SAS 70

Nov 1 2019   2:47AM GMT

How to Use Social Media for Small Business

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

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When you own a small business, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to develop successful social media campaigns. Social media provides one of the best ways to get new customers and retain current ones. Don’t be put off by the fact that you think it is too expensive or difficult. Here are some ways to reach an audience, build awareness of your brand and drive sales. 

Start with a plan

If you just dive right in, you have no idea what you’re trying to achieve. Creating a social media plan upfront ensures that your efforts on social media support your business goals. You need to:

Set goals and objectives – these should be based on metrics that will have a real impact on your business. 

Research your competition – don’t copy them but learn from what they’ve done. 

Find inspiration – ask existing followers what they would like to see more of and research case studies. 

Create a social media calendar – decide what content to use, when and where to post it and at what time. Try starting with the 80-20 rule – use 80% of content to entertain, educate and inform and 20% for brand promotion and selling of products. 

Use the right tools

As a small business, making use of a social media management tool can automate and simplify much of your work. There are many tools that can help you to boost your productivity and make the most of social media marketing without having to have a big social media marketing team. 

A tool like BuzzSumo can help you with content curation, allowing you to find and organize posts to share. Canva can help you to create eye-catching graphics for posts. Brandwatch allows you to create in-depth reports so you can get a picture of your overall efforts. 

Choose the right platform for your business

Don’t just make assumptions about where your target audience spends time online. Take a good look at the data. For instance, your instincts may tell you to target millennials on Instagram, but the data will tell you that about 80% of millennials still use Facebook, so you shouldn’t focus solely on Instagram. 

Hootsuite compiled some demographics information that can help you find out where your audience really spends time online. Of course, you will also need to get to know your audience to confirm where your efforts should be directed to have the most effect. 

Build relationships with your audience

The great value of social media is that you can relate directly to your audience. This allows you to build up relationships over time instead of asking for a sale upfront. When people engage with your content, you can reply and start to build trust. 

Joining Facebook groups is another way to build community and grow relationships. Building relationships with micro-influencers and other entrepreneurs in your niche can be fruitful. 

Focus on quality over quantity

Creating quality content on a couple of key channels is more effective than trying to conquer them all. If you focus on one or two channels at first and do this successfully, you can expand your efforts. 

Be authentic – a Stackla survey found that 86% of consumers say authenticity is what makes them support certain brands. Your posts should be honest and offer real value. 

People expect posts to include a visual element and Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest, in particular, are visual-first platforms. Use great imagery in your posts and it will increase engagement. 

As you implement your strategy, you need to keep track of what is successful and what isn’t so that you can keep fine-tuning your efforts and improve your results. 

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