Navigating social media can be a minefield especially if you’re a small business with little digital marketing experience. Here are my top tips for using social media to your advantage if you run a small business that you’re not going to want to miss.
Hang out where your target audience is
One of the most common questions I get from small-business owners is, “Which social media platforms should I be on?” With so many to choose from, it would be a full-time job maintaining your brand awareness across them all. Most business owners assume they should at least have Facebook and Instagram as a bare minimum, but is that where your target audience hangs out?
Forbes magazine recently described Facebook as the social media retirement home as younger users make a mass exodus to platforms like SnapChat and Tik Tok. While Facebook is still popular with 24-35 year olds, it also attracts the older generation (55 years and over). Not cool to be seen on a platform where your parents are posting date night snaps and you’re harassed with friend’s requests from weird aunties.
My top tip for using social media to your advantage is to define your target audience and research where your followers spend the most time. So if you’re marketing to Gen Z is Facebook where you should be dedicating your resources? Perhaps your should consider taking on some viral dance challenges and focusing on short-form video for Tik Tok, Instagram Reels and live stories on Snapchat. For those looking to connect with other business owners or recruit, devote your time and energy to LinkedIn.
Outsource your content
Leave it to the social media experts. Social media trends change in a heartbeat. It’s hard enough juggling the day-to-day operations of a small business without the time-consuming task of content creation. You could waste hours trying to decide on what hashtags and how many to use, and weeks, if not years trying to understand why your Facebook or Instagram ads weren’t approved. After all, did you know your ad might get banned if it shows too much skin or you mention a person’s attributes?
There are many digital marketing agencies and freelancers who dedicate their time to staying across the latest trends in social. It’s important to note all social media marketers are not created equal. Having 10,000 followers on Instagram and posting selfies doesn’t equate to an education in digital marketing, so be sure to do your research.
Vanity metrics are so 2021
Vanity metrics refer to the analytical measurements of social media. These are the metrics that stroke your ego (such as followers and likes) but aren’t really a true indicator of your Return On Investment (ROI). Instead of treating your social media like a popularity contest (Eg: oooh, I have one million new followers), concentrate on actionable metrics such as the percentage of conversion rates, the number of people engaging with your content and the number of people that stay on your website rather than those who jump on and then disappear as quickly as they arrived. By analysing your actionable metrics, you can make educated decisions about the direction of your digital marketing.
Connect with your customers
To be able to solve your customers’ problems, you need to understand what their pain points are. Social media provides an excellent means of communicating with your customers. Companies used to pay thousands to companies who conduct market research, but thanks to social media, you can glean access to what your customers want through a number of methods—absolutely free. Use Instagram or Facebook stories, competitions, direct messaging and polls to seek your audience’s opinion. Give them shout outs and show your appreciation for their feedback and you’ll soon create a loyal following of super fans. There’s even the potential make long-life friends. Also, the more engagement you get on your social media accounts, the algorithms see this as valuable content, and expands the reach, so your posts end up with more eyeballs on them.
Use Facebook groups to grow your business
A Facebook group is a community space where like-minded people gather to share information and connect on a deeper level. As a business you can draw on the power of private groups to provide extra value, making your users feel like exclusive VIPs. For example, if you’re a graphic designer you could provide Photoshop tips for beginners. A digital marketing expert may set up a group for small business owners wanting to learn social media tips. By providing value, you are also sub-consciously reinforcing your brand, and opening opportunities to promoting and selling other products or services related to your business.