How to Grow Your Small Business with Social Media

Does your business need a social media strategy? 

Whether you’re just getting started on Facebook, increasing your Instagram following, or trying to figure out the best way to get your customers engaged on Twitter, it’s essential that you have a plan in place for when and how you will be using your social media platforms.

As social media continues to become more and more popular, it has become an essential part of any business plan.

The social media landscape is constantly changing, which means social strategy needs to be dynamic. Social networks are introducing new features all the time, so you’ll need to stay up-to-date on what’s coming next.

Your social media content must serve its primary purpose: engaging with consumers to further advocate for your product or service.

Determine Social Media Platform and Business Goals

Social media has become a crucial component of a company’s success. With so many different platforms available and not enough hours to manage them all on your own – every business owner should focus on being active across 2-3 social media platforms that make sense for their business vs. every platform available.
Some social media platforms require a bit more time and investment on your part.  However, others can easily be picked up on an as-needed basis. Social media marketing is easy to implement if you have the right strategy in place.

Social Media Strategy

Social media is an integral part of the marketing process. It’s a place where people congregate to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions about products or services. And it’s a great way to connect with your customers, but it can be hard to know where to start.

Creating a social media strategy designed to meet the needs of your business and goals will ensure that you’re able to maximize your presence and reach potential customers. So, you can then focus on what matters most – growing your brand and driving sales.

Many small business owners may feel overwhelmed by social media, particularly social networks like Twitter or Instagram. However, social media has the potential to be an extremely powerful tool for growing your business if you have the right strategy in place.

There are many social channels that you can use to grow your customer base and expand your brand’s reach.
·      Facebook
·      LinkedIn
·      Pinterest
·      Instagram
·      Twitter
·      YouTube

Social Media Applications for Small Business

Many social networking sites have applications that will help increase traffic to your website, including social buttons on your pages to help share your content across social networks.

Having a social media presence can bring you increased search engine rankings, increased website visitors and social shares, as well as an increase in brand awareness which all lead to more customers coming through your door.

Social Media Content

Prospecting for new customers on social media is no easy task. You need to develop something creative and exciting that will appeal to your target audience. But there is a danger that all your work will go to waste if you don’t provide value for people to share with their friends.

A social media strategy will help you brainstorm the content that’s most likely to appeal to your target audience and also serve as a guide for judging which pieces of content are effective or not.

When developing a social media strategy, it is important to remember that your content should always be fresh and creative and have a long shelf life. You want your content to continue to reward your business. And your efforts need value so that people will want to share your content with their friends and colleagues. You want people to see what you’re posting and engage with every post to share it with others who may also find something interesting.

Social Media Schedule

No social media marketing plan is complete without a schedule. Determine what times you will post during the week and which days will be allotted for social posts. Writing down when you want to post certain content on social media ensures that your social media accounts are updated regularly and consistently with relevant content. This makes it much easier to engage your audience when they know the type of posts to expect from you each day (or week). I recommend using a free social media management tool like Buffer (https://bufferapp.com/) to help keep your content and schedule organized across all of your platforms.

You will need to determine how you will be using each of your platforms. For Facebook, this may mean you want to post three times per week on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. For Pinterest, you might think about pinning things to specific topic boards so that you can build an audience around your business. On Twitter, you might post several times per day while also retweeting popular tweets from other users to help get your name out there.

Build A Blog Your Customers Will Love

Include a blog. Every time you write a blog, you’re creating content that’s easily shareable across social media channels, which can help expand your audience to the audience of every single person that shares your post.

A social-media blog can help you create content that aligns with your company’s objectives.  Monitor progress regularly to ensure success in achieving desired outcomes.

Five steps that can help you start a social media blog for your business:

Step 1: Determine goals.  First, you need to determine your business’s social media goals before moving forward. This can easily be done by creating a list of objectives that correspond with the company’s overall business strategy and objectives, ensuring your social-media blog will align with your company’s mission or vision statement. For example, if your business’s overall objective is to generate more leads every month, you might have a goal to have 300 people read and share your blog post each week.

Step 2: Define the target audience.  Who are you trying to speak to? What type of person reads social-media blogs? Are there certain industry influencers that would benefit from your business’s social-media blog? What types of activities and behavior indicate that someone is interested in learning more about your product/service? People who read, share, and comment on a blog post are more likely to become leads. Then, you can develop an accurate target audience by putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal reader.

Create a complete profile that includes age, job title, and location.

Step 3: Create a social media calendar.  This will help you stay organized and on point with your blog posts and determine the most effective content for your audience. Create a list of topics: write down anything at all. Then, narrow it down to the things you know best. Once these are determined, go through the list again and consider what would interest your audience.

Step 4: Identify social media channels.  You should already know who your target audience is to determine where they are spending their time online. When considering which social media channels your business should focus on, consider where your ideal customer spends their time online. You can also consider the likelihood of success by how engaged your audience will be with you in that particular channel. For example, I know many businesses that are very successful in using Instagram to share photos and videos of new products because it engages with their audience and creates a sense of community.

Step 5: Develop your social media strategy.  The last step is to develop a strategy that will help you stay organized and on point with everything that needs to happen before, during, and after each blog post. Make sure your posts are optimized for search engines so people can find your blog if they don’t already know about it.

When you develop your strategy, look through the list of topics you came up with earlier and brainstorm ideas for blogs that coincide with those topics.  Also, create a calendar of when you will publish each blog post to help guide future posts (i.e., if you publish one on Mondays, future posts can fall on Mondays or Fridays).

Your business blog is an important tool in your company’s marketing efforts. The blog can help you spread your company values and create awareness for whatever message aligns with your overall business objectives. Just like any other marketing tool, it takes time to learn how to craft a blog post in a way that drives your audiences to take action.

Keywords That Convert

Create a list of keywords that your audience might be searching for through search engines or social media platforms. These will depend on your business, of course. For example, if you run a bakery and have started a blog about baking muffins for the holidays, your keywords might include terms like “holiday muffins” or “bake holiday muffins.”

Once you’ve got a list of keywords, you’ll need to determine how many times you will be using each keyword. For example, if you have a blog post related to Thanksgiving, you’ll want to use the keyword “Thanksgiving” more often in that content. If you don’t use a specific keyword frequently enough, search engines won’t find your posts, and others might not be able to find your product or service. I recommend using specific keywords no more than five times to maintain a good balance and keep your content from coming across as unnatural.

To make a good keyword list, start by looking at your own website or blog content. Do you frequently use specific keywords? Are there any words that come up multiple times in different posts on your site? Monitor the keywords you use most often and note them down. Make sure you understand who your audience is and how they use search. Also, check out your competition. If your competitor uses great keywords that apply to your business, you are free to use them. Your keywords should be relevant, popular, and convert well. Check out Google AdWords for keyword ideas and traffic estimations.

Customer Engagement
Now’s the time to start figuring out what content you want to share on each platform. Do you want to share links to content that you find interesting, or are you planning on posting your original content? What’s the point of each platform? For example, if Twitter will be your primary customer service source, you might want to focus more on providing helpful information than fun pictures.

Great images will increase customer engagement. Do you want pictures of your employees in the office? What about photos of your new office space or a look at your regular customers (with permission) when they come in for their morning coffee? Anything authentic is always better than stock images, so if you have actual images of your team, customers, and workspace, that is always the better route to take.

Even if you are already posting great content on your Facebook page, if people don’t believe your social media is being used effectively, then they might stop following or engaging in any of your future posts. A way around this problem can sometimes work well through conducting contests or using polls from time to time. This will appeal to those interested parties and draw attention from other individuals looking at what’s going on within your pages, which gives them even greater incentive than before.

Social Media – A Great Way to Get Your Business Out There

It may seem like a lot of work to get your social media strategy set up, but once you’ve got it figured out, it can be simple. Be sure to frequently check in on which posts are getting a lot of shares or likes, and continue to post similar content. You’ll soon find that you have a community of people who enjoy your business’s Facebook posts and other content, and you’ll be able to rely on social media as an excellent resource for getting your name out there.

If you’re a small business owner and haven’t yet created a social media strategy, now is the time to do it. Your customers are on these platforms every day – so if they aren’t seeing your content there, what does that say about your brand? We’ve discussed how important it is for a business to have an online presence with a social media strategy. We hope this has helped clarify as you determine what will work best for your business goals.

Remember that regardless of which platform(s) you decide to use, all businesses need well-defined content geared towards their target audience combined with regular postings at consistent intervals.

What are some of your goals? Let us know, and we will be happy to provide additional information on how we can help.

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