Social Media For Small Businesses: How to Get Out There
In a time when everything happens online, it’s only logical to get your business on the social media radar. According to the Statista Research Department, people spend an average of 145 minutes on social networks daily. If you want to make the most of this window of opportunity, reach more customers, and scale your business, you have to know how to properly use social media for small businesses.
We’re going to layout the best tips and tricks regarding social media marketing for beginners and help you become a pro in no time.
Summon the power of social media to get your business out there – and let’s get started!
Becoming Fluent in Social Media for Small Businesses
Every small business owner knows the hard work that goes into getting a business to run smoothly. In a small business, the owner may also take the role of an employee. Marketing your small business is a different kind of challenge. With a limited team and the need for controlling the course of your business, executing your marketing strategy wrongfully might have you at risk of falling short on building suitable brand awareness.
The question imposes itself – should you trust someone else to handle your small business campaign for you?
Should You Outsource Social Media for Small Businesses?
Despite what you may think, a lot of planning, time, and effort goes into developing a successful social media strategy. It’s not about snapping a photo here and there and adding random hashtags. It’s a full-time job that’s not cut out for the fainthearted.
Social media marketing for beginners, in particular, is a science that social media agents and agencies are highly skilled in. As such, these can help you reach your growth goals in no time. The expertise they bring to the table is an invaluable investment, especially if you don’t feel like tackling the challenges of social media on your own.
However, no one can market your business better than you – because no one understands your goals like you do. You know who your target audience is and you know what you’re selling, be it goods or services. On the other hand, there’s going to be a lot of back-and-forth communication with the third-party outsourcing agency until you communicate your expectations and objectives clearly.
Running a business campaign comes down to whether you have the time to market it yourself. If you choose the road less traveled and decide to keep social media marketing in-house, make sure you understand what you’re doing. When you close a sale online, you should nurture a relationship with your followers to ensure long-term business success. Don’t sweat it, we’ll show you how to do just that!
Running a Top Small Businesses Social Media Campaign: The Individual Approach
Although promoting your business online may seem like a daunting task, don’t shy away from getting your brand name across social media.
Here are a few steps to ensure your small business social media campaign kick starts on the right foot.
Create an Actionable Plan
Setting up both short-term and long-term goals is crucial when drafting your business plan. While your short-term goal may be racking up more likes and followers, ask yourself two things. One, what do you intend to do with the large follower base in the long run? Two, how much do you expect the conversion rate to increase over a given timeframe?
Next, outline the tactics you will use to achieve your goals. Also, have a schedule set up in place for each team member that’ll be working on your social media marketing. Keep an eye out for the metrics you’re using to track your progress.
Social media metrics are the best indicator of whether your business is headed in the right direction. It can also show you what needs to be improved so you can adjust the plan accordingly.
2. Make Good Use of the Social Media ROI tools
Social media marketing for beginners encourages the use of apt social media ROI tools. Measuring social media ROI is of paramount importance when it comes to figuring out what you’re getting back from your investment in social media marketing.
Determining an accurate ROI in social media for small businesses is tricky, considering ROI is an actual number that shows the return on investment. But, not all investments you’re making can be monetized.
However, keep in mind that time is money, too. Therefore, you can include the labor cost per hour. Multiply it by the total number of hours you’re devoting to social media marketing over a period of time (week, month, year). When calculating ROI, add all the costs related to social media tools you’re using, ad campaign costs, and even paid traffic.
Once you have a clear number of all the investments you made and the value they brought to your business, you can rely on the following formula to calculate ROI for social media:
Value/Investment x 100 = Social Media ROI
To make the process easier, you can use the social media ROI tools mentioned below:
- Google Analytics;
- Hootsuite Impact;
3. Pick Social Media Platforms, the Smart Way
There’s no harm in promoting your business across all social media channels. Even so, you have to know your target audience’s virtual whereabouts. For example, there are more than 500 million active users on Snapchat. However, does your audience hang out there or are they more likely to come across your business on TikTok?
Make sure to invest most of your time and effort in building a strong social media for small businesses presence on all platforms your customers prefer spending time on. Don’t only work hard, but work smart. Start small with a few key platforms to avoid diluting your marketing efforts.
Do your research before picking the best social media platform for your business.
If you don’t know where to start, these social networks may give you the springboard that you need:
4. Audience, audience, audience
Aside from stalking your ex, social media platforms are extremely useful for getting to know your audience. These also help you build strong relationships, reach more visitors, and achieve real business results.
Thanks to social media analytics tools, you can easily take a peek at all relevant data regarding your audience. Learn who’s interacting with you and who’s taking action and buying from your business. You’ll get to know the type of people interested in what you’re offering. Also, you can easily expand your audience by targeting more like-minded individuals.
The number-one benefit of using social media for small businesses is that you’ll get to build long-lasting, profitable relationships with your customers. Respond to their questions in a timely manner, share their feedback publicly, organize giveaways, and more. Remember, your customers are the essence of your business and the key element to your overall success. Know thy audience!
5. Be cool (but stay relevant)
In business, you don’t always have to go with the flow. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it adds value to your brand. It’s important to keep up with the trends and know what people like seeing online. At the same time, you can’t publish cat memes if you’re selling dog food. Duh.
Instead, when using social media for small businesses, build your own online persona that distinguishes you from the rest. Set the tone for your business and stick to it. Create interesting guides on how customers can benefit from your product and stay on topic at all times. Give a personal touch to the content you’re publishing and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Your audience’s likes and preferences may change overnight, so don’t stick to one type of content. If they interact well with gifs, spice things up and publish a video or a collage.
Simply, make the most of all formats of the social media platforms you’re working on.
6. Create a Social Media Content Calendar
What’s the point of publishing great content if no one will see it? Planning what goes where – and when – will save you a lot of time. Simultaneously, it will also help you reach a more interested crowd of followers. A social media content calendar comes in extra handy when you’re overwhelmed with other tasks. Or, when you don’t have the inspiration to create new content.
Your content calendar will significantly improve your consistency, which in turn promises better engagement. You can also easily keep track of the type of content that works, as well as post frequency and most suitable time to post.
Before creating your content calendar, audit your existing content across social networks. This way, you’ll know what you can continue working with, what needs to be improved, and what serves you no purpose anymore.
While there are no rules set in stone when it comes to creating a social media calendar, make sure your calendar includes:
- The post’s contents (text, image, video, etc)
- The exact date and time when you’re publishing the post
- Information about relevant social channels where the post will be live
- Links, tags, and other information you’ll include in the post
You can write, draw, or print the content calendar on your own. There are a lot of apps, tools, and templates that can simplify the process for you and let you schedule your posts and publish them automatically such as:
- Hubspot’s downloadable Excel template
- Google Drive
7. Compete with Your Competitors
It’s paramount that you know what your competitors are doing, their strengths, and their weaknesses. All these will help you stay ahead of your rivals at all times and beat them at their own game. The best way to do this is by conducting a competitive analysis to benchmark your results against others in the industry.
Competitive analysis pinpoints all your competitors on social media. Once you identify them, further analysis will show you which platforms are working the best for them.
Additionally, you’ll spot possible threats to your business, discover existing gaps in your strategy, and generate more growth opportunities.
To complete competitive analysis manually, you should:
- Identify who your competitors are, by checking which brands rank best for your target keywords
- “Stalk” their social media pages to determine which social platforms they’re using and note their behavior – the hashtags they’re using, their engagement rate, what time they’re publishing, etc.
- Perform a SWOT analysis. List your strengths and weaknesses compared to the competitors, potential opportunities, and threats.
If you don’t feel like going through the trouble, you can find a number of social media competitor analysis tools online, including:
- Hootsuite Streams
8. A/B Testing
When using social media for small businesses, it’s essential you learn from your mistakes and refine your performance. Perform regular analysis to see what you’re doing wrong. A small glitch in your social media strategy can cause a lot of trouble and prevent you from being profitable.
A/B testing is an old tactic that made its way in the modern online business world. Thanks to A/B testing, you can test even the smallest variations in your marketing efforts and see how they’re performing in real-time.
Also known as split testing, A/B testing is pretty straightforward. Separate your audience into two groups and set a different variation for each. You’ll see how each of the groups is reacting to the variations and easily conclude which one is the way to go.
You can test any element of your social media posts such as text or anchors, headings, use of images and videos, hashtags, and more. Note the winning variations to build a database of the best practices for your business – and keep testing for effects regularly!
The Importance of Social Media for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, being heard and seen is your top priority in getting people to talk about you. Luckily, today’s obsession with social media works in your favor.
Promoting your business online will open new horizons and help you scale your small business to new heights. Whether you decide to outsource social media or learn the ropes yourself, building a strong online presence is a must. Social media marketing is the future, and the future is now!