ocial media is an ever-present part of the daily lives of most 21st century consumers. With the number of active social media users only increasing over time, and access to social platforms just a tap of an app icon away, it has never been more critical for businesses to have a social media presence and effective strategy.
In this digital age, a social media profile has the power to make or break a small to medium-sized business. With just over 50% of small to medium businesses in Australia having an active social media presence, a well managed, engaging, and professional profile can help your business stand out. These seven simple rules will help you manage your small business’ social media like a pro!
1. Establish an end goal
It’s crucial that you know from the get-go exactly what you’re hoping to achieve from your social media marketing. Perhaps you’d like to increase lead conversion, or improve brand awareness. Set yourself a goal that is SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. No matter your end goal, be sure to set out a step-by-step plan for achieving it. This plan will keep you on track and give you the best chance of success.
2. Understand your audience
There is nothing more important for successful social media marketers than knowing who your audience is. For consumer marketing, the age, gender, location, and social media habits of your audience should influence the type of content you share. B2B marketers must thoroughly understand the problems faced by their audience and communicate clearly how their solution solves these problems.
Tracking and analysing your website traffic using free tools like Google Analytics is a must. It offers valuable insights into the demographics and interests of your website visitors, as well as the sources, times and days which are the most popular. This information can help you figure out the most appropriate time to post on social media and will give you a better understanding of your audience.
A word of warning though - if the traffic coming to your website is not from within your target audience then the data you acquire from the current traffic will be inaccurate and should not be used for decision-making.
3. Schedule, schedule, schedule!
We know that small business owners are busy people, and aren’t always available to post content at the times their audience is online. This is where scheduling tools come in. Scheduling tools allow you to create content when you have a free moment, then set it to post at a time your audience will be the most likely to see it.
There are many different scheduling tools to choose from. Some businesses prefer to use built-in tools available on Facebook. Others utilise dedicated scheduling software like Hootsuite, which offers a free scheduling tool for up to three social platforms. We recommend shopping around and doing your research to decide which method and tool works best for you and your business.
4. Research your competitors
It can sometimes be challenging to figure out the types of content your audience will be receptive to, especially if you’re a new business just starting out in your industry. By conducting a competitor analysis, you can establish exactly what your potential customers would like to see you post. Take note of the types of content they share and the engagement rate on different types of posts. Learn from their mistakes and successes to create your own digital content. For more content inspiration, head over to Answer the Public which generates the most popular search queries based on a topic.
5. Choose the right hashtags
On most social media platforms, hashtags are an excellent way for potential customers to discover your business. But your audience won’t be able to find your content if you use hashtags that nobody is searching for.
Think about the terms that your potential customers may be searching. Generally, they will be terms that are directly related to your business and the content you share. Tools such as All Hashtag and HashAtIt are useful for generating hashtags that are relevant to your brand.
Some businesses use brand-related hashtags, such as the name of their company or a product they sell. This can also be an effective hashtag strategy, but if your business is small and not yet established, these tags will likely have a smaller reach than others. Location-based hashtags, such as the city your business operates in, are an excellent way for locals to discover your content.
You should be careful to avoid using too many hashtags, because sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. If your hashtags are longer than the copy of your post, reevaluate whether all of the hashtags you’ve used are necessary.
6. Like, reply, and engage
If a consumer takes time out of their day to leave you a comment or a positive review, be sure to respond every time. This will make your audience feel acknowledged, and leave them with a positive perception of your brand. Repeatedly engaging with your audience creates loyal customers, and can increase the chance of a lead conversion.
Another simple way to engage your audience is to ask them open-ended questions. If you link to an article, you might include a question in the copy of your post, asking your audience’s opinion on the article’s subject matter. Asking a question encourages your audience to respond, and you might learn some valuable insights about their values and opinions along the way.
The more you engage with your social media followers, the more likely they are to continue interacting with your posts. Customers might even be more inclined to leave a positive review! Remember, an active audience is a happy audience.
7. Don’t be afraid to experiment
Every once in a while, try sharing a new type of content, and see how your audience responds. If you typically share text-based posts, why not post a photo or an article link? Sometimes you’ll get it right, and sometimes you won’t, but learn from your mistakes to improve your content for next time. You’ll gain valuable information about the sort of content your audience wants to see from you.