21st Oct // 2016
Many small businesses struggle with how to start using social media to promote themselves. Although you may see competitors and similar businesses to yours gaining likes and generally doing well on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other platforms it’s not always easy to work out what you should be doing for your business. Here are a few steps that should lead you down the right path for your venture into the wonderful world of social media marketing…
Which platform(s) should I use?
What type of business you have should be the main aspect which you consider here. Facebook is generally considered king due to their larger user base, making it great for most general businesses who are marketing direct to consumers. Facebook also offers a raft of targeting opportunities for paid advertising, which we’ll cover in further detail below.
You may have heard a lot in the news recently about Twitter being in decline as a social media platform but it definitely still has a place for some businesses. If any part of your business involves live events then Twitter is a great idea as it’s a lot easier to interact in real-time with events. For example if you run a sportswear shop you could live-tweet along with a football match or boxing event offering opinions, reactions and relating the events back to the products you sell.
If your business involves making something physical that is visually impressive or desirable then Instagram is a wonderful platform. For many home craft businesses it can act as a portfolio of work allowing potential customers to see a selection of your products at a glance. This could be used as a stop-gap for a product catalogue before you create a website or third-party shop, although we do recommend you create one of those as soon as possible!
There are plenty of other choices too that may suit your business better: LinkedIn, YouTube, SnapChat, Tumblr, Periscope and many, many more. If you don’t find your match in the 3 we’ve mentioned in detail then research the others or get in touch and we can help you decide.
If you’re limited on the time you can spend managing social media then our recommendation is to use 1 or 2 of these platforms and focus on them. It’s much better to do one of these platforms well than it is to do multiple to a lower standard.
How should I use them?
No matter which platform(s) you pick there’s one key thing to make sure you do here: keep active. Try and put aside some time each day to put up a new post or two, keeping them spaced apart if you can for maximum coverage. Take a look at how you’re doing too: see which posts of yours do best and find a common thread. Are they posted at the same time of day? Are they all image posts? Spot it and use that strength more often.
Okay… I’m doing that but it all seems a bit… quiet
Ah, here’s where you can get creative! Social media is great at letting small businesses do two things: engage with current customers and attract new customers. Everything you do on social media as a small business should be directly linked back to one of those two activities.
If you have a good number of customers already, tell them about your new social media pages. Use it as an opportunity to engage with them in your store or from wherever you work from. Your most frequent customers will likely become your ambassadors on social media, leaving you great reviews and sharing your page with their networks, so bear this in mind when talking to them.
Gaining new customers using social media can seem tough, but educating yourself on the basics is easier than it seems. The quickest way to expose your business to more people is definitely using the advertising platforms available on the various social channels. Facebook is generally regarded as the best of the bunch giving you superior targeting options and clear pricing structure. Plus, the Facebook and Instagram ad platforms are now essentially the same, allowing you to advertise on Instagram straight from Facebook!
For starters, check out Facebook’s own help section if you’re interested in tackling this type of advertising yourself. That should set you on the right track but if you need any advice then feel free to contact us and we’ll talk about how we can help you with your next project.