Using social media for your business is a powerful way to get qualified leads and build brand loyalty among your audience. Every business — large and small — needs some type of social media presence. But when you’re starting out, it can be hard to know what to post, when to post, or if your posts are making a difference for your sales.
Follow these five social media marketing tips to maximize returns on your small business social media strategy.
Why Your Business Needs Social Media
People spend an average of 2 hours on social media every day,1 and that number jumps up to 3 hours among 16 to 24 year olds.2 When consumers are spending so much time on social media, businesses without social media accounts are missing out on big opportunities to gain visibility and new customers. Social media is one of the best places to interact with your audience and build a relationship with them.
Here’s another jaw-dropping statistic to explain the importance of social media for businesses. About 90% of people will make a purchase from businesses they follow on social media.3 That means that if you can get your target audience to follow you on social media, you are a lot more likely to convert them into a customer, or if they are already a customer, turn them into a loyal, life-long customer.
On social media, you can:
- Build relationships with your customers or target audience
- Observe how your audience speaks about your brand or interacts with it
- Be tagged in your customer’s posts or get shares for increased visibility
- Interact with customers
- Respond to positive and negative reviews
Follow these steps in order to get the most of your social media marketing for your small business.
1. Set the Groundwork for Your Social Media Plan
The most important social media tip for small businesses just starting out is to create a plan. Social media can be a powerful marketing tool, but you need to know how to use it.
If you already have a social media account for your small business, now would be a good time to perform an audit. An audit is essentially a health check for your social media strategy. During an audit, you’ll want to:
- Look at every social media account you currently have for your brand
- Check to see if the information on the account is up to date and on-brand
- Write down the number of followers you have for each account
- Record which types of posts had the most engagement
- Review your social media success as a whole with tools such as Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics
With an audit out of the way, it’s time to set goals for your social media engagement and strategy. Try to answer the question, “what do I ultimately want to get out of social media for my small business?” Do you want to build a community of loyal fans? Do you want to educate your audience? Do you want to get as many sales as possible?
Your goals may be contingent on who your target audience is and how they use social media. In order to find out how your audience uses social media, you’ll need to do some market research. Browse your competitors’ accounts to see how they are using social media for business, and visit social media accounts that your target audience is likely to hang out in.
2. Decide Which Social Platforms to Use
As you learn more about how to use social media for business, you might start to feel overwhelmed about all the social media platforms out there. Relax. You don’t have to be active on Instagram and LinkedIn and YouTube and Facebook. Pick one or two to focus your attention on.
Choose the social media platform that best aligns with your audience and your goals. Here’s a quick run-down of each social media platform and how they are best used.
This platform is popular among older millennials, Generation Xers, and baby boomers. It tends to attract high-income individuals, and people mostly use it to follow friends and family.4
When it comes to creating a social media strategy for Facebook, you should focus on interactive content, which gets a lot of comments. Videos do really well, as do posts that tell stories or respond to current issues.
More than half of Instagram users are younger than 34 years old, so if you are going after a younger audience, Instagram should be on your radar.5 You should also consider Instagram if you have a lot of visually appealing imagery to share with your audience.
Instagram is focused on imagery, whether that’s photos, videos, or stories. As you create your social media posts for your small business, highlight the type of lifestyle your customers could have if they were to buy your product or service. It’s OK to make them feel a little jealous.
YouTube is another platform popular among younger generations. Young people spend an average of one hour every day watching videos, and most of that time is spent on YouTube.6
You’ll need engaging video content to get the best returns from YouTube. Educational videos and “how to’s” can be a great option.
Twitter is popular for people between the ages of 25 and 49, and it’s important to note that Twitter moves fast.7 Tweets don’t have a long shelf-life, so if you are going to be active on your Twitter account, you need to be on top of things.
If you can carve out a niche for yourself within Twitter, you can get massive returns. Brands with strong voices and clear messaging can be very successful on Twitter.
Do you own a B2B business? Then LinkedIn is where you should be. This is the professional social media platform where talking about work all day, every day is allowed.
To nail it with LinkedIn, you should focus on sharing thought-leadership pieces that establish your authority within your industry.
3. Get to Know Your Audience
Regardless of which social media platform you choose, aim to build real relationships with your followers and engage with them often. Engaging content means different things to different people, so you’ll need to study what your audience likes to talk about and share to get through to them.
Visit your competitors’ social media accounts to see how their audience (who are also your target audience) reacts and responds. Visit social media pages and forums where your audience hangs out to learn more about them. What do they value? What drives them crazy? What do they want to see when they log in to their social media accounts? Answering these questions will help you craft content for them.
4. Quality over Quantity
Within the world of social media, it can feel like constant posting is part of the game. But spitting out memes or low-quality photos won’t do much to help your business, even if you are following a strict social media posting schedule.
Quality content is better than countless social media posts with little to no likes or comments. To create quality content, you should:
- Post purposeful words
- Include high-quality visuals
- Ask questions to spark engagement
- Write about timely topics and be sensitive to current issues
- Be authentic
5. Consider Using Tools
Creating and scheduling posts for your business’ social media account can take a lot of time. We know that you don’t have a lot of time to spare as a small business owner.
Social media scheduling tools can help offload some of that time and stress. Use tools such as Canva and Adobe Spark to quickly design graphics and social media posts, and scheduling tools such as SocialPilot and Hootsuite to plan out posts weeks in advance.
You don’t have to post breathtaking photos or the most clever captions to succeed at social media marketing for your small business. As long as you are authentic to your brand’s values and you establish real relationships with current and potential customers, you’ll see the benefits of a business social media account.