So, why bother with social media?
Many small businesses struggle to get a return on investment from social media, but if managed correctly, you can see some real benefits to using it, including:
- Building your brand’s reputation
- A chance to talk directly to your prospects/customers
- Finding new customers
- Feedback on what you can do better
Enhancing your brand on social media
How are you going to stand out from the competition? Social media gives you a chance to tell the world (for free!) how you’re different, what’s unique about you, and why you should be the number one choice when it comes to a purchase. Show off your expertise.
Engage with your prospects and customers
This is a great chance to hear what your customers have to say. What are their challenges? What products and services do they want to see? What’s good about what you’re offering? Ask questions, encourage sharing, and create trust.
Encourage your existing followers to like, comment and share your posts by asking questions, offering competitions, or even just stating ‘please comment with your thoughts’. These interactions will mean your posts are shown to more people, encouraging more follows, likes and hopefully consequent visits to your website.
It’s natural to be concerned about negative reviews or feedback on social media, but users may well post their complaints online whether you have a presence there or not. At least if they’re able to tag you, you can actively respond to these and put things right, as well as learn how to for the future.
Which social networks to use
This very much depends on your business, and what your customers use. Take the time to find out what might be the best platform for your audience.
The most popular are: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram. If you’re not familiar with these, have a look around and see what your competitors or similar organisations are doing. What and who is getting the most engagement? What hashtags are they using? What do your ideal followers look like, and what are they posting about?
What to post
No one likes spam! So be worth following. Think about what your prospects might want to see and create engaging content. It’s okay to post about your products now and then, but this shouldn’t be the majority. Find useful information, links to blogs and news articles, share images. Think about your brand, what you stand for, and what your customers are going to be interested in.
The 80/20 rule can be helpful here: Determine that 80% of your posts will be engaging and informative, with 20% more sales-led with clearer calls to purchase.
It can be hard to measure how well you’re doing on social media. Check your website to see how many visitors you’ve received from the various platforms, and keep checking your follower stats, including engagement such as likes, comments and shares.
You might not have the advertising budget of some of the bigger players, but you have the potential to reach just as many people as they can on social media. Put an effective strategy in place, and make it work for you.