The Ultimate Guide to Social Media For Your Small Business
Social media can be an excellent tool to bring in new customers. Produce and share content that followers want to share with their friends. Invite people to learn more about your company. Share news about your company and its products or services. Connect with your followers!
Major disclaimer: there is no set social media site that is perfect for every business. It varies greatly depending on the type of business, the target market, the time you can commit, etc. You may already have a social media site, or more than one. That’s great, but are you using social media the right way?
You must be active on all of your social media networks to be the most effective, so don’t stretch yourself too thin. If you only have time to consistently post on one or two networks, stick to that. Having stale profiles on six different platforms will not draw people in.
Uses of Social Media
One of the best uses for social media is customer service. Customers will post positive and negative feedback on your pages. Make it part of someone’s job to respond as quickly as possible to each and every bit of feedback you get. Showing good customer service online will show people that you care.
Social media is free marketing. You can pay for ads or pay to “boost” Facebook posts, but all of the sites themselves are free. You can save the money you would have spent on traditional marketing such as a signage and instead do some targeted marketing through social media.
Let’s go through each popular social media platform and how to use them for your business. Decide what platform sounds right for you.
This is the biggest social media network and there is a huge business presence. You can target large audiences on Facebook because people of all ages use it. It is also a great starting point because it is relatively easy to use.
You can set up a business page and control it from your personal Facebook. You can also write posts about your company’s updates and events. You can post photos and videos of your business and clients. You can create events and invite people to them. Remember to also publish content that is interesting to your followers, such as holiday posts or special sales.
Include a link to your website as often as possible. If you are posting about a certain product, link to the page on your site where you can order that product or learn more about it.
Include a link to your website and your telephone number in the captions of your cover photo and profile picture. Your profile picture should be your logo, and you do not have to update it periodically. However, your cover photo should be unique. Update it every few months. If you have a special event or campaign happening, make your cover photo reflect that.
You can also use hashtags on Facebook now, which exposes your content to people who might not have seen it otherwise.
Twitter is similar to Facebook in that you can post basically any type of content. You can share text, photos, videos and polls to your page. Everything that you share on Twitter is called a tweet.
One major difference between Facebook and Twitter is the character limit. On Twitter, all of your posts must have 140 or fewer characters. Your videos also have a limit of 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Twitter is a more modern and casual site, so don't be afraid to shorten your message by using the & sign or writing a 2 instead of the word too if necessary.
Unlike Facebook, which uses an algorithm to choose which posts a user sees, Twitter users can see every tweet in their network. This gives you a great opportunity for reach, but it also makes your posts very short-lived. Post at least a few times a week, but know that this is a good platform to post even multiple times per day.
Twitter is all about connections. You will have followers, and you should also follow other accounts. Find accounts that are similar to yours, or give your followers a follow back. Retweet posts related to your brand to keep your name in others’ feeds without having to create new content.
Hashtags were created for Twitter. Putting them in your posts can be very beneficial. They have the same effect here as on Facebook, so come up with some that you can use for both platforms.
Twitter appeals mostly to younger audiences, so it may not be the best platform for you if your target market is older. If you are a B2B (Business to Business) company, Twitter could be perfect.
There are no text posts on Instagram. Every post is either a picture or a video. If your company does not have the ability to take good, visually appealing photos, then Instagram is not right for you. If you are in a business whose product or service photographs well, such as food, painting or landscaping, then Instagram is definitely a place in which to invest your time.
If you have a mostly mobile audience, this is also a good platform for you. Instagram is formatted to be almost exclusively mobile. The desktop version does not allow you to post photos, tag users or edit captions.
If your website analytics show you that your audience is mobile, you have a beautiful landscaping project you just finished, and you have at least basic photography skills, get your business out there on Insta. And you guessed it, hashtags on this platform are important as well!
Pinterest is the Forever 21 of social media platforms. It’s a bit disorganized and overwhelming at first, but very enjoyable for those who figure it out. It also has a primarily female audience, so if that is not your target market, this is probably not the platform for you.
The Pinterest format functions like a corkboard. Each user has their own boards and follows other boards. Each board has a topic around it. For instance, one user may have a board where they pin recipe ideas, and another where they pin outfit inspirations.
Like Instagram, all posts have to be either photos or videos, so this is another platform where photography skills and photo opportunities are a must.
Hashtags work a bit differently here. Not only will clicking on a hashtag bring up results with that exact phrasing, but also with any combination of the words. This opens your posts up to even more reach, but also means you should keep your hashtags very concise to keep people from finding you that are not interested.
If your company is B2B, LinkedIn is a great resource for you. You may know it as the site where people go to place their resumes in hopes of finding a job. That is one use, but it can also be a platform to use as a resume for your business.
Keep your profile up to date. Check each week to be sure that any changes have been added. This way, any individual or business looking for you will have accurate information.
Your profile can help connect you to potential partners for your business. It can also bring you new hires. If you are hiring for a position, you want potential candidates to be impressed with the LinkedIn profile of your business.
Again, be sure to link back to your website so that people can continue to learn more about you.
Choose the platforms that sounded right for you, and get to work. If you choose more than one platform, consider using a tool like Sprout Social or Hootsuite. These tools allow you to organize all of your different sites into one place. You can schedule your posts ahead of time and send them all from one spot, rather than having to log in to multiple places.
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