Social media presents great opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses – you can be nimble, fun and have plenty of character without having to worry about the layers of approval that larger businesses face when they use social media. I’ve worked on some tips to help you on your way to running great social media channels and thinking about the role it can play in your organization.
- Define your objectives – before you start posting with a scattergun approach, sit down and map out what is important to you. Knowing what results you want will define how you go about using social media. Social media moves swiftly, but that doesn’t mean you should rush into it without a plan! Do you want to:
– get clicks to your website?
– showcase your work?
– talk to your customers?
– take orders/bookings?
– invite people to your events?
- Dedicate a resource – this could mean hiring a hire a full-time employee (if you have the resources) or making sure that you can spend a few hours a week on it yourself. Putting aside the time to be active on social media is the first challenge. Changing your mindset to acknowledge that social media is more than just a rushed Sunday night job will up your social activity and improve your presence, which will benefit your community.
- Prioritize your channels – struggling to update Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and more? Don’t waste your time! Decide where your efforts are best placed and do the work accordingly. For example, cafes or artists may have naturally built up an Instagram following (food and art pair very will with the visual medium), but may be struggling with Twitter. My advice would be to give Twitter a break and focus more of your time on what’s working for you. You can revisit this in the future when you have more time.
- Be relevant – try and engage with timely stories and hashtags to show your followers that you’re on top of the latest developments. If you’re a medical professional this could mean sharing new research from your field or your take on an exercise routine that a fitness blogger has made popular. If you’re a dog trainer, it might be a recent news story about animal rights or a segment from the Bondi Vet. You have endless access to fresh content (Google keywords related to your field and hit the “news” section) why not use this to engage your community?
- Don’t sell all the time – avoid constantly beating your followers over the head with products/events. Social media is about creating communities and connections – take the time to give your audiences insight into your working or personal life (within reason) rather than constantly flogging products. Imagine taking a friend out for coffee a number of times and having them pitch you to buy their product every single time – would you be in a rush to make this a recurring coffee date? Your sales-led posts do have a place in your content calendar, but you should be tactical about it if you want to keep getting invited out to coffee!
- Engage influencers – whether you ask someone in your industry to do a Snapchat takeover or you ask your staff to share a post about your latest business win on LinkedIn, utilising the networks of others is a great tactic to spread the word about your business. Not everyone can afford a shoutout from Kylie Jenner (who reportedly receives tens of thousands of dollars per post to reach her 77 million fans!) so rest easy knowing that influencers of any size can start meaningful conversations about your business, if you pick the right people.
- Prepare to open your wallet – many of the networks are now described as “pay-to-play” and while this is mostly true, there’s no need to be disheartened. A small investment can can go a long way if you target correctly and write a strong post. Have a play around on Facebook, where you can sponsor a post for as little as a few dollars, it’s a great way to put your business in front of people who might not come across it otherwise. Your paid social media should always be supported by regular organic updates and someone monitoring feedback/enquiries that come through as a result of the spend you’ve allocated.
Social media provides you with a platform like no other to reach out to your customer, make sure you’re giving your customers something worth following!
by Gabrielle Quirk
Gabby works as a social media consultant by day and spends her spare time baking for her blog, Baking with Gab. She loves trying out new cafes, quality Instagram feeds and patterned dresses. https://bakingwithgab.com/