Social media for small businesses: 10 practical tips

It’s also worthwhile for smaller companies to get involved with a social media management in sydney. The big advantage: they expand their target groups, even in product niches. Here are 10 tips on how to make your social media presence a success.

Why should you use social media for your company’s success? It’s simple: because your customers are there. There are nearly 2.5 billion social media users worldwide. It’s also worthwhile for smaller companies to get started with social media. The big advantage: they expand their target groups, even in product niches.

More than 50 percent of small businesses in the U.S. rely on social media as their primary digital marketing method. After all, they can find new customers and network with them particularly effectively there. And unlike some other traditional marketing methods, it doesn’t cost a fortune either. Small companies in this country are also recognizing these advantages. Even very specific providers, such as the Bavarian fashion label Oberlandla, already boast almost 50,000 Facebook fans.

So if you don’t have a social media presence yet: Do the same to numerous other small business owners and get on board. Increase your brand awareness, boost sales and attract new customers. The following social media tips for small businesses will help you get started.

Social media for small business: 10 tips for your success.

  1. First comes the plan
    Businesses need a business plan. Your social media efforts also require a carefully crafted strategy. In our guide “In 6 steps to a social media marketing plan”, we explain what you need to do to achieve this:

Set social media goals. Don’t just deal with vanity metrics like “likes” and retweets. Also focus on leads generated, conversion rates, and referrals to your website. Use the S.M.A.R.T principle when defining your social media goals – goals should be specific, measurable, engaging, realistic and timed.
Conduct a social media audit: Determine who you are already connected with on social media, which networks your target audience uses, and how your own social media presence compares to the competition. It’s easy with our social media audit template.

Bonus: Learn how to create a social media strategy and optimize your social media presence with Hootsuite in our step-by-step guide.

Set up new accounts, complete existing ones. Decided which social networks are best for your small business? Then set up an account on each of those platforms. Make sure everything you post there fits with your overall business goals and target audience. Does your company already have one or more social media presence(s)? Then you should align it with your brand values.

Get inspiration. Look at what content competitors in your industry are sharing. Get insights on how to engage potential customers and stand out from the competition through social listening. It’s worth monitoring leading companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, Amazon & Co! Find out what these corporations are doing right and how you can incorporate their tactics into your own social media strategy.
Create a social media calendar. The calendar is a central part of your essential content marketing plan. It should include what day and time you plan to publish posts on Facebook and Instagram, tweets, and any other type of social media content.

Test, evaluate and adjust your strategy. Keep adjusting your strategy based on performance metrics. Analyze facts like the number of clicks per post, the reach of your campaigns, and the number of page visits made through social media. You can then use this data to further optimize your strategy.
Determine which platforms are right for you.
Not every social media platform is suitable for your business or the objectives you have set. The following list provides an overview of the most popular networks:

Facebook: The world’s most popular social media network with more than 2 billion users (as of September 2017). In addition, Facebook also has the most regular users and is thus the most attractive network, purely in terms of reach. Learn more in our ultimate guide to Facebook marketing.

Instagram: Instagram owes its success to its visually oriented concept. So successful marketing here has a lot to do with the appealing aesthetics of the content shared. According to the results of the 2016 Bloglovin’ Global Influencer Study, the platform also claims the highest engagement level of all social networks, at 59 percent. Learn more: Instagram for business – a beginner’s guide.
LinkedIn: With more than 467 million users, the platform is the world’s largest career network. In our comprehensive marketing guide for LinkedIn, we show you how the network can contribute to your company’s success.

Twitter: With a limit of 280 characters per tweet, Twitter is known for brevity and spice. With our tips, tricks and other helpful info on the short message service, tweet your way to social media success!
Snapchat: The platform where content disappears again is especially popular with younger users. Here’s everything you need to know about using Snapchat for business.

YouTube: If your brand has the resources, the best way to capitalize on the popularity of online video. Read our blog post 11 smart ways to promote your YouTube channel to learn more about how to take advantage of this platform.

Pinterest: it’s the users that make this platform so unique. They look to Pinterest for inspiration for all aspects of life. This makes the network perfect if you want your target audience to take action, for example, buy something or visit your website. More on the topic: Pinterest for businesses.

Start your selection process with this list. Determine which social media platform(s) are best for your business. Maybe it’s just one, or maybe it’s several or even all of them.

  1. Get to know your target audience
    Identifying the characteristics of your target audience is part of any market research. Without this information, you can’t possibly know how to capture the attention of your desired audience.

Determine age, gender, location, pain points (sore spots), average income, and other facts important to your business.

One of the best ways to conduct successful market research is to create target audience personas. Here’s how:

Gather demographic data from social media, surveys, focus groups and customer interviews.
Analyze this data for trends (behaviors, age groups, occupations)
Identify goals and pain points
Develop ideal-type customers based on these characteristics, complete with name, job title and career history

  1. market and sell your products via social media
    Marketing on social media is more than simply tweeting about your brand from time to time or advertising on Facebook. Without an appropriate strategy, you won’t achieve optimal results.

First, when curating social media content, the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto principle) is recommended: 80 percent of your marketing or sales success on social media (the result) is based on only 20 percent of the cause (the content you curate). For this reason, the amount of promotional content in all your social media channels should also be only 20 percent of the content. The remaining 80 percent is about your customers – interact with them and share relevant content that adds value to them.

Second, you should use each social media channel according to its respective strengths.

For example, if you sell T-shirts or jewelry, visually-oriented networks like Instagram or Pinterest are the first choice. Retailers in the fashion, beauty or jewelry industries based in the U.S. have recently been able to tag their images on Instagram. Detailed product information and a link to the company’s website then appear next to the image.

Pinterest also offers something similar. Small businesses can sell their products there directly on the platform via the “buyable pins” function (not yet available for German-speaking countries). This way, customers can get to the desired product with just a few clicks.

  1. whenever possible: use images, videos and graphics.
    It doesn’t matter on which social media platform you are active: Use visual elements as often as possible. In Lewis’ study, “The State of Visual Communications in 2016,” 67 percent of marketing decision makers said you use visual content on social media because of the engagement impact.

Whether it’s images, GIFs and memes, or videos: Integrating visual content into your social media posts is relatively simple. Just make sure the visual elements are relevant to both the content of the post and your target audience.

  1. quality over quantity
    It’s tempting to showcase a brand on as many social networks as possible to reach as large an audience as possible. However, dancing on too many weddings at the same time doesn’t bring any real benefits.

More quantity usually leads to a loss of quality, because then it’s all about bare numbers: a certain number of tweets per week or so, and so many Facebook posts per month.

Focus on quality rather than quantity. Present yourself where your target audience is, deliver value to them, and you’ll reap the rewards of your work.

If you’ve done market research and created audience personas, you’ll also know which platform(s) your target audience prefers. Focus your efforts on those networks. Share high-quality content that solves your audience’s problems, makes their lives easier, or entertains them.

Always keep the Pareto principle in mind: the majority of your social media content should not market your business, but deliver value to your target audience.

  1. work with the right tools
    Save time and money with tools that make your social media work easier.

In 2017, users spent an average of 135 minutes per day on social media. Your small business demands your time and attention in many ways – you can’t afford to spend any longer on social media than necessary.

When you use a social media management solution like Hootsuite, you can streamline your social media marketing efforts and increase your productivity. Here are a few Hootsuite features that will make your life easier:

Multi-platform integration. Hootsuite allows you to manage your presence on all major networks like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn from a single dashboard. You’ll also find more than 160 apps in our App Directory, from Tailwind for Pinterest to WeChat for Hootsuite.
Plan ahead. With Hootsuite, you can pre-schedule up to 350 social media posts at a time. Additionally, posts on Instagram, including Regrams, can also be scheduled.
Social Media Monitoring and Social Listening. Keep an eye on conversations on various social networks via a central dashboard. Constantly switching between browsers or tools is history!
Engagement. Hootsuite allows you to quickly respond to messages, mentions and comments across all channels with one click – from a single dashboard. You can also create, import or share lists of everyone whose engagement is most valuable to your brand, whether influencers or key customers.

  1. Track and respond to social media conversations about your business.
    In today’s digital world, social media often replaces face-to-face conversations. Responding promptly to questions from your target audience makes your brand seem more human. If you don’t interact with your target audience, it’s easy to give the impression that you’re not interested in what they want. And that ultimately has a negative impact on your business.

More than 80 percent of all customers expect companies to respond to a social media post within 24 hours. This was the conclusion reached by Altitude Software in its 2016 study, “The Omnichannel Evolution of the Customer Experience.”

Plus, social media interaction gives you the opportunity to showcase your brand’s unique character.

Feel free to respond with a dash of humor, but always highlight your company’s expertise. Posts with photos of you and your employees at work, for example, are very effective for connecting with your target audience. Finally, various data shows that social media content with lots of pictures significantly increases engagement.

  1. Plan ahead for content and create more time for engagement.
    Of course, it’s important to share relevant content. Still, it shouldn’t steal your time to actively engage with your audience. With Hootsuite’s multiple upload, you can schedule hundreds of posts for different social networks. This leaves more time to drive engagement.
  2. Take inspiration from successful brands and your competitors.
    Don’t be embarrassed to adopt successful strategy from other brands. Get inspiration from brands that are established on social media and try a few of their tactics on your own social media channels.

Keep track of what your competitors are doing and take inspiration from that. A great idea may be able to be adopted and adapted for your own campaigns.