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5 Important Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
Social media is becoming a vital part of every company’s marketing strategy. Having a strong social media presence can increase brand awareness, improve your online presence, and drive traffic to your website.
Whether you have yet to implement a social media strategy, or currently operate the business accounts yourself, these tips will help you to increase your understanding of social media and improve your customer engagement across multiple platforms.
1. Decide which platforms you should use
The first decision to make when pursuing social media is deciding which platforms are best for your business. One might assume that being on as many platforms as possible is best, but rather you should focus on where your customers are and place your efforts there.
For example, if your target market is in their sixties, you would be wasting your time maintaining a Twitter account, as this platform is directed towards a younger demographic.
Depending on your industry, you could do a customer survey or poll to determine which platform your customers frequent the most.
It is also important to monitor your competitors and see what accounts they currently have. Doing this will allow you to learn more about the type of engagement they receive and help you determine where you will be the most successful. Knowing what works and what doesn’t work within your industry is valuable knowledge that you can use to your advantage to perfect your own social media strategy.
Once you have decided which platforms are suitable for your business you must then learn the best practices for each platform. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most commonly used social media platforms for businesses, and it is important to have a basic understanding of how they work before you create your accounts.
Best practices for businesses posting on Facebook
Facebook is the most commonly used social media platform; it is safe to say that any small business should create and maintain a Facebook page. This platform is appropriate for all industries as you can post a large variety of content such as videos, multiple images, text, and links to external sites. Facebook also has an option to post “stories” which allows you to share a photo or video that will remain on your page for 24 hours for your followers to view.
- Utilize the tools it gives you. This platform offers many tools to assist small businesses such as Facebook Ads that allow you to target specific audiences based on demographics that you feel would be likely to purchase your product or service. Some of these demographics include age, gender, education level, and interests.
- Track your engagement. When creating a Facebook business page you can track engagement through the number of people who “like” your page. Liking a page simply means that person is showing support of your business and would like to see future content. Once a person likes your page, they automatically start following you, and any posts or updates you make will then show up in their feed.
- Maintain a posting schedule. To maintain this engagement you must remain active on your account and post relevant content. Though there is not a limit for posting, you will need to find a balance between too much and not enough. You will have to gauge this with your audience; you want to keep them interested but not overwhelmed or annoyed.
Best practices for businesses posting on Instagram
Though Instagram is owned by Facebook, the content of these two platforms does vary. Instagram is meant to be a visual platform and requires an image in every post. Whereas the other mentioned platforms will allow text-only posts.
- Utilize Instagram Stories. Through Instagram, you can create posts with images or create a story. Similar to Facebook, Instagram stories can be videos or pictures that stay on your page for 24 hours and are generally used to show live or behind the scenes aspects of your product or service. They are particularly useful for e-commerce businesses as they give you a chance to showcase your products and gain customer feedback through polls and surveys.
- Use high quality photos. Due to the focus on imagery, it is important to post high-quality pictures.
- Add location and keyword hashtags. Add a location and hashtags when appropriate, this will make your posts more discoverable for those outside of your current followers.
- Post regularly. Posting frequently is important, but you must find what is appropriate for your intended audience. You can determine the best posting schedule by monitoring the engagement and interactions that people make with your content.
When deciding on whether to pursue Instagram for your business it is important to note that on this platform you can’t add clickable links within your posts. This is something to consider if you frequently post links to blog posts or podcasts. To share multiple links you can use an outside link service such as Linkin.bio or Linktree.
Best practices for businesses posting on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is another social media platform that is commonly used by small businesses. It is mainly used for B2B, specifically to connect with business professionals in your industry, to seek company updates, or find industry-specific content. This platform is not commonly used to gain new customers.
- Encourage your employees to help. A great way to maximize the use of this platform is through employee advocacy. By having your employees share company updates, your network can expand and your content will reach more people.
- Know how often to post. For this platform, weekly posts are appropriate. Be sure to share relevant content within your area of expertise.
- Use hashtags and popular content. Include hashtags and content created by similar companies. Doing this will boost your engagement and increase traffic to your page as you show support of similar businesses.
- Share job posting. If you have openings in your business, LinkedIn is a great place to share those positions. Share it with your network to find qualified candidates for your business.
Best practices for businesses posting on Twitter
Twitter is the most conversational platform, it is commonly known for more lighthearted posts and can give businesses an outlet to share more witty or laid back content.
- Post frequently. To stay relevant it is recommended that you share content or “retweet” others’ content multiple times a day.
- Keep your posts concise. When posting, you can include images, videos, and outside links, but any text you include in the post is limited to 280 characters. This is something to consider when deciding on creating a twitter account. If you post dense text fairly often, this may not be appropriate for your business.
- Use hashtags and retweet trending topics. People often scroll through their Twitter feed based off of specific hashtags that they follow or topics that they are interested in. Find your audience by using hashtags that are relevant to your industry and retweeting trending topics that you can relate to.
2. Set up your accounts
Once you have decided on the platforms that work best for your business, you will then need to set up your accounts.
Here are some best practices to follow when setting up your accounts:
- Try to make your profile name as close to your business name as possible. This will make it easier for customers to find you when they research your business.
- Add your logo as your profile picture across all platforms, this will help boost brand awareness.
- Make sure your bio or “about” section always includes your website, address, and contact information. This will allow easy navigation for someone to find your Google My Business listing or website if customers are searching for additional information.
- Also keep in mind that because Instagram is owned by Facebook if you connect the accounts, any paid advertising through Facebook will also transfer to your Instagram account. Just make sure that they are connected and both set up as business accounts.
3. Develop your content
Once you have determined the appropriate platforms and have created accounts you need to come up with a content strategy. How do you decide what to post?
Determine your goals
To ensure that your content is effective you should first identify what your goals are with your social media accounts. Are you looking to connect with customers, share helpful resources and information, or inform the market of products and services offered? With the flexibility of social media, it is possible to accomplish many of these objectives simultaneously. Determining these objectives early will help to create more effective content that your audience will find interesting.
Perform a social media audit
If your business already has social media accounts but hasn’t been active recently or is looking to revamp its strategy, an effective way to decide on your content is by performing a social media audit. This involves looking at previous posts and seeing what performed well and what didn’t across each platform. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also allow you to export this type of information directly from the platform. For Facebook, you can find this in the “insights” tab which shows you things such as page views, post reach, and actions on-page. If you are just starting your accounts, then observe the content released by competitors and the type of engagement that they receive. Performing this type of audit before creating any posts will assist you in knowing what content works best across each platform.
Check out this article: 49 Social Media Post Ideas for Your Small Business
4. Create a regular posting schedule
After deciding on the content that you want, it’s important to create a posting schedule. This can be done by taking advantage of social media management tools such as Buffer, SproutSocial, or Hootsuite. These allow you to schedule and monitor your posts across multiple platforms all in one place. Automating the posting process will also take the stress off of you and allow you to focus on other essential business activities.
Why is it important to post regularly on social media?
Think of the last time you were researching a business and pulled up their Facebook page only to find that their most recent post was made over a year ago. What does this make you think? This makes the business seem disconnected and out of date. Though most businesses have a website that offers general information, social media accounts show customers recent events or company updates that help them feel connected to the company.
Though every business will have varying social media goals, it is important to stay consistent and post regularly. From the management tools, you should also be given a report showing the best day and time to post for maximum engagement. Use these reports to your advantage to post at the appropriate time. Remember, consistency is key.
5. Seek to build relationships and stay active!
Once you have created your accounts, decided on content, and developed a posting schedule, you must now stay active. Through your social media channels, you can engage with customers, receive feedback, and build trust between the business and potential customers. By staying consistent and posting frequently, your posts will rise in social media algorithms which increases your exposure and engagement.
Along with posting frequently, it is important to engage with your followers. This can be done by liking any comments you receive, responding to questions, and posting content that promotes customer interaction.
An example of interactive content would be a landscaping company posting a before and after picture of a completed job. This is impressive and people would probably find this interesting.
However, to boost the likelihood of engagement, the post could ask a question such as “What is your favorite part of your yard?” or “What do you do to keep your yard looking its best?” These questions will invite people to respond, and give you a chance to answer! This will build a relationship between the landscaping company and humanize their brand.
This is just one example of how interactive content can help increase engagement across your channels. Depending on your industry you may have to get a little creative in finding content that will promote interaction.
Implementing a strong social media strategy will help your business in many aspects including increased brand awareness, building relationships, and attracting new customers. If you need some help getting started, give Smartly Done Websites a call!
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