Social media can be an incredibly useful tool for small businesses. Whether you are looking to connect to your customer base or generate sales, knowing how to properly utilize social media is a skill you should be developing. We put together some tips for small business owners who are looking to grow their online presence.
Know Your Goals
What is the purpose of your social media page? When asked this question, some common answers small business owners give include: to generate leads, build brand awareness, engage with customers or community, drive traffic to the business’s website, and increase sales. These are all great goals, and the next step is to determine what social media platform is the best fit for achieving your specific set of objectives.
Determine Who Your Audience Is
Spend some time reflecting on the age, gender, interests, and goals of the people who frequent your business. Who are they, and what are they seeking? Answering these questions will help you determine where to post content and what kind of content to post. When you take the time to think it out, you are able to offer a social media experience that is truly customized for the audience you have – or the audience you are seeking.
Choose a Platform to Focus On
You’ve determined the purpose of your social media page, and you figured out exactly who your audience is. With this in mind, start thinking about what kind of content your audience is most likely to engage with, and choose one or two platforms to focus your efforts on. The most important thing is to post quality content and to post often, so limiting yourself to one or two platforms will make success easier to achieve.
Different social platforms have different purposes, and each is dominated by a specific type of interaction or content. Facebook prioritizes post interaction, meaning the more people comment and like, the better your posts will do. Facebook features a wide range of content types, including video, photo, and text. In contrast, Instagram is a platform that is overwhelmingly image-driven. Posters may caption their photos or videos, but the text is not emphasized in the same way it would be on Facebook. Another popular social media platform, Youtube is surprisingly versatile. Although it features exclusively video content, with comments optional, content from Youtube (or another video platform such as Vimeo) can be shared to multiple other social media platforms.
Regularly Interact With Your Followers
The best way for businesses to build a trusted following on social media is through interacting with followers regularly and respectfully. This could be anything from liking customers’ posts that mention your business to responding to messages or inquiries in a timely manner. Down-to-earth interactions such as these keep your audience engaged and help them to think of you less as a business and more as a friend.
It’s also important to note that more time should be spent on interacting with customers than on promoting products or services. This may sound strange, but customers are actually more likely to unfollow a business that posts promotional material too often. By maintaining human interactions and getting on your customers’ level, so to speak, you can grow to better understand them. Your familiar presence online will also drive them to visit you in person.
Learn to Automate or Delegate
There is a number of programs available that make the work of operating social media for a business easier. These programs will keep track of all your content and let you schedule it at one time to be automatically posted for days or weeks to come. If you are running a larger operation and are active on several social media platforms, an automation system would be especially beneficial, but it can be used by smaller operations as well.
The busiest business owners should consider delegating the task of posting or even using a third party such as an agency to handle social media. If you are keeping your social media management internal but don’t have a designated social media coordinator, rotate team members through the position of poster from week to week. This can keep the content fresh and helps your team learn new skill sets.
Keep Your Business Insurance Updated
No matter how many followers your page has, the unexpected can still happen to your business. Make sure you have all the coverage you need by regularly reviewing with your insurance agent.