A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media for Small Businesses
So you’ve gotten to the point in your life where you’re in charge of a small business. Good for you! Obviously, you want your business to succeed, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past ten years, you know that social media is a key aspect of success. Don’t know where to start? Read on to discover how to best use social media to your business’s advantage.
In case you actually have been living under a rock, you may wonder what the point is in social media: what’s the benefit of using it? Primarily, social media allows for your marketing strategy to have a big impact with a much lower cost than traditional marketing. Social media gives you a direct line of communication with your current and prospective customers, and it is one of the most effective tools for branding, content marketing, and word of mouth marketing for small businesses. So…it’s important.
Step one in building your online presence is to create a marketing and social media strategy. Do this by answering these three key questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What are their needs/problems?
- How can your business/product help?
Once you have these questions answered, you can focus on building your first social media pages.
*At this point, we are operating under the assumption that you already have a website that includes a blog. If you don’t, stop reading and get busy on your website, or better yet, hire a website designer (hint, Red Egg Marketing).*
Focus on a few key social media platforms at first to crystallize your message and get a handle on things. Your networks should work together, but don’t treat them all as the same. Different platforms have different audiences: be aware of that and use it to your advantage. Below are the top six social media platforms and some key facts about them:
- Facebook: the most popular social media platform and the best for increasing brand awareness and reaching customers across every demographic.
- LinkedIn: Creates a sense of legitimacy for the business, connects the business with other professionals. Creates some brand awareness.
- Twitter: The second most popular social media platform, used for staying informed and, with brands, being able to enter contests and take advantage of deals.
- Instagram: The most popular platform for teens and young adults, best for image friendly businesses and products.
- G+: Essential for content sharing and increasing SEO.
- Pinterest: 84% of Pinterest users are female; most valuable platform for inspiring people to buy products.
Now that you’ve built your platforms, it’s important that you take time each day specifically for social media. Care for your social media pages as you would a plant: left neglected your online following will wither and eventually die. Take a set amount of time each day, and your social media plant not only maintains a healthful appearance, but continues to grow. The more it grows the more nourishment it needs, and the bigger your plant (business) becomes.
What should you do during this specified social media time? Set some social media goals, and be specific in your strategy and the steps you’ll take to achieve your social media goals. Are you trying to obtain over 1000 followers on Twitter? Make sure you tweet at least three times and day, but more than that, tweet something interactive. Trying to build Facebook likes? Post content that your customers are interested in, and create an incentive for likes (free coffee if you’re a café, for example).
If any, or possibly all of this seems overwhelming, enlist help. Red Egg Marketing specializes in content marketing using social media, and our primary customer is small business. Not convinced yet? Let us be more clear. We, ourselves, are a small business that used social media to grow into a successful business: it worked for us, and we want to help you do it too!