Social Media for Small Business

Social Media can be overwhelming and daunting to small business owners. Between the main five Who?, What?, Where?, When? and Why? there are many little things that the average small business owner  will not know what to do. For example, how do I ensure my posts are reaching the right people? Is what I’m posting sending the right message?

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The best way to begin is with an idea. It doesn’t have to be the right one or the best,  it mainly serves as a stepping stone. As an Owner or Manager, ask yourself, What would your consumers take away from the posts? What would benefit them? Why would they choose to read your posts over a competitor? These are all critical questions that must be answered before you can decide on platform.

The platform is an easier decision than content. Depending on what your company offers, usually decides the platform(s) used. For example, if you’re artist or Baker, then Pinterest or Instagram would be the ideal platform. If your product or service will be promoted with a mixture of video, pictures and text then Facebook or Google + would the platforms for you. The platform you choose will be important as it will help get your product or service in front of new/existing clients in the most effective way.

5 Tips for Mastering Your Social Media Platforms

  1. Learn Management Software[1]: Having the right software that will post to all of your platforms instead of you or your Social Media Manager logging in to each site to post will save you the owner a lot of money and time. Money and time spent creating content or promoting a new product. A few beginning software that covers all basic functions would be HootSuite or Buffer.
  2. Automate Everything: As a busy business owner, you have better things to do than spending hours doing the same thing over and over again. You or your Social Media Specialist can create    3-5 posts that will be on a schedule to be posted every day or every other day. This way that time that would have used creating new posts can go to taking new pictures of new product or an event or creating fresh content.[2]
  3. Know Your Numbers: As Marcus Lemonis, of The Profit, frequently says, “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.” And when it comes to social media marketing, it’s well worth the investment to install the necessary analytical tools to boost the effectiveness of your campaigns. [3] One of the most basic but effective tracking tools out there is Google Analytics which tracks what websites, country, time, and demographics of people that are viewing your posts. Also, many managing software like HootSuite allows you to track progress from all platforms simultaneously.
  4. Be “Follow” Worthy: It doesn’t matter what platform you or your company may be on ensure that you are “follow worthy.” I don’t mean like a potential stalker, I mean ensure that people look for products/services mentioned in your post. Use the three tried and true options; free stuff, being famous, and being right.[4] Make your profile worth following and you and your company will achieve social media success. Use free giveaways, run contents, use testimonials from your clients using your product/service. It builds credibility and over time will increase the overall brand awareness and profit margins of your company.
  5. Don’t try to sell on social media platforms but instead aim for engagement. Getting customers to like/share your content is really important (even if it is just your family or friends). Social media is a way for your customers to get to know what you and your company value and are passionate about. Be authentic and put up share-worthy posts. Fourth, be responsive to customer comments made on social media. If a customer makes a comment (positive or negative) get back to them right away. Ensure they know you are listening and responsive. Finally, Social media is the journey, your website is the destination. If your social media does its job , your prospects will end up on your website to learn more or make a purchase. You’ll want to have a website up and running before you start your social media activities, so you have a site to point to from your social media channels. It doesn’t have to be perfect out of the gate.

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Once you have mastered the ins and outs of social media, its time for the next step. There are some mistakes that beginners on social media make. For example, text based posts. In this day and age, text posts are boring and easily ignored. In order to stay fresh, I recommend pairing it with a short video of a client using your product or service (with their permission verbal or written but I prefer written consent). This way potential clients interested in the same or similar product get a double message. It also helps to build your company reputation and credibility. Without those your company won’t survive. Second, three rules for social media is content, content and more content. Keep your content fresh and current. Blogging is a great place to start. As a small business owner you are the expert in your category — don’t be afraid to share your insights, but do so in “customer friendly” language. Remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself. To build up your content, feel free to repost or share other’s content. (The fancy social media term for this is “curated content”). 

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As you journey from beginner to advanced to expert, you will learn new things. Don’t let it scare you from trying different promotional ideas through social media. You may use video blogs, pictures, testimonials, drones etc. As you become more comfortable, your posts become more credible and the more followers, likes and shares you will get. Eventually, due to your experience,  and credibility you will become a Social Media Success!

Thank you for reading!

[1] Patel, S. (2015, July 9). How To master social media marketing for small business? Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sujanpatel/2015/07/09/how-to-quickly-master-social-media-marketing-for-small-business/#59cfa3722da1

[2] Patel, S. (2015, July 9). How To master social media marketing for small business? Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sujanpatel/2015/07/09/how-to-quickly-master-social-media-marketing-for-small-business/#59cfa3722da1

[3] Patel, S. (2015, July 9). How To master social media marketing for small business? Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sujanpatel/2015/07/09/how-to-quickly-master-social-media-marketing-for-small-business/#59cfa3722da1

[4] Patel, S. (2015, July 9). How To master social media marketing for small business? Retrieved October 02, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sujanpatel/2015/07/09/how-to-quickly-master-social-media-marketing-for-small-business/#59cfa3722da1

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