Tweet, post, pin – these are mostly likely terms you’ve heard family, friends and colleagues use referring to social media, but these are no longer just fun ways to connect with friends but fundamentals in any business. Social media is pretty much a necessity in this modern, constantly connected world. As a small business owner you might be asking yourself, do I need to be active on social media? The answer is most likely yes, but it isn’t enough to simply have an account, you need to know effective ways to use social media to connect with your audience. Here are five things to know about social media that can get you started and help figure out ways to successfully shape a social media campaign.
1. Know your audience
When launching a social media campaign it is important is to think about your audience and who will likely be reading your posts. The first step is to determine if social media is right for your company since it isn’t necessarily relevant to every industry. For example, if you are a small business owner of a construction company, it’s more than likely your audience isn’t too concerned with your social media presence. Once you’ve decided you want to get active on social media, you need to take the time to get to know your audience and figure out what type of content they will find appealing. Think about the industry, company or individual that would be interested in following you and what kind of information you want to share. Posts need to be interesting, engaging and relevant to your followers to keep them visiting your pages looking for new updates.
2. Measure content
Even though you may think you have a good idea of who your audience is and what they might want to read, if you are just starting a social media campaign it’s likely you aren’t going to nail this with the first few posts. It will be necessary to take a few weeks to post several articles and different types of content and then look at your metrics to see what is creating the most engagement. Using an analytics tool, you can get an idea of what your audience responds to and will be able to shape your social media strategies better in the future. Tracking what works and what doesn’t work allows you to monitor your audience and Internet trends, so you can be ready to adjust when needed. Being flexible and adaptable is key to maintaining a strong social media presence.
3. Build an online community
Social media gives you a way to communicate with your audience outside of a traditional website. It gives you the opportunity to share information that will inform them, help them and possibly entertain them- the types of things there typically isn’t room for on a business oriented website. These channels give you the tools to build a voice for your company and to elevate your brand within the community. Being a small business, your surrounding physical neighbors and companies are an important part of your success so why not expand this mentality to your digital efforts.
Social media can be a more informal way of communicating with clients and gives you a chance to show your personality; it’s more conversational than traditional advertising. This also gives you the opportunity to establish your company as a trusted source for information. By posting useful content that appeals to your followers you can build relationships and establish your brand as an important ally in the community. Also, treat social media as a means of two-way communication and see what your followers like, what concerns they express online, and be sure to respond to any comments left on posts. Building an online community broadens the scope of networking and conversing with potential clients.
4. Use social media to your advantage
Social media offers a multitude of free opportunities for small business owners to enhance their brand when used effectively. Social media offers small businesses what once only large companies could achieve. For example, you can share videos or images that will be visually engaging with ease. These tools bridge the gap between what large agencies and broadcasting companies once only had the resources to do and what small businesses can now accomplish. Taking full advantage of these networks can be liberating to a small company that may not have a large pool of financial resources, as they can do more for less money. It is also important to use each activated social media channel in the right way. While it may be tempting always to schedule articles to be published across all networks, taking the time to optimize content for each channel is best and will deliver optimum results. The way you craft a post for a 140 character tweet on Twitter will not be the same as a post on Instagram where you can maybe showcase a unique design or brand image.
5. Integrate social media as part of overall digital strategy
Social media should be treated as an extension of your company and be part of your overall digital strategy and online presence. While each network is used to showcase different content, viewers should be able to see an overall theme and gain a sense of who you are as a brand. Each network should link back to your website to encourage people to visit and increase traffic. After seeing your voice and personality through social media, someone can then look at your website and really get a sense of what your company is and the services you provide. Your website is your home base where you have entire creative control and can showcase your strengths. By using social media as an extension of this, you can create a universal voice for your brand that increases interest keeps viewers coming back for more.
Sharing content and engaging with customers and the surrounding community is no longer limited to large corporations; any business can take on a social media campaign to establish online relationships with clients. While it may take some trial and error to establish the right tone, rhythm and successful posts, taking the time to implement these tips can have a positive effect on your company. Now small businesses can instantly communicate with their audience, build an online community and become engaging resources for their followers, so go ahead and try it one tweet at a time!