For many small business owners, the idea of using social media can be overwhelming. Some tell us they feel that it’s a waste of time and that they don’t need to use social media. They believe only bigger brands benefit from it. This is simply untrue. It’s actually quite the opposite.
Others recognize the importance of social media, but aren’t quite sure where to begin. With all of the options out there, this is understandable.
Either way, in today’s environment, social media is key to a successful online marketing campaign, as long as it’s done effectively.
The following social media tips will help you learn how to use social media effectively and can help you get noticed on the most popular social networks.
1. Spread the Word
In order to be able to use social media to communicate with your customers, they need to be following you. If you haven’t used social media as a communication tool yet, use your current resources to spread the word. You can do this in many ways:
- Hang a poster in your store or office mentioning your business can be found on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Let people know that you would appreciate a like or follow on social media.
- Include your social media handles on your receipts.
- Send an announcement via email and ask for a follow
People are interested in following businesses, especially small ones because they know specials are often announced on social media. In fact, you can even offer a special coupon to anyone following you. For example, if you’re a local ice-cream shop you could post that anyone who comes into the shop and shows they “like” you on Facebook gets a free cone. Find creative ways to incentivize people to follow you on social media and you’ll start to grow your audience base faster.
2. Update Your Accounts Regularly
Once you gain followers on social media, you want to keep them. In order to do so, it’s important to regularly update your account.
Social media is like any other type of content marketing — value is key. Make sure that you’re providing valuable content to your audience at least 3-4 times per week and vary the type of content you’re posting. I recommend using a mix of the following types of posts:
- Entertainment: Post things that your audience will find interesting or funny. These posts are meant to connect with your audience and keep them engaged.
- Special Offers: Post about discounts and coupons that you’re making available only to your followers.
- Sales and Promotions: If you’re running a big promotion on a product on your site or in-store, post about it.
- Events and News: Keep your followers in the loop about what’s happening with your business. Were you featured in an article? Post about it. Did you receive an award? Let your followers know!
- Content Focused: If you’re writing blog content (which I highly encourage!) make sure to send it out via social media so you drive more traffic to the content.
Consistency is key when it comes to social media. The more often you post quality content, the more likely you are to keep building your audience and to keep them engaged.
3. Hold a Social Media Contest
A great way to engage people online is to hold a contest. You can encourage people to share your page, post, or simply like your page by choosing someone randomly to receive a gift or discount. All you have to do is keep track of everyone who likes or shares your page/post, and then select one person at random.
Some small businesses hold photo contests, which can be really fun for people. All they have to do is post a picture related to the business and use a hashtag or tag the business on it. You can then keep track of the people who participate by following the hashtag or tags and then your winner at the close of the contest.
The goal of these contests is to get people to not only engage with your page, but to share your business with others. This can bring more people to your page, and increase its reach through the shares and is, therefore, a great way to organically grow your audience. Facebook and Instagram determine your reach based on how popular your posts are, so getting people to interact with your posts can boost the exposure of them significantly.
4. Share Trending Posts
Creating your own posts is great for branding, but it’s nice to let your audience know you’re keeping up with industry trends by sharing posts from related brands and businesses. Is there a popular video going around related to your business? Write your thoughts in a caption and share it on Facebook. Did someone post an image on Instagram that your audience would love? Regram the photo and tag the original creator of the post. This is a great way to engage your followers by presenting them with great content without having to take a ton of time to create it. Plus, this is a way to network with other companies and brands on social media, and this could lead to better reach not only for the viral content you’ve shared but for your other posts too.
5. Track What Works and What Doesn’t
The best way to improve the effectiveness of your social media marketing is to track how well what you post performs. Track the day, time, and type of post. As you keep track, you may see that some posts perform better at certain times of the day, and better on some days rather than others. The type of post matters too, and you’ll likely see that image posts perform better than videos, or vice versa. When you have that information, you can post more of what’s working best.
This can seem a bit overwhelming, but take one tip and work on that first. For example, start with letting people around you know about your presence on Facebook, Twitter, etc. As you do that, be sure to post on your social media accounts. As you master these tips, you can move on to another one. You will soon be utilizing all of them, which will really take your online marketing and business to a new level.