By Managing Director of Boost Social
Knowing how to use social media for small business is half the battle. When you’re faced with being in charge of day-to-day operations, managing employees and making new sales, it may not seem there’s much time for anything else. However, in today’s digital age, social media for small business is more important now than ever. Because I also know your time is important, I’m going to jump straight into the 7 best social media tips for small business to get your going.
1. Failing to plan is planning to fail
No matter how small your business, you need a social media plan and saying “I plan to do social media” simply isn’t enough.
What are your social media goals?
Take out a piece of paper and a pen (or grab your smartphone) and jot down 3 social media goals. Keep them simple, attainable (It’s good to have pipe dreams but if your goals are too grandiose you’ll end up disappointed, think about how you are going to measure whether these goals are achieved and make them relevant.
For example; Setting your goal as I’m going to have 1 million followers on Instagram in six months from now is not very realistic. Something more attainable would be “I’m going to increase my following by 5 new likes this week.” Keep in mind, that social media is not a popularity competition. It’s not about who has the most likes or followers. It’s about developing a loyal, supportive fan base that you can get to engage with.
Another goal might be to do one Facebook Live a week demonstrating one of your products or making sure you post once a week to Google My Business.
It’s also important to remember that people come to social media to escape making decisions. They come to be entertained, see what their friends are up to, watch cat videos and be educated. Most social media users visit the networks with the intention of buying anything, so setting goals like to sell $1,000 worth of merchandise a week is setting yourself up to fail.
2. Research your competitors
As part of your plan, you should also research other small business just like yours. What are they doing on social media? What’s working for them? What’s not working for them? Glean ideas and then adapt them to your social media channels. I’m not promoting copying them word for word, take inspiration and come up with your own ideas.
3. Create a social media calendar
Plan out your posts for the week in advance. For example; Every Monday you might want to post something motivational to help your followers get over the Monday Blues. Friday’s may become Funday Fridays, where instead of your usual informative posts, you let your hair down and post a joke or a funny photo. If you’re a personal trainer or a gym, Wednesday’s could be a training tip or idea for guilt-free snacks. You’ll find if you plan out your weeks like this, then it takes some of the hard work about wondering what kind of posts to do. Personally, I wouldn’t plan any further than three months in advance, because then if something doesn’t work particularly well you can rethink your strategy.
4. Pick the right social media channels for your brand
It all depends on your the type of audience you want to target. For example; if you are an adrenaline-based activities company, nightclub or want to target 18-24-year-olds, you’re most likely to find your demographic audience most active on SnapChat. The majority of regular Instagram users are under the age of 35 (that’s not saying you won’t find anyone over 35 on Instagram, there’s just less of them). 64% of Instagram 50 million daily users are between the ages of 18 and 29. If you are new to social media, think about the age groups you want to target and compare it to the social media networks. You may find that having a presence on Facebook and Instagram is enough. I suggest starting out with those two social media networks and then once you’ve got a handle and they are working well, then branch out on to YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok or any of the other channels that crop up.
5. Get to know your followers
Social media is about creating meaningful relationships. Facebook and Instagram give you direct access to customers and followers like no other marketing platform – EVER! Social media allows you to discover what the wants and needs of your followers are, answer their questions, get their opinions to improve your business. Over time this generates a type of loyalty you won’t find anywhere else. if you’ve got a relationship with your customer, it’s your business that’s going to spring to their mind when they’re looking to purchase.
6. Use video where possible
Facebook and Instagram LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE video. Videos receive 38% more engagement than static photographs and 2.1 x more comments. You don’t need to have a film crew or fancy equipment. Your smartphone will produce social media quality videos. Just make sure you have good lighting and don’t speak too fast. There are also some great apps that will add captions so people at work can still sneakily watch them without the volume up (also great for people who are on public transport without headphones or our hearing-impaired audiences).
7. Learn how to use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories have 500 million users a day, so if you’re not using stories, you’re missing out on a potential piece of the marketplace. It’s also a good way to attract new followers who may not have actively searched for your brand. Stories can be used for behind the scenes footage, jokes, competitions, polls and keep your newsfeed for your best quality photos and videos. With stickers, gifs and video filters you can get extremely creative on stories. Use them as a weekly series or random updates when something exciting happens.
After reading this and you’re left thinking, seriously, who has time for that? That’s okay! It can be overwhelming and it’s also why I created Boost Social. We hear all the stories from our clients and we acknowledge that the struggle is real. We can help you with planning all this in our 30-minute FREE strategy session. You can book a session with me without any obligations.