Why Small Businesses need Social Media and how to do it properly
Social Media currently provides the most effective means of online promotion for small businesses. It’s a fantastic way to get your company’s message out there, along with products and services. It’s your chance to shine! If you’re running a business in 2017 and not using social media, it’s likely you’re missing out on valuable publicity – here are a few reasons why social media is essential if you want your small business to blossom:
Social Media drives traffic to your website: posting links to your website on your social media channels will encourage more click-through. The time spent on your site is generally higher if the user has been referred via social media. If your posts are engaging, informative and interesting users will share them with their friends, creating even more potential traffic to your website.
Social Media allows you to show your company’s human side: Social media is a fantastic way to directly engage and interact with your audience. Posting open ended questions on social media encourages conversation – people will start to talk about your company. Furthermore, if a customer has a problem or query you can address it on social media immediately. People love it when companies actually care about their customers. Even if you get a negative comment or negative feedback, you can directly respond to the customer and try to rectify the situation. If this is done in public other people will see that you’re a caring company – it’s much better than not having any social media channels as you wouldn’t be able to talk it through with customers.
Tone of voice: Of course, content is still king when it comes to developing a unique tone of voice for your company. Social media just adds even more to it. This can work wonders for branding, as you can encompass the key characteristics your business stands for.
Wear Your Whitehat
Boost your SEO campaigns: Social media is an incredible way to support your SEO campaigns. Long gone are the days of spammy black-hat SEO and dodgy link building. Using your social media channels as a springboard to organic white-hat SEO is the way forward. A good example of this is adding your products to Pinterest to get natural links back to your website.
Share and Share Alike
Outreach: Blogger outreach has boomed in the past year – it’s the ultimate linkbuilding method. Reaching out to other companies, charities, industry bloggers, the press and industry associations is amazing with social media. For example, if you’re an ecommerce company selling sofas then you can reach out to companies that compliment your own, such as flooring, and exchange blogs with them. As a result, both blogs will be shared across both companies’ social media channels, greatly increasing business exposure.
How can small businesses do social media well?
Executing and managing your social media campaigns isn’t as hard as it looks. All you need is a strategy, creativity and to know your key demographic. Here are a few essential social media tips for small businesses:
Competitors: Before you start, do your homework and take a look through your competitor’s social media channels. What works for them? What doesn’t work for them? You’ll find out what your demographic engages with, saving you time and hassle.
Building your brand: Decide on the tone of voice you’d like to adopt on social media. Humorous? Edgy? Casual? Official? Whatever you decide, the key aspect is making sure your tone of voice is informative as well as unique.
Images and video: Social media channels, namely Facebook, uses algorithms that prioritise images and video to appear on news feed. It’s a great idea to make sure all social media posts include a photo, image or video of some kind. People are more likely to interact with a post that includes a high quality image of your product or service, rather than just a plain text-only post. Make sure your social media profile pictures include your logo so people will instantly relate the account to your brand.
Don’t Be Shy
Talk to people: This is what social media is all about – reaching out and interacting. Response rate to customer (and potential customer!) queries is important too. If you take days to respond to a customer on social media, this could give off a bad impression to your audience. However, give yourself a time limit to respond to your audience (e.g. within 20 minutes between the hours of 9-5.30) then you’ll certainly be in your audience’s good books.
Outreach: As mentioned above, outreach is a fabulous way in which to interact with others and increase content exposure. Other companies are more than happy to share your posts if you mention them in a blog, social media posts or any other type of content. Build long-term reciprocal online relationships with industry leaders, other businesses and individuals and become a friendly face on social media.
Post frequency and timing: Using automated social media schedulers such as Hootsuite and/or Tweet Deck can save you hours of time per week. You can use analytical tools to determine when the majority of your audience is online – then you can determine the timings of posts. It’s important to understand the platform you’re posting to, for example, posting the same content to Facebook more than once is probably a bad idea, but fine for Twitter. Get this wrong and users will simply unfollow you or “hide” any posts from you on their news feed. The standard frequency of posting on social media is around 3-5 good quality posts per day.
Find Your Crowd
Audience Building: This isn’t as tricky as it seems. Building your audience can come in many different forms. This includes running competitions, following users who have an interest in your industry, following industry leaders, interacting with potential followers, cross-channel promoting (e.g. mentioning on Facebook that your company has a Pinterest page), including social media buttons on your website and even paid advertising.
Keep Content Fresh: Engaging your audience by sharing incredible content on social media is one of the best ways to build an audience online. For this it’s essential that your company has a blog. This can include news relevant to your industry, stories about your team, how-to guides, advantages of choosing your business’s product/services and even quizzes! Keeping it interesting and posting regularly will help your business go a long way.