If there's one thing we love, it's social media. On a personal level, it's a great place to express your opinions, show off your personality and interact with your peers.
When it comes to small business social media, well, the sky's the limit! Putting your business out there on social media lets you show off your business expertise, gives people a behind the scenes look at your business and your brand's personality, and, not only that, but helps build leads and drive new business.
We're going to look at some simple do's and don't's to help you improve your small business social media presence.
Are you driving real business from social media?
Social media can be a minefield. A lot of SME's we encounter have dabbled and lost interest or have been overwhelmed at the sheer volume of information and options available to them. It doesn't help that each social media has its own quirks, look and feel, way of using it effectively and set of best practices.
So, what is a small business owner to do? Well, look no further. We have unearthed a fabulous quick guide to the do's and don't's of small business social media.
There are some brilliant nuggets of social media advice in the above graphic and some valuable points to steer clear of. We'll focus on the most important ones and avoid too many negative points:
- Focus on people
Social media is and should be entirely about the people. If you have a website or push out marketing information through other channels, it can be very one-sided. Social media gives your business direct access to your audience to interact with them and start more real conversations
Now, we're not advocating swinging wildly from posting something really corporate to then pictures of dogs chasing a ball, but part of any marketing campaign should be to introduce some changes here and there in order to measure the net effects. For example, it might be that you try a series of videos followed by some simple inspirational images. By changing up what you do and exploring new technologies, you'll be able to see what's working for your business and what resonates with your audience.
- Answer every question and response
This is vital. As well as being active on social media from a posting and content point of view, you need to make yourself available to your fans and followers. By giving them timely responses to questions and messages, you'll build a great reputation and foster a loyal following.
- Build your audience
It's not all about paid advertising when it comes to social media. By highlighting your social channels on your website, blog, or even in person at, say, a networking event and encouraging people to engage with you there, you'll start to grow your audience numbers.
- Share your expertise and opinions
Again, you need to exercise a degree of caution here when giving out opinions, but social media is the ideal place to have meaningful conversations and debates with others. By giving and sharing expertise and opinions with others you'll be able to help influence and educate, as well as being open to new ideas.
- Encourage sharing
Think about the 80/20 rule here. 80% of what you share should be aimed at your audience and giving them content that they want to consume and share - i.e. content that helps them reach their goals, overcome challenges, gives them a laugh, whatever your audience demands. 20% of your content can be more about you and your business.
- Build your reputation
One of the common requests we get about social media is 'can you help me grow my following'. Our answer is always 'yes', but it's accompanied by 'what's your goal?'. Growing a following is useful and it's certainly impressive to have 10,000 followers on Twitter but larger follower numbers and likes don't necessarily translate to more business.
Stay committed to providing engaging content and starting meaningful conversations with your audience and build your reputation, not just/only your follower base.
- Use the right social channels
This take a little research but don't be pressured into having an account on every single social channel going. If you find that Twitter works well for your business, focus on that. If Facebook and Pinterest are right for you, go for those and don't have a Twitter presence.
Remember, more social accounts need more dedication and upkeep and there's nothing worse than coming across a company on a social media platform that hasn't posted for months. You'd be better off being absent from there than having a dead presence.
Looking for more?
We have a lot of other great resources on using social media for business. Here are some of our most popular:
- 5 Social Media Marketing Tips for Beginners and Pros
- Avoid these 8 social media mistakes
- Running a successful social media campaign
- Best practices for LinkedIn
In the end, it's about consistency
Whatever your approach to social media, the best results come from consistency, day in, day out, and looking at what's working and what isn't.
Do more of what's working well for you and look to improve weaker areas or leave them behind.