Many businesses have had to make the drastic transition to operating online or remaining closed during the course of the lockdowns. Small businesses have particularly suffered with the shift to online and some are relying on the ever-present social media more than ever. We have gathered a range of useful tips to help you make the most out of social media for your small business.
Ensuring that you have active dedicated business pages is essential in the modern day. In fact, Instagram Business data shows that 90% of people on Instagram follow a business. Likewise, the data also shows that 84% of users want to discover new products on Instagram. Going off of these statistics alone shows how important social media is in being able to reach new potential customers. Furthermore, customers are keen to support small businesses, especially during the current climate.
Visuals are one of the most important elements when it comes to using social media for small businesses. Mixing up the types of content you use will also keep your social media feeling fresh and exciting. So if your business posts a lot of photos, try a video or even a GIF. According to Sprout Social, 68% of consumers said that they preferred to engage with images and 50% preferred videos, compared to 30% who enjoyed text-based posts. Visuals are far more likely to catch the eye and draw attention to your post. Consider your own reaction if you saw a Facebook post with a lengthy chunk of text versus one with a clear and colourful infographic. In addition, The State of Social report by Buffer found that Facebook is also the most popular social channel for businesses to share videos.
To effectively use hashtags, you should find a balance by targeting the most important keywords without overwhelming the reader. This is especially the case for Twitter where you have a limited number of characters. Twitter data found that Tweets with hashtags gained 100% more engagement than those without. The data also found that 1-2 hashtags work the best. Hashtags are incredibly useful for targeting potential customers who would be interested in what you have to offer and driving engagement. On platforms such as Instagram, the number of hashtags is not quite so restricted, but it is important to keep them relevant to the content of the post.
Try to be as responsive as you can to followers who reach out to you on social media. Note that customers often expect a quicker response when reaching out across social platforms. In fact, the 2020 Sprout Social Index found that 79% of customers expect a response from a company within the first 24 hours of reaching out on social media. If you can, it is certainly worthwhile setting aside some time every day or every other day to solely respond to social media messages. Try not to neglect them for too long as your potential customer may become disinterested.
One aspect of social media that may put off small businesses is the time required to invest into posting. Fortunately, there are now many tools available on which you can schedule posts in advance. Set aside a couple of hours once a week to plan and create upcoming posts for your social media. You can directly schedule posts through your social media accounts or make use of scheduling tools such as Hootsuite for all of your social platforms.
There is an array of tools at your disposal on social media to help grow your business. For B2C companies, you can set up Facebook Groups for your business to keep interested customers informed. This works especially well if you can introduce local customers. Facebook and Instagram stories are social tools you should definitely utilise. These offer cross-platform sharing and also allow you to post more organic, off-the-cuff items where relevant and on-brand. A recent survey by Ipsos Mori found that 50% of people visited a website to buy a product after seeing it on their stories.
This might seem counterintuitive, as one key advantage of using social media is to drive customers to your website. But from a customer’s point of view, they may lose interest if they constantly feel like they are being bombarded with advertising. Or in the worst case scenario, they may unfollow or unlike your page. Make sure you find a balance between selling and promoting your products or services and engaging with your customers. You could share a relevant article to your business, share your interests, share something funny, or even let your customers know a bit more about your business and its ethos. Customers are often interested in seeing the work that goes into creating products or services. This will also humanise your business and establish a growing relationship with your customers.
Social media may seem daunting for your business, but if you set aside some time to plan how you can make it work for you, it will be worthwhile. Make the most of the resources you have available, mix up your content, and don’t be afraid of engaging with your customers.
If you are looking for further help or support on how to manage your social media, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, take a look at some of the marketing consultancy services that we offer.
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