Most small business owners know that social media can be a great tool to use to help market their business and build relationships with customers. However, when it comes to how to use social media most effectively, many are left scratching their heads. And it is no wonder—the world of social media is constantly changing and what worked yesterday may not work today. With that being said, there are some simple tips that have stood the test of time in social media.
1. Post consistently. Many business owners that begin using social media start strong. They post frequently at first and as time goes on those post become less and less frequent. To avoid this, create a social media schedule. Tools such as Hootsuite allow users to schedule posts to multiple social media platforms. Posting frequently increases your chances of being seen by customers and helps your business stay top of mind.
2. Stick to brand image. If your brand is upscale and sleek, your social media accounts should reflect that. If your brand is fun and upbeat, you need to get that across on social media. Every time a business posts on social media they need to determine what impression someone that has never heard of them might get from that post. If that does not match up with the image the business is hoping to convey, do not post.
3. Market to target customers. Social media is great because so many people use it on a daily basis. It can be tempting for a business to want to market to everyone that broadly fits into their target audience. If a business is paying for views on social media, they should work to narrow their audience to the people most likely to purchase from them. For example, a women’s clothing store that primarily sells to women over 50 will want to exclude young college aged women from the targeted demographic even though they may on occasion sell to women that fit this description.
4. Social media is meant to be social. It is a great way for businesses to build relationships with customers. Encourage engagement by asking questions. When a customer posts about a great experience they had with your business, thank them. If a follower has a question, answer them. This type of engagement not only helps build brand loyalty, it also helps your business page have greater visibility due to social media algorithms that reward pages that users interact with.
5. Use the right platform. Twitter is not the same as Facebook. Facebook is not the same as Instagram. Instagram is not the same as Pinterest. Because no two social media platforms are the same, they should not be used the same way. Knowing which social media platform to use is going to come down to what your business trying to get out of social media. Are you trying to convert someone over to your website? Are you trying to promote a new product or simply promote the brand? Is the goal to reach recent high school graduates, or parents with children under the age of five? Using the right social media platform allows business owners to spend their time and marketing dollars in the most efficient manner.
(Source: Valerie Cote, Consultant, UGA SBDC at Georgia Southern University)