Women In Business

Small businesses take over social media

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Getting noticed amid the sea of businesses on social media can be a constant struggle for a small business. Avoid getting lost in complicated social media marketing advice. Focus on your small biz strengths and use a few simple tips to make yourself stand out.

Where you stand

Have you been operating social media accounts for your business for a while or are you just getting your toes wet? Do you see a slow trickle of followers with little-to-no interaction? Not sure what to post or how often? When you start trying to flesh out your social media strategy, you may find a lot of complicated answers involving words like “metrics” and “data” that make your eyes start to glaze over. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a master marketer to wield your social media accounts like a marketing magic wand.

Social media optimization

Surely you’ve heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to optimize your content. Social Media Optimization (SMO) is a similar concept. Without getting technical, SMO means making sure your social media posts reach the most people and encourage the most interaction possible. Several methods exist to make your SMO content more effective, such as measuring data and using metrics to adjust your campaigns.

And like SEO, you can apply a little logic and get off to a great start with optimizing your content to reach your customers like a pro.

High value content

You don’t need to constantly create brand new content. In fact, social media is all about sharing, not hollering into the abyss. You’ll see more interaction if you share content your followers are interested in, rather than just your own. When you do share your own content, most of it should be valuable and interesting to your followers, not advertorial.

People engage most with brands who talk with them like friends, not spam them with advertising every day. Planning content in advance, even short form content, gives you time to evaluate whether it is valuable to your followers or a waste of their time.

Brand persona

You can make this step as simple or complicated as you like, but don’t skip it. Small businesses must have a clear voice for their business. It reinforces your branding, builds trusts and credibility, and distinguishes you from your competition.

If your business were a human being, what would she look and sound like? What values would she have? Would she be involved in volunteer work or give to charities? What type of friends would she spend time with? Answering these questions will help you develop a voice for your business. It sets the tone for how you interact with customers everywhere. Using a small business CRM that tracks your social media interactions can help you (and anyone else on your team) ensure a consistent voice across networks.

Know your social networks

Even though consistent customer interactions are vital across social media networks, the content you post and share should be different depending on where you’re posting. Naturally, you’ll post images to Instagram and links to Pinterest, right? It may be a little more complicated for your business.

As an individual, you choose different content to share on different platforms, rather than posting the same thing everywhere. Do the same with your small biz. Develop content to fit the network.

You can leverage cross posting, even automate it using a service such as Zapier or IFTTT. Just don’t rely on that or your social media accounts will look like they’re managed by a robot.

Do your best to stay abreast of new ways to use your networks, as well. Video is one of the most influential ways to communicate with your customers. Facebook has the Go Live video feature, which allows you to publish a live video feed. Facebook gives preference to live videos in Newsfeed, plus it alerts all your followers when you’re live. New features like this one grab the attention of all your followers, just be sure when you Go Live, you’re still delivering valuable, personal interaction.

Personal interaction

As a small business, you have the unique ability to manage your own social media accounts. Customers want personal interactions with the person in charge, as close to real-time as possible.

As an SMB owner, you are the person in charge, your brand’s MVP. If you’ve got a smartphone, you can communicate in real-time. Remember to let your brand persona guide interactions. You want customers to enjoy a uniformly positive, engaging experience wherever they interact with your business.

If the amount of followers and interactions you see becomes overwhelming or you don’t have time to respond to people in a timely manner, there is nothing wrong with hiring a social media manager. In fact, it’s better to hire someone than to let your accounts get stale and customers go unanswered. However, be sure to carefully vet anyone you hire to manage your social media accounts. They must be able to maintain your brand’s voice and behave appropriately when posting on your behalf. Be sure to continue monitoring all your social media accounts to ensure continuity of customer experience with your business.

Social networks can feel like an endless flood of information being shouted at you. Avoid adding to the mess and annoying your followers. Carefully create posts that feel like a welcome, friendly conversation and pull your followers out of the floodwaters.

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web.

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