There was a time (not too long ago, in fact) when some experts considered social media a passing fad that wasn’t worth the time it took to get to know it. Fast forward in warp speed, and here we are, living in a world where nearly three-quarters of Americans use at least one social media site on a regular basis. As more Americans have adopted the use of social platforms, the demographics represented by social media users have also changed widely, now including everyone from young children to seniors, and everyone in between.
How do these numbers relate to small business marketing? Well, for starters, business leaders have a greater chance to get their brands in front of the largest audiences ever possible thanks to the internet and social media in particular. Of course, success doesn’t happen overnight, and it can’t take place without a little guidance from experts. Lucky for you, we’ve gathered up these social media tips for small businesses to help you along your journey.
13 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
Okay, you gather that social media is an important tool in your overall marketing toolbox. But, knowing that it is important doesn’t exactly explain how to use it properly. Don’t worry! These 13 tips will help you along the way.
1. Start with a Plan
This may seem obvious on paper, but it’s not uncommon for small business leaders to rush off into the great unknown cyber world, only to realize defeat or get in over their heads because there wasn’t a plan in place. Like anything else, in order to be successful, you need to come up with goals and objectives so you can actually measure positive and negative results. If you don’t have a solid foundation to work from, you won’t really know if your efforts are working or not.
- Create goals using the SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) framework
- Research your competition
- Conduct a social media audit if you’re already using social media
- Get inspired by what other businesses are doing online
- Create a social media calendar
2. Pick Your Platforms
It’s also important to choose your platforms wisely. Don’t just assume your best bet will be the most popular social media sites. Instead, look at the data. Do you think you should ignore Facebook because your target market is millennials? Guess what? 84% of millennials still use this platform. Each platform has its own distinct demographics and best practices. Do your research to determine which channels will be optimal for your unique business.
You don’t need to have an account on every possible social media platform. In fact, we’d highly advise against it, particularly when you’re just starting out. Instead, pick one or two primary channels—those where you’ll dedicate the majority of your energy and efforts. Then choose one or two secondary channels—those that are good to have a presence on, but it’s not a necessity to be consistently posting new content on.
3. Set Up Your Profiles Completely
As mentioned, each platform has its own best practices. In order to put your best foot forward, consider watching the videos offered by the platforms’ creators so you can get social media tips for small businesses straight from the mouths of the people who designed each channel. It’s important to showcase brand consistency by carefully choosing a profile and cover photo that are representative of your company.
Also, be sure each profile is complete and provides accurate business information.
4. Set Goals and Expectations
We touched on this above, but it’s worth mentioning again. Your goals need to be specific and attainable. If they’re not attainable, what’s the point in creating them in the first place? You shouldn’t set vague goals or those that are too outlandish to actually accomplish. Instead, set a clear timeframe in which you want to achieve X, Y, and Z. Additionally, each goal needs to be supported by a plan that will guide you towards success.
5. Pick Your Content
Strive for balance between content that bolsters your brand and promotional content and that which is engaging and informational. You need to know your brand’s voice so you can speak to your target audience in a way that resonates with the people who are most likely to buy your products and services.
Think about the way your consumers talk. Which words and phrases do they use? What is their educational background? How can you impart your brand into your messaging? These are all elements your target audience will consider as they’re reading your signature voice.
6. Create a Calendar
Your social media calendar will help you post the right content to the appropriate channels when it’ll make the most sense for your audience. Make sure your calendar includes a plan for your entire content mix, starting with the 80/20 rule. In other words, use 80% of your content to provide information or entertainment to your potential customers while the other 20% is used to promote your brand.
7. Think About How You’re Using Visuals
Photos and videos are essential parts of a great social media marketing strategy, but are you using them correctly? Compelling videos can help engage your audience because consumers expect to experience visual components when they’re using their social media apps. Be mindful of which social media channels you’re using. For instance, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat are visual-first networks. That means your visual content needs to be stop-scrolling-worthy in order for you to get the most attention possible.
8. Start Conversations
Come up with creative ways to reach out to your audience. Leverage your social channels by creating conversations with people who are already talking about the products and services you offer. Provide a little how-to advice or offer up some expertise that they may not have gotten anywhere else. A little tidbit here and there can go a long way when you’re trying to build brand awareness and trust with your potential customers. The important thing to remember is that you aren’t selling. You’re there to offer advice and assistance first and foremost.
There are tools available that let you see who’s talking about your local business so you can build relationships with like-minded people.
9. Listen and Engage with Your Followers
It’s absolutely imperative that you interact with your audience on social. This means several things, though. First, you need to monitor your online mentions across the internet and respond to them accordingly. Second, you need to make sure you’re not forgetting about the people who message you directly on social. Both of these elements are vital if you want your brand to be seen as reputable and trustworthy amongst your audience.
Be careful not to only reply to followers who have glowing things to say about your brand; it’s just as important to respond to negative comments in ways that bring your business back into a positive light. Remember, the whole world is watching.
10. Build Relationships with Other Local Businesses
Social media isn’t all about monitoring your competitors’ behaviors; you can build a lot of great relationships with people who can facilitate your customer-building prowess. For example, let’s say you’re a plumber. It would make sense to connect with Realtors, home builders, electricians, and roofers because, in the end, your client base is the same group of people, but you’re not competing with one another.
By building relationships with other local businesses, you can share the wealth and outreach to area customers without cannibalizing your own marketing efforts.
11. Show Appreciation for Your Customers
Consumers are more likely to patronize brands that appreciate their support. You can be that kind of brand by engaging with your followers at every opportunity and showcasing the ways your customers change the life of your business. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions, likes, dislikes, and preferences. Every bit of information you glean from your customer base can help you create better marketing materials going forward.
Look for ways to include your base in your advertising efforts with things like unique hashtags, special competitions and giveaways, or promotions that invite your audience to share photos and stories about your company.
12. Review Your Analytics
Once the fun is done, the real work begins. You’ve set metrics in place, and you have goals. Now, how do you know how you’re doing with all of your efforts? You have to check in with the numbers.
When it comes to social media marketing, you should always be learning. Trends will change and people’s preferences will wane, so it’s important to stay on top of what’s working and what’s not. When you stay on top of the analytics, you can fine-tune your campaigns in real-time so you don’t miss out on opportunities to drive people into your sales funnel.
13. Spy on Your Competitors
Always be on the lookout for what similar businesses are posting, talking about, or doing to engage their audiences. You shouldn’t only pay attention to the successful companies in your area, however; it’s also important to stay apprised of the behaviors of those businesses that aren’t doing so well so you can adjust your strategies accordingly. This can help you avoid unnecessary trial and error.
Manage Your Social Media with an All-in-One Platform
Save time posting content to not only social media but your online presence as a whole with Surefire Local. Our platform lets you create and schedule content across your website, blog, local business listings, as well as social media platforms, all from one place. You can save and organize your photos in the platform’s cloud-based library that’s accessible to everyone, from anywhere. The Surefire Local Marketing Platform leverages machine learning to analyze engagement metrics to gauge which content resonates most with your community and generate action-items that help you get better in the right areas of your marketing. If you’re ready to get started, request a demo today!