It is true that small businesses benefit from being on social media. It lets them increase their reach, gain insights about key audiences, receive immediate customer feedback and more. Yet for a small business owner already wearing a dozen different hats, knowing where and how to build a social media presence can seem daunting.
So here are some tips to get you started. As time goes on and you start to better understand how social media works and can benefit your business, then you can build your presence across the social media universe.
Where to Post
Posting just means adding content about your business to a social media platform. The biggest platforms (websites) are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.
The goal of being on social media is to reach your targeted audience, so knowing which platform to join depends on where your customers are. Nearly everyone is on Facebook. In fact, according to Pew Research, 79% of online adults use Facebook and they are spread fairly evenly across gender, income and education lines. So Facebook is generally a good place to post no matter what type of business you have.
On the other hand, only 32% of online adults use Instagram, and they tend to be younger, age 18 to 29. There are also more females than males on the platform. So if your primary audience is middle-aged male motorcycle riders, then posting on Instagram is probably a waste of time.
What to Post
Look at what your competitors are posting. See which posts get the most comments. This can give you some ideas about what to post about your business. If you own a shoe store, then you might post about the latest trends or designs. If you own a construction company, then you might post about different building techniques.
It is better to post useful content – information that benefits readers – than it is to post promotional content. People are on social media to connect with friends and be entertained. They are not there to be marketing targets. Your post should be engaging but not overtly trying to sell something. At best, users will ignore an obviously promotional post. At worst, they might leave negative comments for everyone to see.
Include clear, crisp pictures with your post to invite more interaction from your audience. You can take these yourself with a smartphone or tablet and edit them with a free online photo editor. Or you can buy them from an online stock photo website for a few dollars each. Make sure you ask about licensing policies, though, before posting any purchased photos.
When to Post
Posting on a consistent basis is key. It builds credibility and loyalty because it creates brand transparency. Posting on a haphazard basis suggests that no one is minding the store or that you do not care enough about your customers to keep them in the loop.
Start by posting once a day at a different time to see what time of the day works best. Maybe morning posts get more interaction than afternoon posts or visa versa. Once you know the best time of the day to post, then post at that time on a regular basis.
Consider investing in an online scheduling tool to make posting less arduous. These let you plan posts ahead of time and schedule them for posting at specific times on the platforms that you choose. You will save time and post more consistently.
If your posts are doing particularly well – customers are sharing your content, leaving comments and asking questions – then consider posting more often. Do not overdo it, though. Too many posts can feel like spam and be worse than not posting at all.
The social media universe can seem overwhelming, particularly to an already overworked small business owner. Yet taking the time to figure out the best platform(s) to post on, posting engaging, non-promotional material and posting on a regular basis will pay off. The social media revolution is not going anywhere, and small businesses that join it are looking to the future.
To learn more about how to improve your marketing strategies, give us a call at 661-702-1310!