By Fazreen Razeek
Social media is a great platform for businesses and brands to connect with customers and prospects. With over 2 billion universal users, you can be certain that some of your customers are already on social media. When used properly, social media can help the sales of your business to skyrocket.
Although being on social media is important, knowing where to begin is even more important. Granted, getting started with social media can be a bit overwhelming for small businesses but it doesn’t have to be. Below is a list of insider secrets to help you use social media effectively for your small business.
1. Begin with a Plan
Every great business strategy begins with a good plan. Using social media to market a small business isn’t any different. With a plan you know exactly what you want to achieve with your posts and determine if you’re on the right track. Creating a social media plan upfront will ensure that your efforts drive towards the achievement of a specific objective.
2. Determine the Right Platforms for Your Business
While it might be tempting to pick and dominate on one platform and ignore the rest, this could prevent you from reaching clients on other sites. Consider the fact that you can use different social media platforms to engage different audiences or achieve other business goals.
3. Build Authority
Building brand authority and brand recognition is very important. Naturally, people tend to prefer brands they recognize and this is where social media comes in to help you create social awareness. For small businesses using social media, the focus should be on creating connections with the right people instead of a lot of people. Building authority starts with creating brand awareness by posting content regularly, responding to conversations around your social media and participating in relevant conversations.
4. Identify Your Audience
The first step to effectively using social media is getting to understand who your target audience is. Social media lets you target your audience once you understand who they are. To better understand your social audience, you can use data from social networks or third-party social media tools to get the necessary information including who and where your audience is so that you can tailor content your audience will enjoy.
5. Create a Social Content Calendar
As a small business, it is vital to establish your authority in the industry. The best way to do this is posting regularly. Having a solid social media calendar enables you to plan your social media activities which boosts consistency. Using a calendar can help you determine the activities you wish to automate and those you can assign to either an employee or contractor.
6. Post Content at Optimal Times
There are tons of resources online about the best time to post on social media. While these may be helpful to a certain degree, we can’t ignore the possibility that everyone might start posting at the same time. So, will this still the best time to post? No. This strategy, posting at optimal times, does drive more engagement, but as more brands become popular and more people post during these times, then streams will become flooded. Instead you can review your social media sent messages and find trends of when your posts get maximum engagement, this should be your optimal time.
7. Create Great Visuals
A picture is worth a 1000 words. Consider the fact that people have short attention spans and including photos or videos in your social content is important. Great graphic content boosts engagement and creates an opportunity to show off your products.
8. Use the Right Tools
The secret to proper use of social media lies in the ability to take advantage of automation tools that simplify your work, save on finances and time. There are tons of tools that can improve your productivity and ensure that you make great use of social media marketing for your small business. Some of these tools include Canva, Relay, Post Planner, Trello, Evernote, Sprout Social, among others.
9. Schedule Your Content
With a clear underlined objective of want you want to achieve and your social media content calendar, you can create posts in advance and implement automatic scheduling tools to post them when it’s convenient. Doing this will free-up time to focus on other activities.
10. Join conversations about Your Business
As a small business you need to engage in online conversations that are relevant to your business niche. This practice is referred to as social listening. The process can include anything from responding to comments, answering questions, actively reaching out to people who mention brand keywords or simply just liking their post.
11. Track Your Performance
Tracking your social media performance enables you to determine what has worked, which platforms are performing better, and which need more work. This allows you to fine-tune your social media strategy and improve your results.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach for using social media, the best approach would be to try and refine the strategies you use to grow your small business. Remember, all you need to get started is data, strategies and the right tools to backup your efforts.