Dominating Digital: Social Media Basics for Small Business [Infographic]
Social Media Basics for Small Business
If you know you should be on social media but aren’t sure where to start, how to grow your audience, or what the social media basics are, you certainly aren’t alone. With so many platforms and constant changes, it can feel hard to keep up. Even so, social media is an important part of any digital marketing strategy since it gives brands lots of opportunities to engage with customers.
Especially great for small businesses is the fact that users don’t expect professionally directed videos or intricately staged product photos. If you have a smartphone you can create great content! And though B2B businesses often think social media isn’t for them, their smaller customer base means there is great opportunity to connect with those customers and help each other succeed. Whatever type of business you are in, you can use this guide to boost your social media savvy.
Define your goals and audience
It is common for brands to jump into social media for fear that they are missing out. They see customers and competitors on Instagram and think “I have to be there too!” The truth is, not all brands need to be on every platform, which is good news for anyone on a tight budget. Your efforts will be more rewarding if you develop a strategy.
First, Identify your business goals.
Every effort should have a purpose and you can’t measure the return on your investment in likes and re-tweets. Do you want to get more leads? Support customers? Having clear and measurable goals will help you figure out what impact social media is having, and how it ranks amongst your other marketing efforts. Common goals for small businesses on social media might be:
- Increase traffic to my website
- Increase sales
- Grow brand awareness
- Connect with my local community
- Get more reviews
- Become a thought leader
Next, define who your customer is.
How old is she? What does she do for a living? What are her interests? Once you know more about the customer you are trying to reach, you can determine which social networks she is on and focuses your energy there. Trying to target baby boomers on Instagram, for example, would be a waste since only 4% of users are over 55.
Once your goals and target audience are defined, you can set your social media strategy:
- Build a content calendar. Define what you will share in advance so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to find content. This can be as simple as an excel spreadsheet.
- Decide who will respond. When people reach out to brands through social there is an expectation of a quick response. Determine whether you will manage your social channels internally or hire an outside firm, and make responsibilities clear.
- Schedule time regularly to review metrics – see what worked and what didn’t, and check for any changes to site algorithms that may affect your posts. All of the platforms mentioned here have built-in analytics that helps you see how your posts performed.
With so many social media sites out there, it can be tough to know which is right for your brand. Here is an overview of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, and tips for success whether you are just getting started or looking for inspiration.
Social Media Basics of Facebook
Facebook is the largest social media platform and the most well-known. Teenagers are steadily leaving the site, but Facebook is still used by 81% of US adults age 18-29. Even if you haven’t set up a page for your business, one may already exist so make sure and claim your page. Facebook can be many things including a source for customer reviews and an e-commerce shop for selling products directly.
Your page should keep details up to date, be responsive to messages, and post content that people find engaging. Adding images or video to posts will get more likes, comments and shares, and with online tools like Canva you don’t need to be a designer to create great visuals.
Facebook Content Examples
- Discounts and promotions – the majority of users who follow brands want to know about deals.
- Events – you can create Facebook events and send invitations. This also lets Facebook take on some of the work when it comes to reminding attendees and asking them to promote to their networks.
- New products or services – your followers want to be early adopters.
- Inquire – asking questions is an easy way to invite followers to engage.
- Stories – share an inspirational customer story or an employee profile.
- Funny – memes, quotes and cartoons do well on Facebook.
- Inside looks – give your audience a “behind the scenes” look at what you do.
Social Media Basics of Instagram
Instagram is for sharing photos and videos. Its photo filters let everyone feel like a photographer and “real time” content is encouraged (hence the “insta“). Instagram is growing faster and skewing younger than Facebook, with 72% of teens using Instagram compared to 35% of adults. It works well for B2C and for visual products like jewelry, but any brand can build a following and share great images. 25 million businesses have Instagram profiles and the platform is rapidly improving the experience of shopping for the products seen in a post.
So, what should you post? That depends a lot on the type of business and goals. Here are some examples of how other brands are using the photo-sharing network:
Outdoor Research sells outdoor gear. Their Instagram feed doesn’t show product close-ups or features, but rather inspirational photos of athletes and enthusiasts enjoying outdoor sports.
View this post on Instagram
Blue Nile is an online jewelry retailer. They post mostly up-close photos of engagement rings, and those little shopping bag icons in the upper right-hand corner of their images allow you to easily see the price and purchase that exact item.
View this post on Instagram
Canva is a design tool. Their Instagram feed is visually stunning and often features images created by Canva users, showcasing the tool’s functionality.
View this post on Instagram
Social Media Basics of LinkedIn
For B2B companies who aren’t sure social media is important, LinkedIn is a great place to start. LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site and is the most successful for lead generation. Don’t think that it is just for job hunters; there are 2 million posts every day. This is your chance to educate, share expertise, and connect with others in your industry or profession.
You are the expert in your market so share your knowledge with customers because helping them succeed helps you succeed! Longer form content like blog posts are great to share on LinkedIn and help your page show up higher in search results. If you don’t have a blog set up, you can post directly on LinkedIn which makes it very easy to create content.
Social Media is not meant to be one-way communication, so, connect with customers and industry associations. Like, share and comment on their content. Invite potential customers to follow you. Salespeople have found success using LinkedIn to find potential customers. The network makes it easy to connect with decision makers in an organization.
LinkedIn Content Examples
- Blog posts and articles – share your own, or relevant articles from other websites.
- Industry events – let followers know you’ll be there, then write a post about what you took away from the event.
- Company related news – acquisitions, awards, press releases, moves, and major product launches.
- Inspiring stories about team members.
Social Media Basics of Twitter
About 21% of adults use Twitter and it is all about the “now”. People want to know what is trending, get the news quickly, and be able to contact customer service immediately. Being active on Twitter requires regular monitoring in addition to sharing content. When a customer tags your brand, they are expecting a quick response (60% of users expect a response within an hour).
Twitter Content Examples
- Someone has a problem – great customer service builds loyal customers who share their experiences. Today’s consumers view Twitter as the least frustrating way to contact brands. If someone tags your company with a simple issue, you can answer it with a public response. Most likely, their issue will require more information or may involve personal details, in which case it is best to ask them to direct message you like Amazon Help does below.
@LaPistolista Hi, sorry to learn of your recent poor experiences. This is not the service we expect. When in touch previously, what were you advised? Were you provided with the reason as to why your order is being returned? Were any further options provided to you? Thank you.^TP
— Amazon Help (@AmazonHelp) February 28, 2019
- Someone has a question – this is an easy way to satisfy a customer and build brand loyalty. Be sure to respond to these as quickly as possible and consider authorizing more of your team members to answer simple inquiries so you don’t miss them!
- Someone wants to send some love – it feels great to get kudos. Make sure and respond to positive feedback as Todoist did here.
Hello, this is great to hear this! Glad that you like both of our products! ?
— Todoist (@todoist) March 4, 2019
- Someone is upset with your brand – the public nature of Twitter means customers know they will get your attention when they complain. Don’t ignore negative tweets. If you respond quickly and considerately you can retain a customer and maybe create a fan.
Social media gives you lots of ways to tell your brand story. With so many platforms out there, don’t get overwhelmed by trying to be everywhere, and instead choose the ones that work for your business. Remember to be authentic and gracious and have fun with it!
Still worried about getting started? The Tipsy Marketers are standing by and ready to help your small business succeed online. Check out our Social Media Management services to get started!