Finding success on social media

Top 10 social media tips for small business.

Whether your business is just getting started or has been active on social media for years, there’s always room for improvement. And while algorithm changes come and go, there are foundations you can apply to ensure success.

Here are my top tips to get your social media cranking!

1. Don’t rely on social media

Okay, I know this advice may sound counter-intuitive, but social media is only a marketing channel, not a strategy and works best when it forms part of your overall marketing strategy.

When you engage people on social media, this cannot guarantee a conversion. But when it forms part of your overall marketing strategy and is combined effectively with other marketing channels, it becomes a key element for success.

It helps gain awareness and interest in your brand and what you offer.

2. Choose the right social media platforms

You are a new business and the first thing you do is create a profile on every social media platform you can think of. You need to get out there, right? Wrong, my friend.

Not all the platforms will suit your business. Choose those where your target audience spends most of their time and absolutely nail it! That’s the social media platform you should be focusing most of your time on.

Don’t force being on a social media platform just because everyone else is and you think you need to be on it. If what your posting isn’t getting engagement, it’s worthless. Put your efforts elsewhere.

3. Set goals

Think about the main reason your business will be using social media. Is it to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, boost brand engagement, for content distribution, lead generation or customer support?

Without a goal in place you have no idea if social media is working for you or not. Here are some goals to think about:

  • increase brand awareness (follower count, reach, mentions and shares)
  • boost brand engagement (likes, shares, comments per posts, mentions and replies)
  • drive traffic to your website (traffic from social media, share of overall traffic, bounce rate, clicks on posts)
  • grow sales (sign-ups, revenue and direct revenue from ads)
  • build a community (Facebook groups – number of posts, likes and comments)
  • lead generation (growing your mailing list).

4.Don’t advertise to a cold audience

Social media advertising can do amazing things for business, but you want to be advertising to a warm and engaged audience in order to increase conversions. A cold audience is someone who isn’t aware of your business and has never engaged with you … it’s hard to sell to someone who has no knowledge of your business and what you do.

“Choose the platforms where your target audience spends most of their time and absolutely nail it!”

Cold audiences are great for brand awareness and offering value through lead magnets. Then work on warming them up with added value and moving them through the buying process. They are then perfect to sell your product or service to.

5. Remember the art of conversation

Social media is a broadcast and conversational medium. This means you have to engage with your followers, respond to comments and participate in conversations.

Social media users want authentic interactions with the companies they follow. Don’t just post and forget.

6. Focus on content marketing

Without content you have nothing to share on social media sites. Focus on content that engages your target audiences and ask yourself:

  • What’s the purpose of your content?
  • Does it add value?
  • Is it supporting my goals?
  • How can I repurpose it?

Different content types suit certain social media platforms only. Facebook, for example, prioritises live videos and on Instagram quotes work well, but not so much on

Facebook. You need to be aware of what content works on what platform. The top three types of content that work across all platforms:

  • videos
  • behind the scenes
  • tips/advice.

7. Plan out your content/create a calendar

By planning out your social media content you maintain a consistent posting schedule, can schedule posts at the best time for your business to reach a maximum audience, ensure your content is relevant to what you have on that month – and, not to mention, planning ahead saves you time.

The worst thing you can do is get to 9 pm and think “Oh no, I haven’t posted anything yet” and then post some random content just for the sake of posting.

8. Expand your audience

Invest in social media advertising. Don’t think of it as pay-to-play but more as a way of amplifying your content and being able to reach a wider audience.

Not all advertising is saturated. Instagram Stories is definitely one placement that is under-utilised.

9. Track and refine/report on your performance

There is no point in spending time on social media for your business if you don’t know how it’s performing for you. You need to measure and analyse your results on at least a monthly basis and they need to tie directly into the goals you set. Some of the metrics that you want to look for include:

  • reach and engagement for Facebook
  • impressions, retweets and mentions on Twitter
  • clicks, impressions and interactions on LinkedIn
  • engagement and impressions on Pinterest
  • likes, comments and mentions on Instagram
  • views and engagements on Instagram Stories
  • traffic being driven to your website from social media
  • leads/conversions from social media.
  • impressions, retweets and mentions on Twitter
  • clicks, impressions and interactions on LinkedIn
  • engagement and impressions on Pinterest
  • likes, comments and mentions on Instagram
  • views and engagements on Instagram Stories
  • traffic being driven to your website from social media
  • leads/conversions from social media.

10. Videos are a must

Users are watching more video content than ever and according to HubSpot social media posts with video have 48 per cent more views. And 45 per cent of people are watching more than an hour of video each week on YouTube or Facebook. It is hard to ignore the statistics when making a case for incorporating video content into your social media.

You don’t need to invest a large amount of money, either. Facebook Live video and Instagram Stories and IGTV work a treat, as does behind the scenes. You can simply record on your iPhone.

Not only is engagement higher on video content, but networks like Facebook and LinkedIn are giving higher priority in their algorithm to people posting video content.

Just make sure you add captions to your videos so if people are scrolling on social media with their sound off, they can still watch your video.

11. Bonus tip…the number of followers you have is a vanity metric. Don’t compare yourself to other businesses. Having 500 engaged followers is better than 10,000 bought ones who are never going to buy your products or services.

Remember, each business is different and your competitors won’t have the exact same goals as you. Social media is a way to help you achieve those goals and measure success based on your definition of success.

Megan Del Borrello, Founder, Behind the Brands

This story first appeared in issue 26 of the Inside Small Business quarterly magazine.

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