There isn’t a single reason why any business should not be dedicating time and resources to marketing via social media. With such a large percentage of the population active on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat every day, it gives you unlimited opportunity to attract new customers and generate sales.
Since social media is such a huge opportunity, it has made it very competitive, and you need to have a solid plan in place if you want to stand out and see real results. To help you put together a solid winning game plan for the upcoming year, here are ten tips that successful small business owners suggest you pay attention to, as they have contributed to their success marketing on social media.
1. Use automation to ensure consistent posting.
In order to be found and seen on social media you need to post consistently. “Many people assume that they can throw up one or two posts and see results,” says Chris Moberg, President of Slumber Search. “Then, when they don’t see any results after those first couple of posts they give up or claim social media isn’t right for their business.”
You have to post consistently, and one of the easiest ways to ensure this is by using a tool to help schedule and post your content across all of your social media profiles. “Hootsuite is very user-friendly and they also have a free plan that will suit most small business owners just fine,” adds Moberg.
2. Actively comment on relevant content.
When it comes to being discovered, one of the easiest ways to do this is by commenting on content relevant to your niche. “A customer isn’t exactly going to be looking to follow or engage with an auto glass company on social media out of thin air, but if they see use commenting on relevant posts, like a local car club, for example, they may check us out in the event they are in need of what we offer,” suggests the owner of Auto Glass Specialists of Billings.
By strategically commenting on content belonging to accounts that your target audience is likely to follow it can help you gain some momentum and exposure. Remember you never want to spam. Always try to provide replies and input with value.
3. Repost and share relevant industry news.
Not every small business is going to have enough relevant news within their niche to create a lot of original content. “If you are low on original content, re-post and re-share content from other similar accounts. Now, you don’t want to promote a competitor, but there are plenty of sources of similar information that your audience will find useful,” says John Stacy, VP of Sales and Marketing at Peek's Floor Co.
When you do this enough, you will often pick up followers that view your business as a sour e of relevant and useful information. This helps to establish credibility, and then when they are ready to buy you are fresh on their mind.
4. Make sure your niche and expertise is clear.
You can’t be all over the place when it comes to the content you post. “Now, just because you see some meme accounts receiving millions of views and high engagement, doesn’t mean you should start posting memes. Stay on-topic and make sure that your expertise is crystal clear when looking at your social media feeds,” advises Kate Moore of Parked In Paradise.
With so much competition for the same attention across social media, you need to do everything possible to attract the most followers and engagement. One way is by being the unconditional expert in your niche, so take the time to create content that makes it very clear what your business does.
5. Mimic what is working for others
“While you want to publish original content when possible, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the best,” says Ricky So, founder of Bitesize Digital Creative Agency. “See what the leaders in your industry are doing and then figure out ways to do it even better.”
You can also turn to similar industries to draw inspiration from. The companies winning at social media are constantly raising the bar, so you will need to stay on top of current trends to make sure you don’t get left behind.
6. Take full advantage of your bio character limit.
Every social media platform allows you to fill out a bio section, each with different character limits to accomplish this. “Take full advantage, using all of the space to help draw more attention to your business and highlight the reasons they should take time to check out your account,” suggests Christopher Kerr, VP of Marketing at Earnhardt Auto Centers. “You should also attempt to work in a call-to-action within your bio as well.”
A lot of businesses will just throw in their homepage URL as well, but sometimes it’s best to direct link to special offers or other pages on your website where there is a higher probability of converting traffic.
7. Don’t mix business and pleasure.
“If you want to get in on the social media action yourself, create a separate account. Never use your business accounts to comment on irrelevant content or post anything unrelated to your business and industry,” says David Sessford, Managing Director of Ready Steady Sell. “If you mix business and pleasure it makes your account look amateurish and it can turn many potential customers off.”
Now, if your business is you, meaning you are posting on behalf of your personal brand, you should remain professional at all times. You can have an opinion, but just try to remain neutral as to not potentially isolate a segment of your audience.
8. Commit to being active daily -- even if for just 10 minutes.
The only way to gain momentum on social media is by participating daily. You cannot take a day off, so commit to posting and engaging daily.
“Even if you can only spare 10 minutes a day, do it, because over time that dedication will help you build a presence. It’s better than nothing and over time you will learn how to maximize your social media participation,” explains Raz Klinghoffer of Raz Klinghoffer Recording Studios Los Angeles. “Even if it’s 10 minutes during your lunch -- be fully committed and you will see results over time.”
9. Leverage the phone and email contact sync options.
Building an audience in the beginning doesn’t have to be difficult, especially using some of the built-in features available. “You can find people to connect with on social media by using the email and phone contact options. You will typically see a good response rate because these are people you already know, making them much more likely to support your business,” says Jonathan Rolande, Director of House Buy Fast.
You can also use your email lists and load them into a Facebook campaign, which allows you to target people that already know your business, which will help you attract engagement on your content much easier than if you were marketing to a cold audience.
10. Avoid participating in controversial discussions and engagement.
“It doesn’t matter if you love President Trump or hate him; never comment about politics, religion, or anything else controversial on social media,” says the owner of Lawsuit Legal, a website that helps locate workers rights lawyers. “When discussing politics, you can never make everyone happy, so just leave that talk off your company social media accounts.”
I wouldn’t even participate on your personal accounts either, as you are always the face of your business, and anything you say on your personal accounts can reflect negatively on your business, when seen by someone with opposite views or opinions.