No matter what industry or business sector you are in, it’s hard to ignore the potential reach of social media. Currently, 44 million people in the UK are active on social media websites, which is an astounding 66% of the population. So if you want to attract new customers and reach a bigger audience then your business needs to be active on social media. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the top strategies for small businesses.
Put together a plan
Seriously, before you dive into social media you need to put together a plan for your business. Some of the things that you’ll want in your plan include:
- Goals and objectives – by setting real-world goals you’ll be able to measure the performance of your social media campaign and work towards hitting targets that are aligned with those of your business.
- Conduct a social media audit – whether you already have accounts setup or don’t during a social media audit you should be looking at your competitors and seeing how their profiles compare to yours.
- Identify areas for improvement – once you’ve worked out which areas your competitors do well in you can look to create or improve on your own social media accounts.
- Setup a social media calendar – not only does a social media calendar help you to stay focused but it also helps you plan out your strategy and work towards your business goals.
Choose the right platform
Depending on the goals of your business and your target audience you’ll want to pick the social media platforms that are most closely aligned with your business. And while it can be tempting to lump all your social media activity together, in order to succeed you’ll need to develop a strategy for each platform that you want to target.
Facebook – Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will know all about Facebook and know that it is the biggest social media network in the world. If you don’t know where to start then this should be your go-to platform.
Twitter – With tweets limited to 280 characters, Twitter is a platform that works well for businesses if they are able to actively engage with followers and keep their fingers on the pulse.
Instagram – If your business is in the fashion or beauty industry then chances are you’ll already know all about Instagram. To be successful on Instagram you need to have share-worthy content.
LinkedIn – For building connections and networking with other professionals, LinkedIn is the place to go. Setup a company page and make sure you’re getting involved in groups in your niche.
Focus on your customers
Nobody likes the person that only talks about themselves and the same is true about companies on social media. Instead of constantly promoting your products and services take time to curate content based on your audience and what they want. Use the 80/20 rule which means that only 20% of the content that you post should be self-promotional.
Use images, videos and graphics
All of the social media platforms have become increasingly visual, so if you want to make an impact then you need to be using good quality images to support your content. Images and video have a much higher engagement rate than text-only posts so make sure you are using them to their full advantage on your social media campaigns.
Less is more
While it’s true that you need to post regularly on social media to help build engagement this should not be done at the expense of the quality of your posts. Focus on the quality of your content and make sure you use your social media calendar to help properly schedule your social posts.
Make your content all about your customers and share information that helps solve their problems, makes their life easier or entertains them. Remember the 80/20 rule and give your audience content that is of value to them without promoting your business.
Save time by using tools
Time is one of the most valuable resources for small businesses and these social media tools can help automate some of the more time-consuming parts of your social media campaigns.
Scheduling – Plan out a month worth of content in advance and schedule your posts on different platforms using a tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social.
Management – Another benefit of the tools above is that they let you manage all your social media activity in one place. You can quickly post content across different platforms, schedule a one-off post and get notifications when people engage with your content.
Reporting – Want to know which social platform is getting the best engagement for your business? How about which days and times are the most popular with your audience? Well, with tools like Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social you can do just that.
Monitor brand mentions
Make sure you set up notifications for mentions of your business on social media to help you spot opportunities to engage with your audience. You can also monitor mentions of your competitors to get an idea of how they are responding to their customers and get more insights about their audience.
As well as brand mentions you need to be on the ball when it comes to messages and comments from customers as most expect a response in minutes and hours rather than days. Keeping your finger on the pulse will really help you engage with customers and head off potential problems quickly and effectively.