businesses currently engage in social media, and nearly 75 percent say they plan to implement a social strategy by 2017 or later, according to the Clutch study.

Source: Clutch study includes date from 352 Small Businesses with 1-5000 employees
Source: Clutch study includes date from 352 Small Businesses with 1-5000 employees

When it comes to launching a social media strategy, what advice should small businesses keep in mind?

While it is encouraging to see more than half of small businesses doing social media, it is important to distinguish between effective and ineffective approaches.

I see a lot of small businesses using social media, but they’re doing it the wrong way.

Social media marketing is about more than just generating sales. Rather, small businesses have to build a community of potential customers, gain their trust, and then give them useful information and resources. The sales and leads will come in turn.

With social media marketing, you are creating communities that you can sell to. But, as a small business, you have to be careful that your desire to sell your products and services does not overpower your initiatives to build these communities.

I also suggest creating and sharing resources, such as success stories, case studies, and reviews, to educate your audience and organically attract them to your brand.

Therefore, crafting a social media strategy is key.

I think the biggest thing for small business to recognize is that if they dabble and they just stick their toe into the social media world they usually do more harm than good.