In such a digitally-driven era, opting out of having an active presence on social media is no longer an option for small businesses. Without a social media presence, your business is much less likely to stand out against your competitors and is at major risk of being forgotten about by your customers.
An active and optimized social media presence offers numerous benefits. You’ll engage new audiences, gain new customers, stay up-to-date with current trends and get new, fresh traffic to your website.
That being said, crafting an effective and consistent social media presence can be difficult for small businesses that are simply trying to get their feet off the ground. Since it can be tough to prioritize social media as a new company, we’ve compiled some of the best ways small businesses can improve their social media presence.
1. Choose the Right Social Media Platforms
With thousands of social media platforms to choose from, you can’t just sign up for every single one. Choose three or four of the most popular networks for your target audience and put all of your social media marketing efforts into those.
Some of the more popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram. The best platform for one business, however, may not be the best for another. Do your research to find out where your target market spends most of their time online, keeping in mind the objective of your social media presence:
Are you hoping to sell products? Advertise upcoming events? Improve brand awareness? Think about the goals of your business and what each platform can do for you.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Speaking of objectives, it’s important to understand your company goals and plan your marketing efforts accordingly. When deciding on goals are for creating your social media profiles, make sure each goal you are making is S.M.A.R.T:
– Specific, significant, sensible
– Measurable, motivating, meaningful
– Achievable, attainable
– Relevant, realistic, reasonable, results-driven
– Time bound, time-sensitive
By having a realistic, goal-oriented plan before getting started, you are much more likely to attract followers.
3. Create a Social Media Strategy Before You Begin
Setting goals is a great starting point, but where do you go from there? As well as figuring out your main business objectives, you will need to formulate a plan for how you want to achieve these goals and implement them. Assign a team to the job of creating your social media strategy and divide the tasks with realistic timelines.
Although social media can be fun, it takes a lot of planning to establish an effective, realistic strategy, since there are so many components. You’ll need to plan out post content, optimal times to post, effective visuals, enticing captions and so much more. All while actually running your business! Make sure to create a prime social media strategy before you jump in head first.
4. Identify Your Target Audience
If you want to successfully engage your target market, you need to be familiar with its members. Understanding their unique interests, habits and behaviors will have great influence as to whether your social media strategy pays off or falls flat. Some important things to know about your target audience can include age range, location, likes, dislikes, interests, behaviors and more.
Becoming familiar with your audience will help you to determine the best way to grab their attention and help you to foresee any challenges you may face when trying to make a connection with them.
5. Determine the Best Times to Post
Social media isn’t static; with so many users actively engaged on the many platforms, social media is ever changing and you simply won’t thrive if you set up an account and leave it unattended. It’s important to stay relevant to your users by posting on a regular basis with unique, informative or aesthetically pleasing content that appeals to your target base.
Once you’ve created content that you’re pleased with, the next step is to create a social media posting schedule. Figuring out the best posting times can sometimes be intuitive. For example, posting at midnight won’t gauge as much interaction as posting in the middle of the afternoon.
Still, it’s necessary to do your research when it comes to using different platforms and posting on different days of the week. Luckily, there are many resources online that can help you figure out the best times to post depending on your audience, location and industry.
6. Work to Engage your Audience
Staying consistent with your posts and creating unique, appealing content is only the start of the work you need to do to maintain engagement with your profile. You need to actively engage with your audience by commenting on posts, creating discussions, posting questions, responding to questions and comments, and addressing criticism and complaints from your customers.
Consider appointing a person or a team to implement this social listening and remain consistently available, responsive and engaged with your audience.
7. Don’t Over Promote on Social Media
Social media isn’t designed as an advertising platform; it’s better designed to promote active engagement and interaction with others. Limit the amount of promotional content you post on your profile to less than 20 percent. This keeps your followers interested in your page, and avoid making them feel as though they are being spammed with promotional content. Users get tired of seeing the same repetitive content and feel less connected to your brand when it’s overly promotional.
8. Stay On Top of Social Media Trends
Keep your content relevant by knowing what’s going on in the social media world and within your field of business. Being aware of what people are talking about online is crucial for capturing the attention of your customers.
Focus on using popular hashtags and reference any industry news, events or trends that will gauge customer interest. Draw inspiration from other businesses to fine-tune your strategy and stay updated on relevant social media trends that can be applied.
9. Monitor Your Progress
Once you have a social media presence in place that you’re proud of, you’ll need to monitor your progress. Keep tabs on relevant metrics to determine whether your strategy is effective or not. Social media is constantly changing with new users signing up each month and new platform updates being announced each day.
Examine your metrics using tools like Twitter Analytics, Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics to pinpoint what’s working and what isn’t. Adjust your social media strategy as needed and compare the results of your different strategies and those of your competition. You’ll need to tweak things frequently to figure out what works.
It’s never too late to dive into the social media landscape, whether you’re a big business or a small startup.
Implement these nine top tips to see your marketing efforts pay off in both the short term and the long term.