Social media can be an extremely beneficial channel for your small business. It provides effortless communication between your business and audience as well as additional platforms to promote your services and products online. However, before you dive right in, there are some key considerations worth noting to help your social media presence flourish.
1) Consider your objectives
It’s likely you use some form of social media yourself at home. If not, it’s likely you have a grasp of the different platforms available. Therefore, it’s easy to rush to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to sign up or revive your business’s profile when getting started. However, before doing this, you need to perfect your social media strategy.
In your strategy, carefully consider the goals and objectives of your social media presence. Is it to build up brand awareness or generate leads? Ensure you list measurable and achievable goals before getting started.
If you want brand awareness…
You want your brand to be shown in front of more people. For example, you’re a landscape gardener. You could encourage clients to tag your business and share photos of their new garden on Facebook with their friends. If your business then shares their post, reach is further increased, getting your brand in front of more people.
If you want to generate leads…
You might want to get people to call or fill in a form on your website. You could encourage this through highlighting promotions and special discounts when applicable, using consistent, engaging media to capture their attention. Paid promotion can also be a handy tool in this instance, where you can specify the audience you want to reach and those most likely to get in contact.
If you want to generate conversation…
If you want to build a relationship with your audience, ask your audience questions that are interesting and easy to answer, run polls, encourage them to share photos in comments and keep them coming back to your page. Responsiveness is vital; conversation is not a one way street.
If you want to drive traffic to your website…
You will need to frequently share content that is useful and engaging to the user. Make sure your imagery is stunning and eye-catching and the landing pages themselves encourage further journeys on your website.
You next need to identify where your target audience is. There’s no point in setting up a Pinterest if you offer financial services. Likewise, there is no point in setting up a LinkedIn account if you want to show off your wedding cake designs. Do your research, and don’t utilise a platform for the sake of it.
2) Research the competition, what are they doing?
Once you have identified your perfect social media platforms, take a look at the competition. What are they doing well? Where could they improve? What aren’t they doing? Not only does this give you plenty of inspiration, it also shows you the gaps your business could fill. Are they not making the most of video? Perhaps they don’t utilise all the in-built tools available to them. Capitalise on what they’ve missed.
3) Building an audience, considering budget
Quality over quantity is key when it comes to social media audiences. Try not to become obsessed with large follower/like numbers. The important thing is that you build a dedicated and engaged audience who are interested in the content you are putting out there. If you’re starting from scratch, encourage those directly linked to the business to follow your platform and make it easy for current/potential customers to access your channels. Add links to your website, email footer and author bios.
It can also be extremely beneficial to put a bit of budget behind paid advertising on social platforms to further reach your target audience and encourage them to follow the content you produce. Best of all, you can fine-tune who you target your paid advertising to, to ensure you’re reaching the right people at the right time.
4) Create a social media content calendar
Be organised and never miss an important date! It is vital to create a social media content calendar early on to plan content for seasonal events, industry events and any other important dates of note. This allows your business to be involved in any daily trends online and get involved in the bigger conversation.
Make use of scheduling tools to plan your updates in advance, this saves you time to focus on responding to your audience and continuing to build your followership.
5) Remember the 80/20 rule
There is nothing wrong with promoting your services or products on social media. It does however start to become an issue when that is all you do. No one wants to be sold to all the time; your audience have chosen to follow you for a reason – quality content. Make sure you keep note of the 80/20 rule. 80% engaging and interesting posts, 20% promotional posts.
6) Consistent monitoring and customer service
Once you have built a great audience, make sure they’re being listened to. Check your pages consistently to answer any queries, start conversation or respond appropriately to any complaints or reviews. Once your audience see you are active in your response times, people will be more willing to engage with your business.
7) Test and analyse
It is important to frequently monitor what has been working well and what could be improved. Gaining insight is key to understanding what your audience want to see on your social media platforms. So make sure to check your platform’s in-built analytics and compare as time goes on.
Need help making social media work for your small business?
Speak to MRS, our team of social media experts can help guide you in the right direction and mould your social media into a valuable tool.