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The Essential Guide to Using Social Media for Small Businesses



The Essential Guide to Using Social Media for Small Businesses

One look at the numbers is more than enough to gauge their enormity. Over 2.46 billion users on various social networks globally, more than 1/3rd of the planet’s population. 243.6 million monthly users active on social networks in the US itself. It just shows how humanity has become so dependent on social media for survival. At the same time, it opens up an ocean of possibilities in front of us, how they can be used in the best possible way to promote one’s business and engage with potential customers. The only thing needed here is some astuteness that sets the dice rolling.

Given below is a guide of sorts to help small businesses promote themselves on social media for business growth.

  • Have measured goals. Pursue them with dedication. Know what you want to achieve with your social media posts. Define your objectives clearly. Chalk out a workable social media marketing plan. Measured goals would entail the number of customers you aim to acquire and the conversion rate you are aiming for. Do some research on your competitors through competitor analysis and create a social media calendar that will help you make timely posts. Trying out the 80-20 rule here might help, 80 percent of the posts being informative and educative while 20 percent posts being thoroughly promotional.
  • Choose your social platforms wisely. You do not have to promote your business on all social media. Choose the ones you think are best for your business. Wise choices will drive potential customers your way. To make it easy for you, Facebook and LinkedIn are two of the most popular social networking sites. StumbleUpon and Delicious are for bookmarking. Digg and Reddit are social news sites. YouTube and Flickr are for media sharing. Twitter is for Microblogging. There are plenty of miscellaneous sites to go and comment on and forums to participate in.
  • Identify your target audience. Be very clear with that. Even before you get started, you must know your target customers. Use social media analytics to find out more about users showing interest in your product/service. Use Facebook Ads Manager for an estimate of the audience size. Be proactive while creating your social media page design keeping your customers in mind. This will help create stronger engagement. Try using a Facebook lookalike audience tool to identify users with similar interests to those of your existing followers.
  • Target newer audiences. Initially you begin by targeting a small section of the internet audience. As you grow in size and confidence, you begin reaching out to a larger sect. This is not important, it is imperative. You can go about doing this by increasing your ad spends on Facebook and other relevant social media channels. Increased spending will invariably result in a massive increase in your following as well. This development also warrants necessary changes in your content. Going forward from that stage, you posts must have mass appeal. After reaching this stage, you cannot afford to have a mundane Facebook cover design.
  • Build strong relations with your customers and followers. Let these be one-to-one relationships. A personal rapport between a small business and its customers goes a long way in helping make it profitable. A recent report on customer insights reveals that 93 percent of Twitter followers following small and medium businesses end up buying from them. Facebook Groups help businesses build their community of followers. Businesses can launch their own groups and invite concerned people over to be a part of it. Deeper engagement with such people helps with brand promotion in the longer run. Keep replying to queries coming in from people.
  • Your posts must offer value to your readers. Making multiple posts randomly on various social media channels will serve no purpose. Rather, it is advisable you maintain a constant presence on select social channels, posting visuals and text-based content in measured proportion. Your posts can also include images, videos and infographics. These must offer value to visitors. Your posts can be related to your product, services or even the industry that you function within. Once you master this art, then you can start posting on more.
  • Use Strong and Attractive Visuals. These help send out a very strong message without stressing out readers with reading lengthy text. Facebook and other social media readers are addicted these days to videos, photos, infographics and GIFs. You can also use high-quality stock photographs for free in your social media posts. Users go further and share images and videos on Instagram and Snapchat and Pinterest. Strong visuals make content look real and have a strong say in users’ buying decisions.
  • Use Software Tools That Boost Productivity. There are certain tools that can automate your daily social media work saving you a big hassle. Analytics tools help you analyze your social media campaign’s performance and in getting reports. You get necessary information over your conversion rate and number of visitors buying into your website. Graphics tool helps create and edit photos and graphics. Management tools help track social media engagement. Content curation tools help curate content, i.e. sharing quality content from other websites with their credit given in your posts.
  • Finally, find out what works for you. When you post, track all the responses the post gets. Use A\B testing to make changes in strategy if necessary. Fix design errors in case if any. The need for high-quality graphic design warrants that a designing agency be hired to make your post strong visually. Headlines and subtext might have to be changed every now and then if the ones used are not evoking any kind of response. Match the text with the visual and see whether they complement each other or not. Multiple rounds of trial and error will finally bring you to a point where you will easily work out what works best for you.

This guide is for small businesses looking for growth on social media. It will help them make all the right moves and establish a strong presence that helps them achieve their ambitions over time.

Shaun is the director of Virtual Employee Private Limited , a remote staffing & tech MNC, and is responsible for leading a team of more than 1200 experts from domains like IT, Content Creation, Digital Marketing, Designing. A law graduate from Brunel University, Shaun has been instrumental in creating a business model which is increasingly being seen by industry peers as a model for new organizations in the tech outsourcing domain.