Social media has changed the way that we live our lives day to day. For many, their primary interaction with the internet is through social media. With billions of users across hundreds of platforms, the power of social media cannot be overstated when it comes to digital marketing and business promotion.
If you are a small business owner, you have probably encountered the question of ‘should I have a social media presence?’ The answer is a resounding, YES! In this modern-day world of digital marketing, it is virtually impossible to reach your full potential without an active social media presence. No matter what your niche, network, or product might be – social media can help you grow your user base.
With this in mind, it can still be rather daunting to try and jump into the social media waters. Many newcomers to the space find themselves feeling overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of social media in general. While running a successful social media account is difficult, there are a few tips and tricks to make it easier. You can also check out our post on writing the perfect content.
Here are some things for you to remember, and focus on when trying to grow the social media for your small business.
1.) Choose Your Platform(s) Wisely
It’s important to remember that not all social media platforms are created equal. Each platform has its own unique ways of reaching audiences, and its own target user bases. For example, Facebook has a very different user base on average than Snapchat or LinkedIn.
It is very important that you know what demographic and user base you are trying to target. You need to know your audience, so that way you can choose the platform that has the largest representation of them. Here are some examples:
- Facebook – Great for B2C (Business To Customer) sales, and event promotion. Typically an older audience range with a large portion of the active demographic being over 34.
- Snapchat – Great for younger audiences, with over 75% of users being between the ages of 18-34. Great for connecting with influencers and promoters.
- Instagram – Ideal for B2C (Business To Customer) marketing, and makes it easy to incorporate external ‘swipe-up’ links to your website or product. Great for building a brand image and showcasing visually.
- LinkedIn – Ideal for B2B (Business To Business) sales, with some B2C functionality present. This is a great resource for networking within your industry and establishing professional connections.
- TikTok – An incredibly fast-growing platform, with over 500 million users joining in the past couple of years. This platform is great for B2C sales and marketing towards a younger demographic through influencers and video content.
So, as you can see, each social media platform comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this way, it’s important to know which platform you wish to attack, and how you are going to attack it.
At Athena Media Social, we recommend choosing two platforms to start off with. This is so that your content doesn’t become stale and ‘churned-out’, and it doesn’t begin to feel like a full-time job producing enough variations of content for each different channel. For a new or small company, we find that Facebook and Instagram gain the best results from social media marketing efforts.
2.) Plan Your Content
Managing a social media presence doesn’t have to be as tedious as some would have you think. In fact, in many ways, managing social media can be relatively ‘hands-off’ if you have the right tools. There are various content management tools such as Buffer (that currently has a free account version for up to 3 social channels), or Hootsuite, which allow you to create content calendars that make your whole life a lot easier.
By creating a content calendar, you can effectively plan and ‘pre-load’ your content in a way that allows you to automate your post launches around the clock. For example, you can design a multi-post marketing campaign and schedule the times, dates, and hashtags for each post to release whenever and however you want – all without you needing to make sure your schedule is free to post at those times.
By having a content calendar, you can pre-plan your digital marketing strategy and prepare to launch it without all the headaches. You don’t have to focus on posting every single day, when you can simply make the content and schedule the staggered release times. This makes the entire social media planning process more streamlined, and far simpler.
You never want to be in a situation where you have a ‘creative block’ and don’t know what to post for weeks on end. Plan your posts ahead of time and load them into your content calendar–and let the program do the rest!
3.) Be Engaged
You have to be engaged with your audience in order to generate genuine engagement. Typically social media algorithms will reward user engagement such as likes, comments, and shares. This means that you need to create content that encourages one or more of those actions.
There are many different ways that you can generate user engagement through engagement of your own. For example:
- Take the time to reply to follower comments, questions, and concerns.
- Ask your followers to like, comment, and share through a ‘call to action’.
- Pay attention to the suggestions for content/products that your followers are giving you.
- Make videos whenever possible, studies show that video content generates more engagement than written/photo content.
- Host regular product giveaway contests as a way to boost engagement and generate excitement.
- Engage with social media accounts of other companies/blogs within your own niche. This helps you to network and can foster mutual promotion.
The keyword in social media is the word ‘social’. If you are not actively engaging with users on a personal level, your social media presence will fall flat. Try to devote a small portion of your time after making a post towards engaging with your following – a little goes a long way!
4.) Quality Over Quantity
You don’t need to post multiple times a day in order to grow on social media. You don’t even need to post every day. All you have to do is post consistently, and in a quality manner. Audiences prefer knowing that the content they consume online is of high quality, rather than simply garbled ‘fluff’.
In this way, it is important that you focus on creating good posts to be released – as opposed to as fast as possible/whenever you get time posts. Pick the frequency which best works for you and your social results, and release according to those timetables. For example, you can plan to release a new post every Monday/Wednesday/Friday; or even only Monday/Friday. This way, your followers will get used to seeing regular updates from you, but you don’t need to focus on posting constantly.
Followers appreciate quality and consistency. Stick to a schedule that you can follow along with, without sacrificing the overall integrity of what you post. You never want to fall into the trap of repeating content, or even putting out bad content, simply because you ran out of ideas. Find the happy medium, or ‘sweet spot’, and run with that.
In addition, make sure that the imagery/video content you use is as professional as possible. If you are not skilled with a camera, try locating high-quality stock imagery/videos through online services.
5.) Pay Attention To Analytics
Most social media platforms offer business users the ability to track and view their analytics. This is through specialised pages on the apps or websites that show a whole host of data spreadsheets. Namely, you will be able to view:
- Follower count
- Follower growth over time
- Follower engagement
- Top posts per week/month
- Audience reach per post
- Follower geography/location density
- Follower activity/times active
- Most active days of the week
These are just a few metrics that you will be able to view and track when looking at your page analytics. These numbers might seem off-putting (who likes data spreadsheets, right?). However, they are absolutely crucial to growing a social media presence and finding out who, what, where, when, and how your audience likes to interact with your social accounts.
By following your analytics, you can understand not only who your followers are, but when they are active and how they are active. You can see which of your posts generated more engagement, and which times of day/week performed better for you. There is no end to the information you can learn from sifting through and monitoring your analytics.
You should ideally take the time, once a week, to break down your weekly performance. Track how your posts have done, which posts performed well and which didn’t, and how your page has grown over that time. Through this tracking, you can anticipate future growth, and generate better content.
Social media is the lens with which many buyers and users will view your company. A striking number of eCommerce consumers find and engage with their preferred companies through social media. If you are not actively engaging with social media through your business, you are doing yourself and your product/service a disservice.
Social media can help small businesses thrive, and turn into internet powerhouses. It is crucial that every small business owner learn, and take advantage of the vast world of social media. It can revolutionize the way that you do business.
Want help with managing your social media accounts from the experts? Give us a call!