Think your small business doesn’t need a presence on social networks?
According to Pew, 77% of U.S. adults use at least one social platform. When you zero in on younger folks, the numbers are even more staggering: 87% of 18- to 29-year-olds and 83% of 30- to 49-year-olds are active on social networks.
Which platforms are they using? Pew has that answer, too:
- 79% of U.S. adults are on Facebook.
- 32% are on Instagram.
- 31% are on Pinterest.
- 29% are on LinkedIn.
- 24% are on Twitter.
Suffice it to say that no matter the kind of business you operate, a number of prospective customers are hanging out on social platforms.
If your small business doesn’t have a presence on social networks to begin with, it is impossible for you to convert these folks from prospects into dedicated customers. Since, from a general perspective, it doesn’t cost any money to establish social presences—it only costs time, unless you want to promote your posts for a few dollars—it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to not maintain a presence on at least some social channels.
But you can’t simply open up a Facebook profile, for example, and expect customers to come pouring in. You need the right approach, which requires the right strategy.
Not sure what such a strategy might entail? Don’t sweat it—we’ve got you covered. Use these nine social media small business tips to get started on your social marketing outreach. With enough determination, it’s only a matter of time before you land your first customers thanks to the power of social media.
Tip #1: Devise a strategy before you begin posting.
Like everything else in business, you need to plan ahead, at least to a certain extent, if you want to enjoy success with your social media outreach.
Prior to sharing your first status update on Facebook or sending out your first tweet, spend some time figuring out what you hope to accomplish with your social media efforts. Determine how active you want to be and which employees will be responsible for managing your various social accounts.
Tip #2: Don’t create a profile on every single social network.
If you’ve paid attention to social media over the last several years, you’ve no doubt seen the emergence of several new platforms—like Snapchat and Periscope.
Just because a platform exists doesn’t mean you need to use it. The last thing you want to do is set up a profile on every conceivable social network and task one of your employees with managing all of them.
Do some research to figure out which platforms your customers are most likely to be on and set up shop there. You’ll probably want to have a Facebook page just because there are so many people on the platform. But you may not need to maintain a presence on Google+ or Pinterest.
Tip #3: Know which times are best to post on each platform.
If life were easy, you’d be able to post on social media at your convenience and you’d get the results you’re gunning for. Unfortunately, success on social media requires a bit more finesse.
Good news: There’s no shortage of research you can leverage that will tell you the data-proven best times of the day to post on various social platforms. For example, research suggests tweeting at 3 p.m. during the week delivers the best results. Check out this post from Hootsuite for some pointers.
Tip #4: Utilize a tool that enables you to schedule social media posts.
By utilizing one of these tools, you’re able to plot out your social strategy ahead of time, freeing you to focus on other pressing business matters. Some of these tools work across all your social channels, enabling you to interact with one interface to manage all of your accounts.
Tip #5: Showcase your brand’s personality.
If you’ve ever come across a company’s social profile and seen that they only post product-promoting content that’s rather stale, you know how disinviting it can be.
Never forget the social aspect of social media. Don’t be afraid to showcase your brand’s personality and your company culture. Interact with your customers and other brands.
Don’t only promote your products—that will turn people away.
Tip #6: Promote contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes to increase engagement.
Struggling to engage your audience? Offer free stuff to your customers in contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes.
Who doesn’t like free things? You’ll at least see some engagement by offering up something for nothing.
Tip #7: Use your social profiles to promote the content you create.
Does your website feature blogs, infographics, e-books, and the like? If not, it’s time to start creating content!
Use social networks to promote your content to your audience. More people will see it, which should translate into more revenue.
Tip #8: Leverage analytics to see which posts work the best.
After you start posting on various social channels for an extended period of time, you can begin to see which posts work the best by leveraging analytics.
There’s no sense in crossing your fingers and hoping a specific post works. Use data to inform your social media strategy to increase the chances your outreach is successful.
Tip #9: Create a social media policy for your staff.
You’ve almost certainly heard of countless examples of companies tweeting out the wrong thing at the wrong time.
The last thing you want is for a staffer to post something that hurts your brand. Devise an appropriate social media policy so your social media managers know exactly how they’re expected to behave when representing your company on social channels.
At the end of the day, social media provides a relatively inexpensive way to effectively market your company. Be patient. It takes time to achieve results. But stick with it and you won’t regret it.