The social media universe can be an overwhelming place for small businesses. And, as a small business marketer, you’re likely strapped: for funds, time, and/or manpower. That means you need to enter the space with a game plan, because without a game plan, social media marketing can be as much of an exercise in existential crises as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.
So where do you start? What do you post? How do you measure?
Jump to a section:
Where Should I Post?
What Should I Post?
It can be very easy, when it comes to social media, to think of it as a rabbit hole: it’s a fairly simple concept, but who knows what it’ll require of you once you begin. When making the case for yourself or a team member to get started with social media, here are some things the experts suggest you keep in mind.
1. A lack of social presence makes customers question your legitimacy.
“It’s no longer a question of “if” you should get on social media, but instead “what” social media you should focus on. Any business with a social media presence is automatically viewed as more competent, focused, and thoughtful than competitors that do not. An active social media presence is even better, since it shows customers that your company runs smoothly and takes care of everything, down to the online marketing presence.”
2. Combat that lack of presence by front-loading new profiles with content..
“When you’re just getting started, I suggest pushing as much as content as possible, as consistently as possible. Don’t worry so much whether “it’s brand appropriate;” you just want to get started and build content.”
3. That said, you don’t have to be an every-man. In fact, it might be more effective if you’re not.
“Marketing on social media takes finding your niche and building a relationship there. Trying to reach a broad audience will fail.”
4. Knowing your target customer can help develop a niche voice on social.
“Developing buyer personas is a great way to narrow down your target audience. Your product/service isn’t for everyone, so make sure you’re speaking to the right people.”
5. Don’t over-process your posts.
“Be human! A lot of organizations are afraid of making mistakes on social – they’ll run their posts through 20 different people and approval processes before actually posting, and the result comes across as robotic and bland. People don’t respond to that!”
Where Should I Post?
There’s been a prevailing attitude over the past decade or so that you need to be on platform X, or that you may as well not exist if you’re not on platform Y *cough FACEBOOK cough*. But the winds are changing. And today, no platform is a requirement.
1. Start where your customers are.
“Just because you love reddit doesn’t mean your customers are there. Figure out where your ideal customers are already hanging out and learn how to use that platform to reach them. It’s much easier to go to them than to try to bring them over to your favourite space.”
2. Take on what you can handle–and nothing more.
“Planning, creating, scheduling social media content and having conversations with potential customers takes time. If you sign up for every social media channel under the sun, you will be spreading yourself too thin and your content will perform poorly”
3. Don’t sweat it if you’re not on the latest craze.
“Some businesses may never make it to Instagram or Snapchat – but that’s okay! Concentrate on your target audience and your goals from social media. In the world of choosing social platforms to concentrate on for small businesses, less is often always more.”
What Should I Post?
What sort of content is your audience interested in? It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to figure that out. But these experts provide a good jumping off point:
1. Take your cues from the successes of others.
“You can find ideas anywhere; be sure to analyze and watch what your competitors are doing/posting. It’s also important to monitor what other businesses and companies are doing that catches your attention. Sign up for social media articles and tips from experts so you can daily or weekly receive emails with all sorts of tips, new information and social updates.”
2. Entertaining and useful content is better than promotional content.
“People go on social media to be entertained, not to be marketed at. Therefore, whatever your company puts on social media should be built to engage first and market second, if at all.
“Being ‘useful’ to your followers is crucial for engaging an audience. A genuine approach actually enables business owners to save time… one well thought out post will bring more engagement than 10 terrible posts.”
3. Images are key.
“Use high quality, crisp visuals. Recent research shows images increase social media engagement: Twitter updates with images in them receive 150% more retweets than those without and Facebook posts with images in them receive 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Canva is a fantastic resource for creating custom images, with free and low-cost options available.”