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The Why and How of Social Media for Small Businesses

The Why and How of Social Media for Small Businesses

Most likely, you have a few personal social media accounts. You use them to connect with friends and family, follow celebrities, find inspiration, and stay updated. However, running a page for your small business might seem like completely new territory.

Is social media marketing actually worth all of the time and effort? The truth is in the numbers:

• 71% of customers who have had a positive experience with a business on social media are likely to recommend them to other people.
• Today, there are 3.3 billion active social media users around the globe.

With billions of potential customers out there, the advantages of social media are undeniable. People sign on multiple times a day to like, comment, and tag their friends across several huge platforms.

How Important Is Social Media Marketing For Your Business?

It’s only growing in popularity: just in the next few years, social media audiences are anticipated to grow by 25%.

Today’s consumers largely rely on the internet for product research. If they want to know about your business, they will search online to take a look at your website and scan your profiles. Any small business should be prepared for that first impression. Take advantage of the opportunity to hook them in.

Social media marketing for small businesses
Consumers conduct their own product and brand research easily online.

Through creating content on social media, you lead traffic to your website. Your posts build your social media presence and act as an invitation to check out your products and services.

Additionally, connecting with your base of customers is so accessible with social media. Populating your profile with interesting posts paints your business as lively and legitimate. Not only can you use social media for an attractive first impression, but comments, retweets and stories make it easy for customers to give you feedback and allow you to interact with them.

Does My Small Local Business Really Need Social Media?

The opportunities for growth offered through social media are worth the effort it takes to be successful. Across industries, small businesses that aren’t online are quickly losing relevance, and they lag behind in finding new customers. The rewards of social media management are affordable no matter your budget. Whether you’re brand new or have been established for years, social media gives you ample opportunity to grow your audience and polish your brand.

If you want to make it easier for your customers to connect with you, you need social media. Satisfying customers ties into brand loyalty, so engaging with your audience is crucial to forming a long-lasting bond. Connecting with your customers while introducing your business to new ones is a double victory.

How Do Small Businesses Start Social Media Marketing?

Platforms constantly push out updates, spawning new trends to keep viewers engaged. It’s a fun, dynamic way to raise awareness about your business, increase sales and bond with customers. Your current customers will expect to see your promotional sales, spotlight products, and events you host. To beef up your profile and prove your business is a relevant part of your industry, you might want to share or create video clips, various articles, interviews, FAQ’s—just get creative!

One solid approach to social media is the “rule of thirds”. One third is for generating traction for your business with content directly pertaining to your services. One third is shared or reposted content from related sources, such as key influencers and thought leaders. The last third is all about direct follower engagement: user-generated content is golden, and often all it takes is asking your followers questions they care about.

Why social media is important for small businesses

Always include a call to action. You can direct viewers to browse your inventory, snag a sale, or contemplate your blog post. Make sure you tell them to take the next step!

Two quick tricks to make your posts look and feel more professional are hashtags and locations. Look up trending tags, make up your own catchy hashtag, and remember that a little goes a long way. If you can tag your business’s location, do so and remind your audience to follow suit. When you’re out of the office, on business-related trips, or at conferences, include your location to help yourself be seen by the potential followers around you.

Which Social Media Platform Works Best For Your Business?

When choosing where to make a profile for your business, consider what you aim to glean from the platform. When looking into a social networking site, you may want to ask:

  • Is this relevant/appropriate for my business? (e.g. LinkedIn is for professional networking and B2B, while SnapChat and TikTok are for younger, casual audiences)
  • Is it image-, text-, and/or video-based? (e.g. YouTube is mostly known as a video-sharing site. Instagram posts require an image or video and hide portions of captions that exceed 140 characters.)
  • Are posts generally more short-form or long-form? (e.g. Twitter recently expanded their tweet limit to 280 characters. Facebook posts can surpass 60,000 characters.)
  • Are followers organized into a community, or individually connected to the business? (e.g. Facebook pages allow conversation between your followers; Tumblr is heavily based on reblogging and less so on commenting)
  • Is content typically pre-planned or spur of the moment? (e.g. Instagram stories and Facebook live are perfect ways to share what you’re up to in real time, while their feeds are better suited for more polished posts.)

Different social media channels will have different pools of people. Pick more than one! Keep your username consistent from channel to channel so followers can find you easily. Remember to adjust your content depending on the platform you’re posting to, as the lingo and dimensions will not be the same.

How Often Should A Small Business Post On Social Media?

Don’t overcomplicate it: post daily if you can, but more importantly, post consistently. By keeping your profile up to date, your followers will engage with you regularly.

Social media feeds generally prioritize the most recent content. The key to posting at the right time is finding out when your target audience is online. Study your followers and brainstorm when their browsing times might be—morning train commute, lunch break, after class, before bed. Plan a marketing strategy, test, and measure for your unique results.

Create a content calendar to look ahead to pertinent events you might be able to capitalize on. Lay out when your business will be releasing news and products so you can share those with your audience.

Overall, prioritize quality over quantity. Consumers are more and more concerned with authenticity, so be true to your business goals and consistent with your brand identity.

How To Improve Your Business With Social Media Marketing

The rapid evolution of social media might be intimidating, but use it to your advantage. Pick a couple of features to experiment with and learn along the way. You don’t need to use every function or filter to have interesting content.

  1. Offer customer support. Look out for comments, questions and feedback and respond to them publicly or privately. Accept criticism and show you are aiming for growth in customer service.
  2. Follow and interact with other users in your community. Start with influencers, and follow their followers so your name will pop up in their notifications. Take a little time to like, comment and share what other relevant people are doing. You’ll initiate connections with those influencers and also make your way to their followers’ activity tabs.
  3. Utilize tagging. Show off your merch from respected brands and tag them in a post. Promote your happy customers at your grand re-opening by tagging them in your story. Ask your followers to tag their friends on some relatable content!

Explore what gets attention and foster engagement with your followers. Plan your content and have fun!

Grow Your Business

Now you have a better understanding of how to manage social media marketing for small businesses. Certainly, social media isn’t as simple as posting a generic photo every day, but doesn’t have to be stress-inducing. Pick a platform, fill out your profile, and find good accounts to follow. The more effort you put in, the more success you will see in your business results.

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