Social media tips for small businesses

Social media marketing: we all know that we need to do it, but how to do it isn’t as obvious. As entrepreneurs, we understand that running a small business is already pretty time consuming, so finding the time or resources to manage a social media presence can be a daunting prospect. To help give you a head start with your social media marketing, here are our top tips for small business social media success!

  • Have a strategy

A social media strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery and governance of the content you publish on your social media channels. It will explain the “why”, “when” and “how” to create your digital content, and will go a long way to delivering results over the usual small business ‘spray and pray’ method.

While big brands can spend days, weeks or months creating a social media strategy, for a small business or a new start-up, your social media strategy could be as simple as knowing what your objectives and goals are. For example, your objective could be to drive traffic to your website, and the goal could be to increase visits by 30% in Q1.

Working out your goals and objectives should be pretty easy – it’s your business, right? Once you know what you want to achieve, it’s time to move on to the tactics that turn your goals into reality. For example, if your goal is to get more website traffic, then one tactic could be to add the website link to all social media content, and in the ‘About us’ section of your social profiles.

Having a strategy isn’t always as complicated as it sounds – you should be able to have a reasonable idea of the above in around an hour or so.

  • Know how and when you should ‘pay to play’

Unless you’re new to the sector, you should already have a good idea of the sales peaks and troughs of your particular industry. You should continue to create organic content at crucial shopping times, but also look to add paid support to ensure your campaign achieves maximum reach. And paid content should be created with your target audience in mind.

Paid content usually comes in two formats: sponsored posts and social ads (with the former being cheaper and easier to set up and run than the latter). We’d advise anyone with little or no knowledge of paid social media advertising to start with a simple sponsored post on Facebook: once you’ve published a post, click the ‘boost post’ option to get started. On your first attempt, we’d recommend starting with a low budget (we’re talking a few pounds here), so that you can get used to the targeting options and find your own sweet spot between your post’s reach and available budget.

When running paid social media posts, you may need to allocate additional time or resource to manage any comments and messages you may receive thanks to your increased number of viewers. Social media should always be viewed as a two-way conversation, but running paid content will attract commenters who may not have been aware of your brand or service, so they may have lots of questions or feedback.

  • Learn how to check results

While you may not decide (or even have time!) to set social KPIs, it’s a good idea to check in on your social media marketing efforts regularly so that you can see what’s working, and more importantly, what’s not.

All of the major social media platforms provide free analytical tools that cover basic data such as follower growth, demographics, and how many likes a post has garnered. Many are beginning to offer more in-depth statistics, such as who the most influential follower was last month (Twitter), which content caused a user to unlike your Page (Facebook) and which devices your audience uses to consume your content (Pinterest).

If you’re ready to take the step from monitoring the basics, Sprout Social has a great section on their blog dedicated to social media analytics.

  • Know the quick wins

There are thousands of articles and blogs that promise they’ve found the latest tips and tricks to outfox a social network algorithm, but the formula for a great social media presence is always the same.

  • Be authentic and genuine
  • Choose the right channels for your audience
  • Listen to your current audience AND your target audience
  • Monitor your competitors
  • Create, publish, analyse, repeat

Social media marketing is all about being creative, reactive, and learning what’s right for your business. If you want to stay ahead and maintain relevance in a crowded market, then it’s also about staying on top of trends. With each platform continually evolving, and audiences looking for new ways to engage, it’s an exciting time of opportunity where (almost) anything goes.

Emmaline McAndrew

Managing Director