Did you know that up to 30% of potential customers might not buy from you if you lack a social media presence?
If you don’t use social media for your small business, you could be missing out on a lot of customers. You could also lose customers if your presence is stale.
It’s easy to make an account on any of the popular social media sites. And, social media is free to use (although you can pay for additional advertising features). Overall, social media is a quick and simple way to market your small business.
Social media marketing tips for small business
Social media is relatively easy to use. But to help you out, here are seven social media marketing tips for your small business.
1. Meet your customers where they are
Small business social media marketing will never work if your customers don’t see you. Do a little research to figure out which social media sites your potential customers use.
Take time to identify which social media sites are best for your industry and potential customers. For example, B2B businesses tend to do well on LinkedIn because that’s where business owners are most active. B2C businesses do better on Facebook because it allows business owners to connect with customers on a personal level. Retail businesses can reach shopaholics by pinning their products on Pinterest. Businesses with highly visual products, like restaurants and bakeries, can use Instagram to target foodies.
You can ask current customers what sites they use because you will also use social media for marketing to existing customers. Use your accounts to post updates and special sales events as a way to keep in touch with customers.
The Square Cup, a coffee shop in Talladega, Ala., uses Facebook to announce seasonal drink specials. By promoting their new drinks with a Facebook photo, they reach out to their existing customers and expand their brand to potential customers.
Once you know where your potential customers are, join them. Make accounts for your business on those sites.
However, don’t try to be on every social media network. Even if you have potential customers on every major social media site, only use the sites where you can reach the most potential customers. If you try managing too many accounts, you’ll spread yourself thin and the content you post probably won’t be great.
2. Respond to customers
Social media in business works best when you create a two-way conversation with your customers. If your customers say something about your business, you should respond.
If a social media follower asks a question, you should answer it. That question might indicate that the follower is considering a purchase.
If a follower gives negative feedback, find out why. Learn what went wrong and try to remedy the problem. You can use the negative feedback to improve your business. And, when a follower says something positive, thank them.
Timeliness is key to engaging with customers. Eighty-five percent of customers expect a response on Facebook within six hours. And, 64% of customers on Twitter want a response within 60 minutes.
Responding to customers can take a lot of time. You don’t need to respond to every “cool,” “nice work,” and “I’ll pass.” Focus on time-sensitive or service-related comments and messages first. If you need help determining if you should respond, there are resources to help.
3. Stay on topic
Your small business social media accounts should be about your small business. All the content you post should be related to your business. Things you might want to post about include your products, business operations, upcoming events, sales, and industry news.
You don’t want to post something about your business and then post a cat meme an hour later (unless cat memes are somehow actually related to your business). While it is OK to have some lighter content, always keep the focus on your business.
4. Tell people you’re on social media
When it comes to social media for small business, don’t have the “if you build it, they will come” mindset. Sure, people might come, but it will be slow.
To speed things up, tell people about your social media profiles. You can tell people about your social media profiles at your store, on your website, on advertisements, or at events. Something as simple as including your profiles in your email signature or on your store window can encourage customers to follow you.
Cayla Marvil, Patriot Software customer and co-founder of Lamplighter Brewing Co. in Cambridge, Mass., said they were able to gain a significant social media following in part by just making their social media handles known.
“We advertise our construction progress on the windows of our building, so a lot of people get our social media handles from there and start following us out of curiosity,” she said.
You should also share your business’s social media accounts on your personal accounts. If nothing else, your mom will know what your business is up to, and hopefully, she will share your content for others to see, too.
5. Post regularly
You need to post content regularly to keep customers interested. When your customers are interested, they’ll be more likely to visit your business on and off social media. And when you post regularly, you will begin building brand awareness.
There are peak times to post on social media. You can test posts on different days and times to discover when your followers are more likely to engage. Or, you can use research to help you plan your posts.
If you are struggling to come up with things to post, you can use social media templates. Templates are simple formulas you can modify to create posts for your business.
6. Don’t waste time
Social media can become a huge time suck. How much time do you spend on your personal social media accounts? You probably spend way too much time scrolling through your endless social feeds, or agonizing about crafting the perfect post that makes you look witty.
You don’t want to waste time on your social media for small business. You have other business tasks to do. That’s why you should plan ahead for the content you post.
Try to create some posts in advance. Then, you can schedule the posts. Scheduling posts in advance will help you improve your digital marketing metrics, publish content regularly, and avoid any last minute struggles.
You should also have an idea of the types of content you want to share from other accounts or websites. Having an idea of what you want to look for should help stop you from wasting time in the pits of the internet.
7. Use more than words
On social media, a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s cliché, but true. Our internet-connected world has turned us into extremely visual people, and modern entrepreneurs need to take advantage of that.
Photos and videos perform well on social media. In fact, posts with photos receive more engagement than posts without photos. To get your followers more interested and engaged, use visuals in your posts. Just make sure you only use images that you created or are authorized to use.
Photos and videos are great ways to show off your products or services. You can also show off the faces behind your business. Bubble & Brown, a bakery in Salt Lake City, uses Instagram to share photos of their delectable creations. They include details and bakery news in the captions, sharing their story with their followers.
Summer of S'more!… Thank you to the @sltrib and @slclunches for the awesome spotlight in today's Newspaper. #locallove . Check out the entire article, in today's Mix Section (link in profile), and read up on the other awesome local establishments offering their take on the campfire classic! #smoreofwhat
How does your small business make use of social media marketing? We’d love to see your posts–share your story and photos with the hashtag #PatriotSpotlight so we can check them out.