3 bullet-proof social media rules for small businesses
Everyone these days harps on about the importance of social media for small businesses. You know you need to be on it. But where to start?
If you are thinking about getting started with social media as a small business, you are making an excellent choice. Here we decode social networking sites for you, and walk you through the 3 best ways of getting business results. These are:
Now, let’s show you how.
Rule Number 1
CREATE 10X CONTENT – Be heard online
10X content is content that’s 10 times better than the existing best piece of content online.
But how can you tell? Don’t worry too much about the number – this really just means that in order to shine online, your posts can’t just be good or unique, they need to be that much better.
Everyone is busy these days. If someone is giving you their time, you want to make sure you are giving them the most valuable content in return.
This builds trust, brand awareness, and customer loyalty – all of which convert into sales down the line.
How do I create 10X content?
Check your content is these 3 things:
- Engaging – Is the format as enjoyable and easy to digest as possible? You might like to test this by showing your post to anyone you know will give honest feedback.
- Informative – Does my audience walk away with something they didn’t know before? That’s value.
- Shareable Shareable content is a big plus for SEO. Every time someone shares a post, Google notices, and boosts your page ranking. It’s all free advertising.
Don’t start with sales
No one likes spending time with people who only talk about themselves. Make sure you are offering content people genuinely want.
Asking questions is a great way to boost engagement, and help you get to know your customers better.
Rather than focusing your marketing posts on what you are trying to sell, it’s better to start by growing goodwill and authority. After all, aren’t you much more likely to listen to – and purchase from – people you trust?
Many big brands – from The North Face to Nike – create Facebook events to build communities online. But there are also free and even simpler ways for smaller brands to achieve this.
Blogs offer a great free alternative. You could:
- Start a blog on your website – For more tips, check out Moz’s guide to blogging here.
- Or engage with popular existing blogs – Answer a question on an already buzzing blog with a link to your own. The trick is in listening to the other users and offering relevant help, so you are not accused of spam.
Rule Number 2
PAY TO PLAY – Social media scores top marks for ROI
Did you know…?
4 out of 5 active internet users visit social networks and blogs
But for the best ROI, it can make sense for businesses of all sizes to spend a bit. Often paid promotions on social media get better conversions.
Luckily, it does not have to cost much. Fees vary, but for just £50 you could get in front of 20,000 people on Facebook.
Make it personal
Marketing via social media is not just more effective than running big ad campaigns. It’s also more effective. That’s because social media marketing works using targeted ads, so will get your small business in front of the right people.
On Facebook, ads can filter their reach based on key criteria such as location, interests, connections and demographics. Equally, LinkedIn can beam your ads at the right people in terms of location, job information and personal data.
YouTube offers a number of flexible options that are ideal for small business owners. In some cases, you only pay when your ads are watched, so you can keep a better engagement record.
Target your key audience with Facebook
With 2 billion users and cost-effective promotional options, Facebook is a friend of many small business owners today. In fact, 42% of marketers say Facebook is critical or important to their business.
With Facebook, you have two options:
- Facebook Promoted Posts – Boost the reach of your organic posts
- Facebook Business Ads – Carefully target your audience with filters
Promote your small business with Twitter
Promoted Tweets is Twitter’s paid promotion service. It’s a cost-effective tool that lets you target your ads based on the specific criteria of your choice. You can also add spending limits, and easily monitor the success of your campaign.
To make the most of these resources, all you need to do is work out who your target audience is, and media management software have tools specifically to help with this.
For our in-depth report on how to make the most out of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, click this link.
Finally, Rule 3
CALL IN THE EXPERTS – AI can make you a marketing pro
Starting up on social media doesn’t have to be complicated. Leading software like Hootsuite, Zoho Social and Sprout Social do it all for you – and offer price plans for all budgets (including free).
Did you know…?
48% of small businesses struggle to develop a marketing strategy
Juggling several social media accounts takes time, and requires marketing know-how to pay off. That’s where social media management tools come in. They make it easy to:
- Manage all your marketing from one simple interface
- Save time by scheduling and automating posts
- Boost engagement using AI expertise
You don’t have to let social media get on top of you. Getting AI back-up is a great option for small businesses.
Keep your customers close
Many people are very busy on social media. Every day, over 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Facebook Likes, and 95 million Instagram photos and videos are born.
That’s a lot of content – and buried within it will be key insights into what people think about your brand, and who your customers are.
Plus, the more your small business shares on social media, the more data is available on your own marketing strategy.
With media management tools, you can get your hands on this information in real time, listen to the data, and take action to operate more successfully.
Keep your competitors close
This means whenever other players in your business field get tongues wagging online, you can stay in the know – and make sure your business stays one step ahead.
Grow your network
Social media is not a megaphone for your business. It’s a two-way street, where you have room to build powerful relationships.
Online social networks make it easy to ensure you are moving in the right circles by joining and engaging with online communities in your field.
There you can start growing your authority by offering valuable content or advice when users post a question.
For instance, Hootsuite has a Keyword Filter dashboard feature, which lets you find the tweets and influences most relevant to your business.
And Sprout Social has a Trends Report tool specifically designed to help you spot the best hashtags for you.
Piggyback on influencers
Influencers are the most powerful people in social media – the accounts with the biggest followings and most traction. But even as a start-up or smaller company, you can grow your business using existing gurus in your industry.
One easy way is through testimonials. You just invite the influencers to sample your products and share their experiences with their many open-eared followers online.
Don’t forget the real world
Social media works best for small businesses when used in conjunction with real-life marketing initiatives.
To get your contacts books as full as possible, it’s a great idea to complement your online outreach initiatives with real-world marketing to help more people connect with you online.
Some effective strategies to achieve this are:
- Face-to-face networking events – This is one of the most effective options, budget permitting
- Business cards – Remember them for any corporate events, or you could ask local businesses if they would be happy to display them
- Information leaflets and posters – These are ideal if your small business has a check-out or waiting room
This strategy would be your small business equivalent of when Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion – with the purpose of using the messaging app to make it easier to find friends on Facebook. That’s how valuable cross-platform marketing can be.
Break it down for me
How can social media management help my small business?
There are three key things small businesses and entrepreneurs need to remember about social media:
- It has a huge reach
- It offers a great ROI
- Tools are available to help non-experts get expert results
Social media management tools are an excellent way of saving time, and getting the best returns on your marketing efforts. Take a look at our assessment of the best social media management tools and how they could help your small business.
If you would like to learn more about companies that could help, just fill in the form at the top of this page to get in contact with the top suppliers for you.