You have no doubt read it before but it is worth reading again, if you are a small business you can no longer afford not to be on social media.
Your customers are already online and talking about you to their friends and family’s join the conversation and make it work for you. This is your opportunity to provide a place for feedback and to manage the conversation effectively into a business benefit.
Related: Smart Ways To Social Media
So here are my top ten tips for small businesses.
#1 – Set Goals
All roads lead to Rome, or in this case your social media goals. Absolutely everything you do on social media should be because it serves your goal. Goals for small businesses tend to be to make money by selling, social media goals should focus on engagement, growth and relationship building; sales will be a result of this.
#2 – Don’t do it all
It is simply not possible to be effective on every social media site. Each platforms lends itself to a certain type of user, your business may not necessarily fit the user. Take for example UrbanSpoon and Instagram which are great for restaurants but have limited application for a builder who may find benefits in Facebook.
#3 – Constant self-promotion
Social media is not your opportunity to constantly ask people to sign up or buy your product or service. Social media is a place to maintain relationships, build trust, influence purchasing intent and remain top of mind so when a need arises and if your services match what you say….”ta-da!” You get the call. A nice rule to remember is the Pareto Principal, focus 20% of your content on direct self-promotion and 80% on other content.
Related: Smart Ways To Social Media
#4 – Don’t be everything to everyone
A familiar small business problem is trying to cater to everyone, pick who you can best serve, and best serve them! This should form the foundation of your goals as well as where you are and what you do on social media.
#5 – Encourage feedback
Social media pages such as Yelp, UrbanSpoon, Google and even Facebook are great as facilitating user reviews. This is a powerful tool that leverages social proofing to add value and authenticate your business. If someone has rated your delicious Gnocchi as the best in Perth, users will read this and take notice. You are not always going to get nice reviews, users are more likely to review a bad experience than a good, but do not delete bad reviews! A bad review can be seen as an opportunity to improve, counter offer and show your followers that you are customer focused and reactive, besides its looks awful on a business that hides negative feedback.
#6 – Build a GooglePlus Page
GooglePlus has a variety of benefits for small businesses, not least its ability to increase visibility and search engine ranking. For businesses on GooglePlus all of your content is indexed by Google and influences your search engine ranking. If you have a business location it will be listed on Google maps via Google Local and GooglePlus. Users can also call and get direction to your location directly from your GooglePlus profile from a mobile device. GooglePlus profiles also increase your real estate on a Google Search result, influencing the likelihood of getting noticed amongst the competition. Consider the example of the Beaufort Street Merchant; highlighted is the additional real estate form having a complete GooglePlus account.
#7 – Be Active
You cannot simply create a profile then let it sit, creating regular and interesting content that align with your goals is vital for engagement, growth and overall social media value. The easiest way to continue to add value and grow your presence it to constantly add new people find new influencers and engage with your following. It is different on each platform, Twitter this is Re-Tweeting, replying or favourite or engaging in hashtags and on Facebook this may be like, comment or share. Other platforms have their own ways of engaging and they should be optimised in line with your goals. A tip within a tip is to develop a Blog, a really simple and effective way to produce fresh content as well as drive traffic to your website.
#8 – Use Management Tools
My favourite management tool is HootSuite but you can also use Buffer, Tweetdeck or other tools depending on your intended purpose. Hootsuite allows you to manage several of your key platforms including GooglePlus, Facebook and Twitter but also add on for RSS feeds and link tracking. In light of tip 7 it is difficult to always be available to create timely and interesting content, Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts into the future reducing time commitment and interruption to your busy day.
#9 – Adapt and develop
If anyone says they “totally understand social media” or I have the “perfect social media solution for you” they are full of it. Social media is new, dynamic and constantly changing, and so should your approach to social media. Everything you read and learn about social media is a guide, best practices or expert insight, which is to be valued, assessed but definitely not taken as gospel. If you read that posting to Facebook between 1pm and 3pm is best, but your engagement is stronger on posts between 9am and 11am, then make the logical decision and adapt.
#10 – Add value
This is the most important tip, give people a reason to follow you. It is not enough to say you can provide the best service or product; you need to add value and uncover a desire to be connected with you. This could be to look cool, such as connecting to the trendy nightclub or it might be to get information such as the BirdBrain pages. Whatever your values add, make sure it fits with your goals and works for you.
#11 – A Bonus Tip (worth writing down)
Social media is not a stand-alone tool; it needs to be integrated with the rest of your digital strategy. Social media helps directs traffic to your website, influences your SEO and boosts your overall digital effectiveness. At the end of the day the only thing you own and have creative control over is your own website.
Good luck! Please get in touch if you have any issues or suggestions with this list, we are of course more than happy to help you with a social media strategy for your business.