As a small business you need to be using social media to grow, but social media is not a panacea; it will not cure all your marketing problems.
Some people make it look easy. In fact, there’s a massive market in people telling you how easy it is – if only you buy into their thousands of pounds / dollars systems where they tell you the ‘magic secrets’ to making millions via social channels.
There is no one-size-fits-all. Of course, you can learn new ideas and techniques, but you have to contextualise them to your specific circumstances; your goals and aspirations; your products and service; your target customers.
There are brilliant social media tools out there that will help you grow your business and provide you with excellent analytical data so that you know what works and what doesn’t – but there are also a number of key factors to consider that will maximise your social media presence.
The 7 Ways to Grow Your Small Business with Social Media Marketing
When it comes to marketing and promotion, your need consistency. Therefore, if your social media activity is not consistent it is going to be massively ineffectual. In fact, it can have a more-than-negative effect. It’s better to do nothing than to do something half-hearted and ad-hoc as it reflects badly on you and your brand.
Planning is key; planning saves you time. The more you plan, the more consistent and stronger your social media messages will be. Plan what you are going to post in advance – this will give you time to edit, check your spelling and source images and videos – then use a scheduling services such as Buffer or Hootsuite (or directly into Facebook with their own scheduling option).
Working a week or two in advance will mean that you never feel the pressure of what to say on a day-to-day basis.
2. Use What Works for You
Each social media platform has a ‘personality’ and a user profile. For example, Instagram users tend to be aged 18 to 34, more women than men use Facebook regularly. So, rather than following the herd, you need to discover which social media platforms are best suited to your business.
REMEMBER – it’s not your personal preference, it’s the place where your customers hang out.
It’s also good to bear in mind that the different platforms have varying etiquette in terms of what you write, how you write and the length of what you write – which is why it’s not such a good idea to use the facilities that cross-post one message. It may look good on the platform you intend it for, but not so much on the other platforms. I find this particularly a problem when businesses post on Instagram and those posts immediately appear on Facebook – they don’t work, they just look odd on Facebook.
3. Don’t Broadcast: Engage
Marketing is a process of eliciting a measurable response – you push out content to pull in a response to that content.
However, many small businesses are using social media to broadcast; posting out (mostly) good, useful stuff that people find interesting, but not asking the recipients to do anything with the content they have engaged with.
If you’re taking the time to put together interesting social media content, take a little more time to include a call to action. Basically, ask the people who engage with your content to do something – share, like, answer a question, voice their opinion etc.
4. Surveys, Polls, Competitions
Building on that idea of engagement rather than simple broadcast, you can include a whole variety of activities that will encourage customers and prospective customers to become involved. Run a Facebook competition; send out a survey on LinkedIn, ask a Yes or No question via Twitter.
The more engaged your followers are, the more likely they are to share your content via their own social media platforms which will lead to more promotion and exposure for you, your products and your services.
5. Q&As and FB Live
Have you ever held a Tweetchat? Have you used Facebook Live? These are two great ways to develop a rapport with customers and as a lead magnet.
If, once a month, you promote the fact that you are going to be on Twitter at a certain time to answer questions on a particular topic – and all people need to do is ask the question in 140 characters and include a specific hashtag – you can quickly be recognised as being an expert in your field.
A once a week, Facebook Live lasting 5 to ten minutes will immediately put an approachable ‘face’ on your business. Customers, these days – more than ever – want to feel close and nurtured by a business.
6. Prioritise and Do One Thing Really Well
Don’t spread yourself too thin; concentrate on the things that work.
The temptation is to get all your fingers into every pie, but the problem with that is it gets very messy, and you end up doing lots of thigs inconsistently and not very well.
REMEMBER – consistency and use what works for you.
7. Include a Call to Action
Always consider what you want your followers to do as a result of then engaging with your content. Do you want them to visit your website; do you want them to share your content with their followers, do you want them to like your page; do you want them to buy your products.
There are so many things going on in every person’s life; you can’t make the assumption that if you post it they will come. You have to give them a little (sometimes a very BIG) nudge. You do this by being very straightforward – it’s basically “now I want you to do this”.
So, these are 7 things for you to consider this week. Simply making a few tweaks here and there, I’m sure your social media marketing will become far more effective. Let me know in, the comments box below, which one of these 7 you are going to start with!