Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

Growing the awareness of a small business on social media is not easy, particularly if you are providing a relatively niche service such as window furnishings. However, that’s not to say it is impossible. When I took over my company’s social media channels, we had just 167 followers on Twitter… just over a year later, we are now on over 2,300 – a number which continues to rise. Similarly, the Facebook likes have gone from 1,200 to over 3,300, completely organically.

Offer Incentive

Buying followers is never a good idea, and it is easy to spot if a company has done this thanks to the many dead accounts on their Follower page. Nonetheless, if your social media accounts are in need of more followers, one organic way to grow your numbers swiftly is to run a competition. Sponsor a post on Facebook and Twitter, ensuring you hashtag the word “competition” within the post, and offer a prize that is related to what your company does.

For example, we recently ran a competition to coincide with Roald Dahl Day, which gave five people the opportunity to win a cushion in a Roald Dahl fabric of their choice. All they had to do was follow and retweet the post, and with a £20 budget behind the Tweet, we got over 400 new Twitter followers, and the post was retweeted more than 800 times.

Naturally, you will lose a few followers once the competition is over, but thousands of people across social media will have been made aware of your company and what you do.

Collaborate

As both the Copywriter and Social Media Manager for a small business, I have found that the content you generate for your website is an ideal way to build your social media presence, as well as drive traffic to your website. I believe that all companies should have a blog on their website; this is the perfect way to showcase your products in-depth, as well as promote your news and upcoming offers.

This year, we took it a step further with our site’s blog and created the ‘Be Inspired’ page. This page gifts weekly interior design ideas to our audience, and we outreach this by asking for quotes from other businesses in similar industries to ours, without being direct competitors. These companies are only too pleased to be cited as experts in their field within an article on an interior design blog, and happily share and retweet this content when we publish it across social media. We have seen our social following soar since we launched this page, and have also found ourselves being approached by other businesses, asking if we would feature quotes by them in future articles.

Aside from the networking angle this approach has, it also gives you the chance to utilise Instagram and Pinterest; create pin boards that are dedicated to the articles and get pinning pictures that are relevant to the topic. Our Pinterest following has increased in recent months, since we started to pin things related to our blog content. Similarly, post the images you use for your blogs on Instagram, and create your own unique hashtag for people to follow.

We have also seen and SEO benefit from this approach, as several of the companies have linked the articles on their website, helping to drive traffic to our website, particularly the products we link in the articles.

Add some personality

Okay, not every company will have an employee who’ll be willing to go outside and make a snow angel, like our crazy interior stylist, Ana! Nonetheless, posting some updates that aren’t purely sales-driven is a low-effort and fun way of showing your customers that there is some personality within your business. This helps to build trust with your target market, and also shows that you aren’t too busy to let a little levity into your working day. It’s especially important in the world of e-commerce to show that there are real people with real lives beyond a faceless website.

We work with a lot of charities, and social media is the perfect place to promote our campaigns; we have made dog blankets for Dogs Trust, syringe driver bags for hospices all over the UK, and donated tons of fabric to the likes of Oxfam and Scope. All of these good deeds are shared on social, providing great PR for us and raising awareness for the good causes – everyone’s a winner.

Even just asking your followers a question, such as “Who do you think will win in the final of The X-Factor?” will show that you care about their opinion, but also that you have interests other than just taking their money and pushing your products or service. Although, it’s probably best to steer away from asking questions related to politics or religion.


by James Nuttall – Copywriter and Social Media Manager for www.roman-blinds-direct.co.uk, Twitter: @InteriorGoods