Social media is quickly becoming an integral part of all areas of our society. The question is no longer, should a small business have an online social media presence?, but how does the small business develop a robust social media presence to meet their goals. After spending many years assisting small businesses as a social media consultant, I’ve assembled my best 15 social media tips for small business.
Set Goals for Social Media Presence
There are several goals common to most small businesses with a social media presence; however, each small business must set goals for their own social media performance. Common small business goals on social media include:
- Customer Loyalty
- Brand Awareness
- New Product Launch
- Recruit New Employees
- Customer Support
- Generate Traffic Online/In-Person
- Demonstrate Industry Authority
- Crisis Preparation/Prevention
- Improve Public Goodwill
These social media goals will change and develop over time as the business’ social media presence grows and matures. It is recommended that you review and adjust these goals on a regular basis to remain focused.
Develop an Online Identity
Each brand or company has its own personality or corporate culture. Some are very formal and serious, while others are casual and fun. This personality needs to be taken into consideration when creating an identity or “voice” for the business on social media. The identity should be consistent and best represent the authority and personality of the brand. Most important, the voice must ring true or sound authentic to customers already familiar with the business.
Listen and Engage
Social media is not a place to push, push, push a brand’s message, but a place to engage with customers, industry professionals, potential clients and thought leaders. There should be a dialogue taking place on social media, which requires listening to the audience you wish to attract, and then determine the best way to engage with them in a way they will respond. This dialogue builds a foundation for business relationships both online and in person.
Establish a Consistent Presence
This is a key detail where many businesses go wrong. They create social media profiles, post on them for a while and then go dark. To actively participate on social media and meet any set social media goals, a business must be present frequently and consistently in their social networks.
Know Your Audience
A business should understand who their customers and potential customers are and determine which platforms work best to reach them. Not every network will be a natural fit for every business. While getting started, identify the interests of your target group and use those interests to help make a connection. If you get to know them and tailor your postings and engagements, the engagement from your audience or “fans” will be much greater.
Complete Your Social Media Profiles
When creating a social media account, be sure to take the time and fill out the profile section of each social platform completely. If you are taking over managing existing accounts, go back and verify they were completed and are up to date. Be consistent in the descriptions and the keywords you utilize with your strategy for your website. Select a consistent branding image and color scheme so the audience will recognize the business across social networks and in web searches.
Give a Behind the Scenes Look
One of the reasons people pay attention to business leaders or brands on social media is to get to know them better and feel like an insider. Show off a bit of your corporate culture, what happens behind the scenes, and the individuals behind the brand. Everybody likes an “insider” view. In doing so, make sure your posting stays consistent with the “voice” of your brand so as not to feel jarring.
Spread the Love
Share content from other brand leaders, customers, or business partners on social media. Some experts advocate a specific rule on how often you should talk about yourself vs. others on social media, but it is more a general rule of thumb. Think of it like a conversation at a cocktail party. You would not be very popular if you talked only about yourself the entire night and ignored engaging with others at the party. Social media is not about pushing your content, but engaging in a dialogue, inspiring others and sharing great content.
Grab Their Attention
Nothing grabs attention more consistently on social media than great visual content – photos, video, and well made graphics. To help make smart designs that will get noticed, there are several great photo and video-editing tools such as Canva. While there is a free option, CanvaPro offers a robust experience for a small monthly fee.
Create Original Content
In order to build brand authority, it is important that to create original content to share on your social media platforms. This content gives your audience a reason to seek out your social media profiles on a regular basis.
Your audience will appreciate your original content, and behind the scenes look but they will love your free, helpful content. People appreciate helpful tips and suggestions while browsing through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Top 10 lists or “How To’s” are always popular, especially if you can give them a fresh take to capture their attention.
If you have a big event, sale or new product, don’t be afraid shout it from the rooftops. We’ve talked about sharing the love, being helpful, and original content, but your audience knows you are a business. They expect to hear about your products and any promotions, specials, or sales you are running. Don’t shy away from offering your social media followers a special deal from time to time. Even give them a call to action so they will help promote the special for you.
For a business to have a healthy online social presence, it is not necessary for them to be active on each and every social network. Start small and do it well. It is better to start on one or two networks to familiarize yourself with the platform and the audience, gain experience and then grow from there. Choose the one platform that represents your audience the best to get started.
Hire a Professional
Walking through each of these steps for a business or brand may be time consuming. Too many businesses relegate it to an intern or already overworked assistant. Review the social media goals that were set in step one to realize the potential that engagement on social media offers to the business. Don’t be afraid to consider outsourcing a brand’s social media strategy to a consultant or professional firm. They possess the experience to work hand in hand with the business to be present and active on social media to meet the social media goals.
Do you have more social media tips for small business that you would add to this list? Join us on social media to discuss.
This post was originally shared at Bizopia.com