Why use social media to promote your business? Because this is the fastest, most cost-effective way of interacting with potential customers – it’s that simple.
So whether you’re a start-up, independent contractor or a well-established enterprise, social media is likely to be your primary marketing tool. With that said, it takes practice and thought to get it right. Here are ten of our top tips to help small companies do just that.
1. Get to know your platforms
The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, and they can all help to promote your business in a positive way. Facebook is by far the most popular network, with some 2 billion users (and counting) and is hard to beat in terms of reach. Twitter is great for posting news, recommending a product or a link to followers. It’s also a great way to attract followers and build trust with your audience. LinkedIn is good for B2B networking; Instagram and Pinterest are excellent photo-sharing platforms, while YouTube is ideal if you want to build a video presence. Make sure you’re familiar with how the main platforms work before diving in so you can maximise their potential.
2. Have a plan
Ask yourself what you want to achieve with social media. Do you want to generate more sales leads, boost traffic to your website, educate customers, or build trust by sharing informative content? Whether it’s one, two, or all of these, the point is to be specific. Avoid simply aiming for more likes, retweets and other so-called vanity metrics because, while it’s nice to claim you’ve got thousands of followers, they only mean something if they’re relevant to your business.
3. Stay active
Whether you use one or several social platforms it’s important to stay active and post new content regularly. If the blog you wrote and the image you put up three months ago are still the most recent items, it doesn’t make a very good impression. Commit to posting regularly and stick to a schedule whether it’s every morning or once or twice a week. This can be easier said than done for small businesses so be prepared to delegate responsibility or have a rota for social media activity.
4. Post with purpose
While it’s important to keep it regular, your content should be meaningful and have value. Don’t simply tweet about the weather unless you happen to sell a great waterproof product, or know of one! Remember, not every post has to be a sales pitch, so includes tips, an inspirational quote you’ve come across, news of a local project, or the fact that you’re recruiting!
5. Interact with your audience
Social media is so named because it’s where people meet and interact. So rather than just put up a message, ask questions and find out what people think. Invite feedback and comment. The point is to engage with others and learn what they are interested in and what they want – maybe you could provide it! And don’t be shy about asking people to retweet (RT) your post. For instance, if you run a driving school: ‘Half-price driving lessons in January for 17-year-olds. Please RT family and friends.’
6. Get visual
Text-only posts are fine but should be used in moderation and liberally interspersed with images and graphics to liven up your activity. Make sure you give your audience visuals to look at and hopefully share – and the higher quality, the better. Pinterest is a good example of the quality of image to aim for.
7. Quality videos only
Video can be a powerful way of promoting your brand but only if you take a bit of care to produce quality material. The good news is that you don’t need expensive cameras to make a high-quality film as mobile phones and tablets can also produce great results. Instead of filming something off the cuff and posting it on YouTube in a hurry, take some time to get the set-up right, especially if you’re showing off a new product, making a presentation or ‘how-to’ video.
8. Show off your knowledge
If you are an expert in a particular field or have specialist knowledge, be ready to share it with your audience. If you’re prepared to give away some of what you know, people will come back for more. Consider writing a regular blog and post a link to it for people to follow. Raising your profile is an effective way to promote your goods or services.
9. Track your results
It’s no good being super active if you don’t check to see if your efforts are paying off, so look at the number of clicks per post, page visits, likes and re-tweets you’re getting to see what works, and what needs tweaking. You could also use a social management app for more insightful analytics, although there is a cost implication.
10. Look for inspiration
Look at what others are doing including the big brands and your competitors and don’t be ashamed to borrow winning strategies wherever you find them! If you come across a great idea, adapt it to suit your business