If you’re active on social media, you know exactly how much valuable and helpful information gets shared every single minute of every day on each platform. Yet, many small businesses aren’t using social media to its full potential because they’re simply not sure where to start or if it’ll be worth the time investment.
The fact is, social media is here to stay and offers a way for even the smallest businesses to create awareness of their brand and build a community. Marketers rely so heavily on social media because it’s a proven way to get in front of new customers and connect with existing ones.
Plus, social media has changed how we shop. Social networks are now the top source of inspiration for consumer purchases. In a PWC survey, 37% of consumers indicated they turn to social for inspiration when shopping.
Here’s how to make the most of social media for your SMB and our top small business social media secrets of success.
Create Your Social Media Strategy
One of the biggest mistakes SMBs make with social media is jumping in without a plan. Having a social media strategy will help you create a consistent, professional presence on your social media platforms of choice. This includes choosing the right platform to connect with your customers.
Social Media Audit
The first step to creating your strategy is conducting an audit of your current social media accounts. If you’re starting from scratch with social, these are all things to consider.
For your audit, review:
- Username/handle: Is it the same across all accounts?
- Profile information: Is the about or bio text consistent through all accounts?
- Profile/cover images: Does the imagery reflect the look and feel of your brand? Are the images the right size?
- Follower count: How many people follow each account?
- Content performance: Which posts have performed the best? Which posts have had the least amount of engagement? With what frequency are you publishing?
- Audience demographics: Who’s your audience for each social media platform? Is it the same for all accounts, or does it vary by social media platform? Consider age, geography and other key demographics to narrow in on the right target.
Choosing the Right Social Platform
Once you know who your target audience is, you can decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your business.
Ask yourself: Which platforms do your target audience hang out on? What do they do while they are there? What state of mind are they in?
For example, if your customer uses Instagram as an escape and loves browsing the Cats of Instagram account at 10:30 p.m., they may not be in the right frame of mind to see a post about your local car dealership. In this case, you may be better served to think about where they would be looking for information about a car — or at least be in the state of mind that they’re going to pay attention to your post.
When deciding which social platform(s) to use, the first thing to know is that you don’t need to be on every single platform. In fact, you’ll likely get better results by taking a less is more approach — especially as you have limited resources as a small business. Remember, you can always become more active on other platforms at a later time once you’ve grown your audience on the first one or two.
Finally, keep in mind that just because you personally favor one platform, such as Facebook, doesn’t mean your audience does as well. Think carefully about the demographics and behavior of your audience before choosing which platform(s) to focus your efforts on. Also, identify which social platforms your competition is successfully using as that will provide clues about where your target audience may be already active.
What You Need to Know About Each Platform
Here are the most prevalent platforms used by small businesses and their audiences and what you need to know about each one:
With over 2 billion users, over 75% of whom check the platform daily, Facebook has the widest reach of all social networks. With robust features, including Pages, Groups, Marketplace, Messenger and advertising, Facebook offers a wide range of features to reach customers, sell products and create communities around your business.