Small businesses and social media

We have been using social media for eight years to increase awareness of and drive traffic to our online store, which is on target to exceed $20 million in revenue this year. Via a social media strategy that traverses Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, we have crafted a distinct brand persona and an active relationship with our community of 350,000 followers.

A typical Hardtofind Facebook post will generate hundreds of likes, comments and shares, which is a terrific barometer of how well we’re engaging with our audience.

Social media has changed immensely over the years, so here are a few key takeaways from our experience in the space:

Get social

Having a Facebook page, Pinterest board, or Instagram account is free, and a clever, engaging social content strategy can really help drive traffic.

Speak their language

Knowing your audience is key in terms of how you communicate with them. If you’re not sure who your customers are, social media is a terrific way to find out. Posts that don’t resonate will be reflected in your engagement metrics, so use your social media channels as a way to work out what makes your customers tick.

Hit the target

Ensuring you get the right message to the right people is key. Social platforms are great because you can pick and choose (through audience targeting) who sees your ads. When thinking about which audience to target, Facebook’s Custom and Lookalike audience features are really useful. When it comes to content, decide what your objective is. For example, if you’re looking to generate sales or increase branding, then build out your campaigns accordingly. Third-party platforms such as Smartly and Brand Network can help you optimise your social campaigns, but this comes at a cost.

Try new things

Keep up-to-date with the new features being rolled out across social platforms, like the new Collection ad format on Facebook. Often, the early bird catches the worm in that early adopters tend to see good results.

Reach out

Beyond your own brand’s social reach, think about how you could reach even more like-minded people by tapping into other influencers’ fan bases. Many influencers will charge for a post, but if they have a big following and strong engagement, it may end up returning a strong ROI for your business.

Erica Stewart, Founder and CEO, Hardtofind

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