With more than 70 percent of small businesses reporting that they use social media as a part of their digital marketing efforts, it’s safe to say that it represents an important opportunity. But if you aren’t familiar with utilizing social media as a business rather than as an individual, you may be going about it the wrong way – or even avoiding it entirely.
No matter what industry you are in, there are some basic best tactics that you can apply to your social media pages in order to be successful. Here are our top 9 most important social media best practices for small businesses.
Start With Facebook
There is a reason why Facebook has been around for so long – they provide a robust platform that encourages people to connect and engage with both other people and brands. With nearly 70 percent of American adults utilizing Facebook (and with three-quarters of them checking their pages at least once a day), Facebook presents businesses with the opportunity to engage an enormous audience.
Facebook’s advertising platform is second to none, with dozens of customizations as well as in-depth audience targeting options. They also have very modest budget requirements, which makes Facebook Ads accessible for even the smallest of small businesses.
…But Don’t Ignore Other Platforms
While Facebook may be the most popular social media platform, that doesn’t mean you should limit yourself. Other social media networks can help you reach specific audiences. For instance: Pinterest is great for targeting women, LinkedIn for professionals, and Snapchat and Instagram for under-25s.
Respond Quickly to Engagement
Social media presents a unique opportunity for businesses to engage with their customers or target audience – but there is a trade-off for this. In order to generate a genuine interest in your business, you need to be on top of answering or responding to messages and comments. But putting your “face” out there, so to speak, people see you as a business who cares about what their customers think, which can be a big help for building brand trust and loyalty.
Utilize Both Organic & Paid Strategies
Don’t ask yourself if you should focus on an organic or paid social media strategy. Instead, you should be utilizing both.
Both organic and paid have their own place in a social media campaign, and help to reach and engage different users. Organic reaches existing customers, keeping them engaged and up-to-date on your business. Paid social campaigns help get your name in front of people who may not know about you yet. You can even build social media campaigns that will retarget users who visited your site but didn’t convert.
Use High-Quality Visuals
Social media platforms are, by design, very visual spaces. Users are not going to be very impressed with your brand if you use fuzzy, outdated, or poorly cropped photos. And with cell phones utilizing top-of-the-line cameras these days, there really is no excuse for bad visuals. If you need to, don’t be afraid to utilize stock photos that are relevant to your business; just be sure that they match your brand’s style.
Don’t Post Too Often
One of the biggest mistakes that businesses often make when they start out in social media is posting too much. Many surveys have found that the number one reason users will unfollow a brand is being bombarded with too much content – especially content that is self-promotional. Think of your self-promotional posts as the sprinkles on a sundae instead of the ice cream. Users like to see a variety of posts, including posts that are informative, helpful, funny, or interesting.
Monitor Your Reputation
Social media has become one of the best ways for businesses to monitor their online reputations. People are increasingly turning to social media to see what a company is offering, along with both their positive and negative reviews. Monitor channels for any mention of your company and products, and be sure to answer all reviews about your business – both the good and the bad. A tactful reply to a disappointed customer can do wonders in showing other users that you are a company who cares about customer experiences.
Continue to Invest Over Time
Social media is not a “set it and forget it” type campaign. Building successful campaigns requires continual investment in both time and money. You should be monitoring your results to see if any small changes to your campaigns might increase their effectiveness. As you figure out what works for your company, continue to increase your budget at least once per year until you find the sweet spot for your ROI.
Remember That It Takes Time
Running an effective social media campaign requires time and dedication. That doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours each day on your profiles, but you will need to be sure that comments/messages are answered as quickly as possible, ideally within 24 hours. With some social media platforms beginning to offer scheduling options for both organic posts and paid campaigns, businesses now have a viable option to help cut down on the time they have to spend online.
Unlike some other forms of digital marketing, social media isn’t going to show immediate results. It takes time to build an audience that engages with your content. But all of your effort will be well worth it once your audience is built. Social media not only helps you to stay connected with your current customers, it also helps you to find new ones with paid advertising and word-of-mouth. By following our top 9 best social media best practices for small businesses, you too can build an effective social media campaign.
Do you have additional questions about creating a social media campaign, or need help building and running paid social media ads? We are here to help! Gulf Coast Web has 25 years of experience in managing all types of digital design and marketing campaigns – even for companies outside of our immediate area. Our staff consists of highly-trained digital design advertising professionals who are both passionate about their jobs and excel at what they do. Contact us today to book a consultation with our team. We look forward to outlining exactly how we can help you grow your business with our digital media agency services.