You’re a small business owner and you have a million things on your to-do list. Clients, meetings, contracts, payroll, human resources… the list goes on. The last thing you want to worry about is your social media presence. You’ve heard that your company should be active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe even LinkedIn. But you’re busy trying to manage and grow a business; it’s not one of your priorities right now.
Don’t worry, most small business owners have been in your shoes.
As the Founder of Launch Media Group, a social media marketing agency, I’ve worked with dozens of small business owners on their social media strategy, content creation and digital advertising efforts. Although there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are numerous tips and tricks out there to help your small business establish the social media presence you desire.
Having a strong social media presence will increase your online exposure, generate leads, enhance brand awareness and so much more.
Buckle up; I’m about to give you my social media survival kit…
To Begin, Let’s Review The Most Popular Social Media Platforms & Their Target Audiences
According to the PEW Research Center, demographics on social platforms break down like this:
- Facebook: Dominant in the 18-29 and 30-49 age ranges (88 percent of users are within these age ranges)
- Instagram: Dominant in the 18-29 age range, not as popular for users over 35 years old
- Pinterest: Primarily women users between the ages of 18 and 49
- LinkedIn: Primarily career-oriented users between the ages 25-49
- Twitter: Dominant in the 18-29 age range
These platforms make up “The Big 5” and are typically the most utilized social media platforms across the board. Get familiar with them, because you will need to know their main functionalities.
With this information you should be able to nail down which social media platforms will be most important for your small business.
Keep It Simple and Remember: Content Is King.
Don’t overcomplicate the process. Work on creating consistent content on one or two platforms. Don’t try to be a superhero on all of them straight out of the gate. This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen business owners make again and again. They tend to fall behind when they try to do too much at once. Your searchable online presence will look scattered and unkempt if you aren’t consistent, so don’t overcommit. You know what you can handle, so commit to that.
To start, you’ll want to create a schedule for content, giveaways, sales and anything else you wish to feature online. Social media is meant to be a two-way conversation with your target audience. Focus on keeping a consistent posting schedule on the platforms your target audience is most active on. If you do this, you’ll be making strides in no time.
Engage With Others.
The most organic way to grow your social media following is to engage with other users through
likes, comments and messages. Follow users you are genuinely interested in and leave real
comments on their posts. Authenticity goes a long way on social media.
You’ll want to set aside a specific amount of time per week to engage and interact on your accounts. Just know that establishing your social media presence will take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were most social media accounts. There is no magic button. Above all, success on social media requires consistency, creativity and dedication. Just remember: you will thank yourself six months from now. Your brand will have a stronger online presence, and your potential customers will have an easier way to find you.
FAQ: I’ve heard people talk about this “hashtag” thing. What does it mean and should I be using them?
A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter and other platforms. It allows users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging that makes it possible for others to easily find messages with a specific theme or content.
It is commonly said that Twitter started the hashtag, but Instagram perfected it. On Twitter, every hashtag you use turns into a clickable link. Under this link, you can see all of the content containing that hashtag.
A hashtag makes your content findable on social media. For example, on Instagram, you can search the hashtag #soccer under tags and you will find all related posts with the same hashtag. Hashtags are a crucial part of your social media marketing strategy. However, there are many do’s and don’ts when it comes to hashtags on social media.
The Do’s of Hashtags
- Do keep your hashtags primarily for Twitter and Instagram.
- Tip: To make your Instagram posts appear cleaner, put your hashtags in the comments. You can include up to 30 hashtags.
- Do industry research on what hashtags your competitors use.
- Do remember that hashtags increase engagement and help you reach potential clients and customers effectively.
FAQ: Are there any tools out there that can help me with social media?
Yes, of course! There are plenty of free tools to help you stay consistent with your social media, create engaging content and take action – starting today!
Hootsuite + Buffer are popular social media management tools that allow users to schedule and post updates to any page or profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other platforms from one place. Scheduling your content ahead of time keeps you consistent.
UNUM is an Instagram tool that helps you illustrate your story. UNUM has an open grid system that allows you to layout your content ahead of time and view how it will look before posting it. It’s great for scheduling content.
Bit.ly is a URL shortener that takes long web addresses and turns them into something much shorter and aesthetically appealing. This is especially useful for Twitter posts and link shares.
A Few Key Takeaways…
- Establishing a strong social media presence takes time. Don’t get too frustrated in the beginning.
- Remember that just like anything else in your business, it’s a process.
- The key to social media success is consistency.
- Always try to stick to a regular posting schedule for your accounts.
- Post three to four times per week (at minimum) on each platform.
- Carefully customize and design your content. Don’t rush it.
- Try to respond to all direct messages and inquiries within 24 hours.
If done correctly, social media will increase your online exposure, generate leads and enhance overall brand awareness for your small business.