LD Staff Writer
Social Media seems to intimidate many small business owners. What do you post? How often? When is the best time to post? Which social media platform do you use? It’s enough to drive you mad, especially when you have no idea where to start…
You’ll have to do some exploring to find the right platform, the right niche, the right kind of content to share, and so on – but to get you pointed in the right direction, here are some key tips to developing your business’s social media presence:
Choose What Works Best For You
You don’t need to be on every social media outlet! Facebook remains a staple because most people will look your business up either by your website or Facebook page. Maintaining even a basic presence on this mega-popular platform is pretty much a necessity these days.
If someone goes to look up your business and you do not have a Facebook page, or your bare bones page has been dormant for 5 years… You don’t come off like a “legit business.” Worse, it can insinuate that you don’t care how customers learn about you. Today’s consumers expect you to meet them halfway, and that means maintaining some kind of active presence on the world’s largest social media platform.
After a Facebook page, you can determine what works best for you and your business. Don’t feel like you need to be on every form of social media, and instead figure out where your audience is, where you stand to generate business, and focus your efforts there.
It’s better to have two active, engaging accounts than 10 social media pages you don’t actually use.
Utilize Each Platform Appropriately
If you have more than one social media platform, use them for different things. For example, use Instagram for photos while you’re at events, Pinterest for tips and tricks or pictures of products, Twitter for quick updates and links, and Facebook for your personal touch and everyday use.
If you offer different content on each platform, you encourage your audience to follow you in multiple places.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Personal
Don’t just constantly talk about your product or service… You don’t have to pitch in every post. Social media is a tool for potential customers to get to know YOU! They need to be interested in you – and why they should support your business.
Yes, you should post about your product or service… But you can also make your accounts personal.
Some of the most viewed LongerDays posts were about our team and our community, not about our service!
Schedule Your Posts Ahead of Time
Use Hootsuite to schedule your Twitter and Facebook posts. Their free version offers 30 scheduled posts per month. You can also use Facebook’s scheduler for a better preview – and it doesn’t count toward your 30 free Hootsuite posts that month.
There are other paid services like MeetEdgar (and others) that allow for all sorts of scheduling and automated posting tricks. These tools are great for the meat and potatoes of your social platforms – but don’t forget that engagement is key. You can schedule the majority of your posts, but it’s still a good idea to actually use your accounts for replying to comments and messages, interacting with followers, and so on.
As for the best time to post, you could spend hours combing through studies that offer various answers to the “best time.” You can heed that advice, or you can schedule tests and see how your followers react. You know your audience better than anyone!
Try Out Facebook Ads
It can be intimidating at first, but Facebook ads offer some of best ROI and engagement stats around – and it’s fairly easy to navigate, especially with this awesome guide from AdEspresso.
Testing is critical! Try out two similar ads, but with variations in the graphics or text. Start your budget at a price you feel comfortable with, then check out your analytics and see which performs better! You can use the results of these tests to fine tune your approach moving forward. Here is another helpful guide from AdEspresso about A/B testing Facebook ads.
Canva is a Lifesaver for Graphics
Many businesses are using Canva… And once you use it for a while, you’ll start to recognize the templates and graphics – but don’t let that discourage you! It just means you need to customize the templates, graphics, fonts, etc. to make them stand out and work for your business.
For quick social media posts, including an image can be eye catching (or a requirement for something like Instagram), and Canva allows for high quality images without complex software or a design background.
Create a Social Media Calendar
This is important for your sanity… If you don’t keep a calendar, you’ll likely post less, and when you do, the content will be rushed. Try to plan a month out – but even planning a week ahead is better than scrambling the day of.
You can create your calendar any way you want. It just needs to show what you’re posting, which social media platform, and when.
Use Images and Videos
Pictures are better than just text, and videos are even better than images. Just think about what makes you stop while scrolling through your Facebook feed… And what seems to be most prominently featured by the algorithms.
Read a book on Facebook advertising, read the blog of your favorite social media platform, join small business marketing/social media groups on Facebook, and start talking to other small businesses and see what they do! Here are 3 great resources for stepping up your social media game:
• AdEspresso – As mentioned earlier, this site has tons of social media tools, tips, and guide books.
• Facebook Blueprint – This site has FREE courses to learn more about Facebook and Instagram advertising. If you take enough of these courses, you can take a test to be certified as a Facebook expert!
Social media for small businesses can be difficult when you are just starting out – or when other issues need your attention. It’s a wide world out there, and sometimes the best way to learn is by doing! Hopefully these tips will get you started down the right path, and provide some resources if you find yourself faltering.
So much business is conducted through social media these days, you simply can’t afford not to participate. YOU GOT THIS!
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