We have many answering service clients who run small businesses and it is our ultimate goal to help them succeed. Putting together a strong social media plan has become essential for small business success.
Today, people are able to connect with each other from virtually anywhere through social media. We can maintain strong, up-to-date relationships with friends and family unlike any other time in history. The power of this technology has become a megaphone; amplifying the human experience and making it possible for people from different countries to discover common interests and become friends despite great distances. When viewed on the World Stage, social media has proven to be both an empowering beacon that can unite individuals to rise up and achieve common goals, as well as a destructive device used by extremists to recruit soldiers, or even sway the outcome of elections.
Harnessing this unprecedented power for profit has been the goal of many marketers and business owners ever since a 19-year-old college kid opened â€śthefacebook.comâ€ť for himself and his fellow students. Since then, many have claimed to have discovered the key to capitalizing on these platforms. However, very few have been able to truly demonstrate real, measurable results.
The good news is that these tools can be used to connect your business to a HUGE audience of potential customers. Unfortunately, without the right strategies in place, your efforts could go to waste. That is why we have decided to help out by putting together this short, but powerful list of social media tips for small businesses.
Step 1: Focus Only On The Platforms Your Target Market Is On
As the owner of the business, you know who your customers are. Using a recent study from the Pew Research Center, you could look through some statistics and decide where it would be most valuable for you to set up a social media presence. Maybe you sell remote control drones to mostly men who are anywhere from 18-29. If so, you would likely decide to build a profile on Facebook as well as one on Instagram. Or perhaps you sell womenâ€™s hair products online making your target customers all women, which could cause you to lean more towards Pinterest instead of (or maybe in addition to) Instagram.
Thereâ€™s no sense in wasting your time on a platform that your target market isnâ€™t using. So make sure you do look into this before committing to a social media site.
Step 2: Finish what you started
Once you start to build an audience on your channels, it is important to continue to publish and stay relevant or risk losing the value you gained from that initial time investment. Social media platforms, like Facebook, have advanced algorithms built into them that determine whether your posts are relevant enough to show up in the â€śnews feedsâ€ť of your followers. This doesnâ€™t mean post simply for the sake of getting something out there, however. In fact, EdgeRank (Facebookâ€™s algorithm) is constantly changing to weed out spam posts in an attempt to protect the quality of the platform. Algorithms like EdgeRank are designed instead to give you â€śboostsâ€ť based on how much your audience interacts with each post. This means the more relevant and engaging your content is and the more it gets liked/shared/commented on, the more likely your NEXT post will show up in your followerâ€™s feed. So make sure to keep the conversations going and continue to engage.
Step 3: Identify Your Metrics For Success
Most social media platforms come with their own analytic tools. However, not all data is created equal. Analytics in social media should be taken with a grain of salt and only used as internal channel indicators. Getting caught up in â€śvanity metricsâ€ť like how many likes your warehouse pic received could become a distraction from the kind of metrics that keep your business alive, like sales. That is not to say you should ignore these metrics either. Instead, you should determine which of the metrics provided are the best indicators that your posting strategy is working.
The most common goals to measure in social media are:
- Grow your audience
- Get your followers to â€śEngageâ€ť with your posts or share your promotion
- Drive traffic to your website
Whichever of these goals fits best with your strategy, youâ€™ll need to make sure youâ€™ve decided how you plan to measure your success.
Successfully creating and maintaining a social media presence on any one of the social channels out there will be no simple task. Each platform comes with its own unique culture, etiquette and tricks to getting the most out of the social experience. Even though you are sure to face a bit of a learning curve for any of the channels you choose, these three powerful tips should serve as a solid set of standards to follow when building your small businessâ€™s social media strategy.