Small businesses across the country are forever looking for new ways to showcase their business in an easy and commercially feasible way. The most obvious option in modern times is social media, it’s free to start an account, free to post content and free to find new opportunities. But there’s one thing to remember – making your accounts work to their full potential is key!
You may be thinking:
- “I don’t know what I’m doing!”
- “My competition are miles ahead, maybe I should stick to traditional marketing?”
- “Am I posting enough?”
- “When will I see results?”
Starting something new is seldom easy, so here’s 5 simple points to start you on your journey to building your social media strategy – Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.
1) Set your targets, what do you want to achieve?
You’re probably thinking “here’s another post about how social media can make me my next million, yawn” but a solid social media presence can be used for any number of things. Think about where your shortfalls or areas you could improve on are. Do I react quickly enough to customer feedback? Am I being informative enough about my service offering or product? And yes, are enough prospects aware of who we are/will more presence drive my sales forward? You must identify what you can do and should do better before you can build towards it.
2) How do we meet those targets, what’s your plan?
Great! So we now know what we want to achieve, but how do we get there? Think about who is going to champion this, are you or one of your colleagues well-placed to carry this forward? Make your targets clear and then think about the content you want to share with the world, who do you want to read it? Quite often businesses will find they already have much of the content they wish to share, but have done it via different avenues such as brochures or leaflets. Don’t think you’re being lazy by sharing the same information differently, think that you’re sharing your message to the world and more people can see what you do.
3) Choosing the right platforms for your content
This bit can be a bit tricky, especially for those not regularly using social media. Understanding the difference between each platform or what content might be useful for which platform, may not come easily to those who are unfamiliar with social media. Below we’ve listed some marketing hacks which we think you’ll find useful. Whilst reading the points below, think about the demographics of your target audience.
- Facebook is by far the largest and most regularly used social media platform with over 2 billion active users. For smaller, more localised businesses, Facebook groups for your area such as “Nottingham – Buy & Sell” as an example may be a means to market your content to those in your area. It also adds review options for your business Facebook page, which can be especially useful in obtaining feedback from clients, especially useful for traders, restaurants and hotels. As your business becomes larger, Facebook marketing becomes more important for brand presence and perceived trustworthiness, so regularly posting about updates and what the business is doing is vital. Posting once or twice a day is more than enough plus timely responses to enquiries.
- Twitter is king for the latest trends and time-sensitive updates. Twitter is commonly associated with the younger generations due to things such as regular celebrity updates and utilising hashtags at popular events or locations like festivals or sales events as an example, so think about who your products and services are aimed at and how & when to do your posts. It is however also capped to 280 characters, so think about whether a different platform might be more suitable for larger posts, or alternatively summarise and then link to additional content in your website’s blog. The Twitter algorithm makes it so that people don’t regularly see the same content in their feed more than once, so don’t be too concerned about your posting frequency.
- LinkedIn is more common amongst business professionals such as owners, executives, sales people, etc. Posts should be tailored as such, with more informative content about your business, online press releases or particular trends in the market being especially useful here. One of our pet peeves, and therefore key bits of advice, is to avoid falling into the trap of sending regular InMails to your connections without correct research or personalisation of your message. A more effective method is to think about posting within service groups similar to yours or ones who may find your business of interest without being overly promotional – engage the market with your expertise. Posting frequency is more in line with Facebook, a few times a week is more than enough as engagement on other people’s posts can be more beneficial.
- Instagram is again more popular with the younger generation. It’s more popular for brand presence as opposed to direct sales, but if done properly will build a substantial follower base and give you the brand recognition you’re looking for. Promoting other platforms you’re using is another effective method of driving up your activity. In terms of posting content, the algorithm is similar to that of Facebook so again think once or twice a day.
4) Generating content
As mentioned previously, generating content can be much easier than you think. The most important part here is that the content you’re showing engages the market. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about what your business does, but needs to show interest in related topics and that in turn will find the people you’re looking for. Additionally being informative in these areas will again draw traffic to your pages, think about regular issues people have within your sector and how you or someone you know can solve these pain points – referrals are a great way to build your reputation and standing in social media communities.
5) Maintain a presence
So, it’s 3 months in the future – you’ve created accounts in the platforms above, you’ve managed to build a solid following and you’ve been regularly posting and showing interest within your chosen sector. You suddenly lose interest, or the increase in your following stagnates, or maybe your work has become so busy you simply don’t have the time.
A month on, and your followers aren’t interacting because they’ve lost interest, and the potential new followers who have seen no activity for so long may assume a direct message may go unanswered, or even worse, you’re no longer in business. Regular presence is a must, as unfortunately this isn’t a one stop shop. If you find yourself in this predicament, it may be worth considering a professional to outsource this to – a business who does this regularly who not only understands social media marketing, but your chosen sector too.
These 5 points for social media marketing will certainly get you going in the right direction, and may even drive up your business to heights you couldn’t imagine. In the modern era, marketing your business and growing your business are synonymous, so use the tools available and keep playing the game!