Social media is everywhere these days. Facebook alone boasts over 1.2 billion active users! We get our news from Twitter, Instagram inspires us, and if we ever need to learn anything – literally ANYTHING – there’s YouTube.
Many businesses have adopted robust social strategies to connect and engage with their customers online. But despite the incredible marketing opportunities social media presents, I know many small business owners are still hesitant to invest in social media.
“I have no time,” they say… “What should I post about,” they ask… “I can’t keep up with the constant changes,” they cry…
If that’s how you feel, I totally get it! But, I have to be honest with you:
There’s NO excuse for not taking advantage of social media for your business. The marketing potential is just too great. The trick is figuring out how to make social media work FOR you and not the other way around.
So, let’s move forward under the assumption that social media is non-negotiable. Here are 5 ways to make it more manageable and, dare I say, even fun. Let’s dive in!
1. Commit to it
The first step to successfully using social media to promote your business is to actually commit to doing it in the first place! And I don’t mean a passing, “I’ll set up my profiles and post when I think of it” kind of commitment.
Social Media is a long game. The people who find success, post on a consistent schedule and don’t quit. They make a point to communicate with their followers on a regular basis.
BUT, commitment doesn’t mean you need to slave away for hours every day crafting post after post. You just need to develop a plan that works for you.
For example, what if you agreed to posting just 3 times a week? That doesn’t sound too bad, right? And it will give you the chance to connect with your customers in a much deeper way.
Commitment is more about consistency than frequency. Start small and grow from there.
2. Pick your platforms
One common mistake I see small business owners make when it comes to social media is trying to be everywhere at once. But attempting to create content for every social network under the sun will leave you stressed and disappointed.
It’s much better to pick 1 – 3 networks and really invest your time there.
Do you enjoy taking pictures? Instagram is a great platform for photographers! You could share photos of your top customers, motivational quotes to inspire your followers or behind the scenes shots of you “making the magic happen.”
Maybe you regularly check your personal Facebook page and are already familiar with the platform. A Facebook business page is a great place to display your services, accept online bookings, and notify customers of any sales you’re currently running. And, given Facebook’s intuitive advertising platform, you can easily run ads to meet specific business objectives such as getting more clicks on your “Book now” button.
Do you find yourself swiping through Pinterest before bed each night? This could be the perfect platform for you. You can “pin” pictures or videos related to your business to themed boards. This is an especially great platform to reach your female audience as they make up 71% of total users.
There are many other social media networks. The key is choosing a few you’ll enjoy and really owning it on those.
3. Promote that you’re on social
This may seem obvious, but so many business owners forget this step! To have successful social media pages, you have to have followers, which means people have to know you’re there.
Start with the people already connected to you or your business. Email your list letting them know what social networks you’re on and ask them to follow/friend you. You can even give a reward for them doing so if you’d like.
Also, if you have personal social accounts, invite all those friends to like/follow your business accounts as well. Let them know it would really help your business and you would appreciate them taking a few seconds to join your page.
Other techniques could include posting flyers at your establishment promoting your social pages, adding social links to your website, and even partnering with established influencers on specific social channels.
All in all, there are many ways to inform the world that you’re on social – way too many to thoroughly discuss in this post – but attempting a few of these basic strategies and experimenting with others is a great way to get the word out.
4. Develop a content strategy
So at this point you’ve committed to consistently being on social media, you’ve decided what platforms you want to focus on and you’ve taken steps to begin promoting your presence there.
Now it’s time to get serious about the content you’re posting.
Most businesses post to their business profiles like they would to their personal profiles – random pictures, statements, updates – with no forethought to the bigger picture.
To run successful social media pages, you must develop a content strategy! But this doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. Simply ask yourself:
- Who am I trying to reach?
- What content will they find most entertaining and/or helpful?
- What am I hoping to achieve by better engaging with my followers?
- And, how do I want to present my business to the world?
By asking yourself these questions, you’ll begin to discover what content your customers most connect with and you can develop a content strategy that incorporates these types of posts.
For example, let’s assume you’re in the personal training niche and you’ve determined that your audience responds best to motivational quotes related to fitness, new workout videos, etc. You would then center your content around posts of this nature.
Armed with your content strategy and the posting schedule we discussed earlier, you can create a complete plan for reaching your customers with meaningful content on a consistent basis.
5. Be social
Lastly, remember that these are social networks which means you must be social! Use your posts to ask your followers questions. Respond to their comments and initiate dialogue.
Be sure to write in a conversational tone as nobody wants to engage with stuffy “business speak”.
Also, don’t be afraid to be light hearted or post humorous memes/pictures if this coincides with your branding. People love to laugh and you’ll build a special bond with your audience if you can consistently make them smile.
Lastly, keep in mind why most people spend time on social networks in the first place. To have fun, connect with people and organizations they care about, update family and friends on happenings in their lives.
People will engage with and even look forward to seeing your posts if you present your business in the way your customers want to see you. This doesn’t mean changing everything about who you are as a business, but rather, adjusting to the social medium you happen to be on.
In conclusion, social media can be an incredible marketing tool when used correctly. And it doesn’t need to consume your life either. Use the above steps to better engage with your customers, reach new prospects, and ultimately improve your bottom line in a way that works for your unique business.