Social Media for Small Business

January 27, 2017
Helen Gallagher

In social media for small business, focus is key – and you want to focus on the Big 3 – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You should of course tailor this to your business. A hip retail store will get more engagement and sales from Instagram and Pinterest. While a financial services company could even focus exclusively on LinkedIn.

Despite algorithm tweaking and ‘pay-to-play’ complaints about Facebook, it still gets 1.79bn  traffic per month and is essential for most B2C businesses. For example, in 2014, this article sounded the death knell of Facebook. Three years on Facebook is still a solid marketing platform, while most of the mentioned alternatives are now defunct (except Ello, Procurious and Tagstr – and users quickly lost interest in Ello).

Planning

The first step is to create your social media accounts. Most platforms have easy to understand guides that will take you through it step by step. Next, decide upon your goals. Along with your business type, this will help you decide which platforms are most suitable for your business.

Planning an editorial calendar for your social media is a great way to save time long term, but do leave some space to be reactive. This means you can take advantage of trends, news and developments in your industry. Choose a realistic and consistent posting schedule, and optimise your posting times to work with your potential followers.

You can post similar content to all your platforms. Cross platform publishing is a great idea, and images shared from Instagram to Facebook do better than ones directly shared to Facebook. However it’s important to resize your images and adapt the length and style of your text in most cases.

Managing

There are many tools and strategies you can use to manage your social media presence in an effective way. The first thing is to manage your time. Draw up a list of sources and topics that you can go back to in order to streamline the process. 

82% of customers have spoken to a customer service rep on Facebook. Click To Tweet

Consider using a scheduler, and setting brief times to focus on social media. It can easily take over otherwise. But don’t just post and have done. Make sure to look after your online reputation – respond to comments, messages and reviews. Feeling ignored can make your customers furious, and a staggering 82% of customers have spoken to a customer service rep on Facebook. A good response to a bad review can turn a situation around, and provides good social proof for future customers.

Always keep your goals in mind, and tread the line of personal and professional very carefully. Again, this can vary. A corporate law firm could make themselves look unprofessional by sharing puppy pictures. Whereas a crafty coffee shop can use the same image to generate likes and business. If you aren’t sure on a topic, err on the side of caution. Keep party pics, politics and religion to your personal accounts. 

Measuring

Social media ROI can be less clear than sales figures or site visits. There are specific challenges to social marketing. Customers expect companies to be active on social platforms, but don’t necessarily buy via those platforms. One trick is avoid the lure of vanity metrics. To use the puppy example from before; if the coffee shop wants engagement and new likes, then it can be a great tactic. If they want to use social to directly sell their coffee beans, they’d be better off with useful videos showcasing how to prepare their product.

Analytics is your friend here. Google Analytics can track social traffic to your website, and most of the social platforms offer their own insights and metrics to make your life easier. The main schedulers also have their own analytics and reporting systems.

This information can be used to measure several key metrics, including traffic, engagement and even website conversions.

If you’d like some help with your social media marketing, get in touch today and ask what we can do for you.

Try our quiz to help you decide which social media should be your focus…

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