Of late, social media has gone from a new idea to an absolute necessity for businesses and marketers.
It seems outlandish to even imagine a time when social media wasn’t an integral part of growing small businesses. Many entrepreneurs continue to struggle with the best ways to use social media to promote their business and engage their audience, while others are gaining confidence and acing their social media skills
If you have a small business and haven’t bought into the social media craze, then guess what? Being in the dark is no longer an option. Whether you like it or not, people in the online world are talking about your company. You will lose your customers if you do not engage in conversation.
With older outbound marketing strategies out the window, it’s time to hop on the new media marketing platform – social media.
Getting started on social media for a small business can be intimidating, to ease you into the process here are a few useful tips to get you going.
1. Start with a plan
A good plan is the foundation of every business and social media marketing for small businesses is no different.
But don’t be tempted to dive in and post just about anything. You need a clear-cut, well-devised plan. Without a plan, you will be unaware of what you are attempting to accomplish with your posts, and you will not be able to measure and deduce if you are reaching your target.
A well-thought-out social media plan from the get-go will ensure that your effort supports the end goal.
2. Choose the right platform
Since Facebook went public in 2012, social media has exploded. There are thousands of networks out there which have their own objectives – finding jobs, connecting old classmates, and anything else under the sun.
With a plethora of options that exist currently, as a small business, how can you zero in on the right platform? Most expert’s advice small businesses to join the four most popular ones. You can deduce which is right for you based on where your target audience hangs out, your goals and other such criteria.
Tip: You can use different channels to meet varied business goals or communicate with diverse audiences.
3. Ensure your content plan keeps your audience in mind and engages them
For success with social media engagement, it’s crucial to know your audience because their needs and interests will ascertain what type of content you should share to engage your followers.
If you are a coffee roastery, your audience will probably be interested in brewing tips and techniques, coffee drinks and other related topics.
No matter your audience, you should post high-quality, relevant content.
Tip: Post as much visual content as possible, it’s prevalent amidst all audiences and demographics.
Merely posting high-quality content will not necessarily get you the results you are looking for. Along with this, you need to engage with your audience. Engaging and connecting with your audience is the only way to build a relationship and gain their trust.
Comments, making conversation, sharing user-generated content, showing appreciation for customers, addressing criticisms and complaints, posting and answering questions are a few ways of engaging with your audience.
4. Create a content calendar
Scurrying around at the last moment to create posts will result in low-quality content.
What follows the absence of content organization is a lull in your presence on a platform or repeated posts.
A social media calendar will help you dodge these blunders and create more effective posts. You can also develop strategies and goals and track your progress towards meeting them.
A calendar includes planning your posts in advance, complete with images, links, hashtags, etc
Tip: A ready calendar will help you schedule posts which will automatically publish, saving you a lot of time!
5. Maintain a constant presence with a consistent voice
Do not think of social media as a one time affair. For a reliable presence, it takes patience and time.
Yes, you can eventually use automation tools which will reduce the amount of time you spend on social media, but you need a minimum of 15 minutes a day to respond to conversation and questions and monitor your channels.
If you maintain a consistent tone, your audience will be able to relate to your brand. This helps in brand building and recognition. Make sure everyone who uses your social media accounts are aware of the brand’s voice and the image that you would like to present.
6. Monitor and track your progress
Every month, the number of users on popular platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are only growing.
Once you put your social media strategy into action, it’s essential to track what works and what doesn’t so that you can tweak and make improvements to your efforts to boost results.
Each platform comes with its own analytical tools which you can make use of – they will help you track whatever metrics you want and give you a clear picture of your social media efforts.
Once your strategy is working, you can aim at different goals and better results.
In conclusion, size doesn’t matter
It doesn’t matter whether your business is small or an up and coming startupl, social media is a proven way which helps you connect with your audience, increase brand awareness, reach new potential customers and so much more.
If at first, it seems overwhelming, scale down. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do it all. Start small with one or two platforms, take on a more focused approach, and build your efforts over time.
Social media marketing is quite simple when broken down. It will all start to make sense when you begin to focus your efforts, use the right channel to reach the right people and in the process, generate goodwill.
When you are clear about what you want, you can achieve just about anything; the sky’s the limit!