Are you just now attempting to jump on the “Social Media for Business” bandwagon and wondering where start? If you find the concept of establishing an online social media presence for your small enterprise to be a daunting task, have no fear – it’s actually pretty simple to get started.
Here are our top four tips to get your small business started in the social media realm.
1: First things first: Who are you and who is your audience?
Rather than blast random content into the social media stratosphere and hope for the best, taking a well-planned approach is a better way to utilize your resources. Forming a strategy should begin by writing down your brand objectives and any goals you have for your business. Ultimately, these are the things you’ll want all of your social media activity to support and help to achieve.
- Create Your Business’s Persona
Answer this question: How do you want people to perceive your company or brand? As a rebellious innovator, a time-tested workhorse, or perhaps as a versatile company with traditional values at the forefront of your industry –each of these personae tell your audience about how your products or services fit into their values and vision of what the world should look like.
The adage, “Actions speak louder than words,” perhaps rings truest on social media. Your online activity should synchronize with and reinforce whatever message you are attempting to convey to your audience. Whether it’s making a stand for a social movement or supporting a particular political party, the content you publish on social media must match up with how your company conducts itself on a daily basis. An example of an incongruous social media persona would be a fur coat manufacturer rallying for animal rights. It’s a contradictory message that just doesn’t add up.
The best way to start defining your brand’s persona is to make a list of all the descriptive adjectives you would like people to attribute to your company. Once you have your list, start developing content that exemplifies those qualities.
- Define Your Target Audience
In offering a product or service to the public, you’ve likely already determined what your key demographic groups are, but you’ll need to fine-tune them to ensure your company’s content is seen by the right viewers on social media.
Targeted content on social media operates in much the same way marketing and advertising via traditional practices operates. Meaning, what works for marketing designer jeans to millennials doesn’t work when marketing those same jeans to Gen-Xer’s. Each generation and its subcultures has an overall message or set of values that must be played to when creating your social media content.
2: Identify Which Networks to Engage On
A common mistake many business owners make when starting out with social media is attempting to do too much too soon. Not only does creating multiple profiles across several social networking sites in the beginning quickly become overwhelming, but it dilutes your message and audience.
Choose your social media platforms carefully by first studying each of them so you can understand best which audiences are active on which platforms. Did you know that 81% of Pinterest’s 150 million active monthly users are female while 69% of Reddit’s adult users are male? If your company’s target audience is middle-aged, Facebook is a good place to start.
Alternatively, Facebook is practically shunned by teenagers who don’t want their parents as “friends” that can see their online activity. While many teens do in fact have Facebook accounts, their preferred social networking platforms are Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter.
3: Choose the Right Social Media Management Tools
Once you’ve developed a social media strategy, defined your online persona, and identified your target audience, you’ll need to keep them satisfied with a constant flow of relevant and valuable content. Creating, searching for, and sharing content on social media can easily become a fulltime job if you are not using a scheduling tool to pre-schedule your content delivery for pre-determined dates and times.
Facebook has a free scheduling tool included with its basic profile accounts, but if you are managing ten different networking profiles that isn’t going to help you. Upping your social media content delivery game (once you understand how the game is played) is as simple as signing up for a free account through management platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer. Each social media management service has their own pros and cons, so experiment with a few of them before settling on one.
4: Watch What Happens and Measure What Matters
While it might be a fantastic feeling to see your number of followers growing each day, if they aren’t followers who will convert into sales, then the numbers don’t matter so much. To be clear, yes, you obviously want people to follow your feeds, but it’s more important to track what your followers are doing when they visit your page.
Are they actually engaging with your content (“liking,” sharing, and commenting) or are they arriving at your page via a link located elsewhere on the web, and leaving within seconds of their arrival (known as a bounce rate)? Every social media platform offers analytic tools to help you gain a better understanding of what kind of content your targeted audience likes and how best to serve it to them. Use those tools to your advantage and your follower count will grow organically, rather than having to pay for ads to gain more fans.