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Social Media For Small Businesses

An introductory guide

Social media can be intimidating, but we’ve got you covered. With 4.2 Billion active social media users, social media is an integral tool for small businesses and mega-corporations alike. Social media users are 57.5% more likely to buy from a brand they follow on social media; furthermore, social users are 71% more likely to make a purchase after a positive interaction with a brand's social media. The takeaway from these statistics is clear: social media has a direct impact on your sales and bottom line. Here are all the social media tips you’ll need to maximize this powerful tool for your small business. 

1 - Planning

Social media accounts are free and easy to set up so it's tempting to jump into the deep end and start posting. However, starting without a plan can leave you floundering down the road with no way of knowing if your efforts are furthering your business goals. Take a moment to consider the following aspects of a social media plan:

Set goals and objectives - what do you want to get out of your social media efforts? 

Audit existing accounts - if you already have existing accounts for your brand, now is the time to assess where they are at to get a better gauge of your starting point. 

Research competition - what social media channels do your competitors use? What kind of content are they producing? While you don’t want to copy what your competitors are doing, looking at what media they’re putting out can give you direction and inspiration.

Inspiration - aside from your competition, look at brands you admire and how they manage their social media. What do you love about their strategy? Is there a way you can adapt and build on it to work for your brand?

Set up a content calendar - utilizing a content calendar tool can help you stay on track with your social media goals. By keeping your content organized and scheduled, it is easier to manage your accounts and leverage your social media gains. We recommend this free social media planning calendar to get started.

2 - Choosing Platforms

Every platform is unique and one can work better for some purposes than others. While you are not limited in the number of platforms you can utilize, it is a good idea to focus on the platforms which best reach the type of consumer your brand is geared towards.

Target audience - identifying your target audience and customer is key to determining which platforms would be best for your business. This article about social media demographics is a great resource for making decisions on which platform will work best for your business.

3 - Posting Content

The point of posting content is to further your social media goals. Whether it's to attract customers or grow your brand image, the key to success is posting engaging content. 

Focus on quality content - The number of social media channels you have doesn’t matter if the content being posted is not engaging to consumers. Your content is seen as a direct reflection of your business so you want to make sure what you are posting is in alignment with your brand image. Quality content can come in many forms but some key components include:

  • Authentic - content should genuinely be of service without any attempts to manipulate its audience. Not everything has to be directly helpful, but nothing you put out should trick followers into a response or action.
  • Engaging - since you're using social media as a platform to grow your business, the content you put out should be of interest to your audience. 
  • Aligned - all content you post should be aligned with your brand's tone and business goals. 

Post consistently - This is where a content planner calendar comes in handy! Posting consistently shows your audience your reliability. It also ensures that you’re optimizing your social media reach and not missing out on any potential engagement. Account activity is very individualized to each brand, to find what works for you, reflect back on competitors and accounts you admire. How often do they post? What’s important is that you find a schedule that works for you and that you stick to it! 

Utilize different formats - Many platforms offer different formats; for example, Instagram offers feed posts (photos and videos), live streams, IGTV, reels, and stories. While not all of these formats may work for you, choose a couple to start with to maximize your social media presence. The variety of options can be overwhelming, to learn more about Instagram platform formats, check out this guide to the types of Instagram posts and how to use them to grow your business.

4 - Platform Growth

Now that you have everything set up and are producing quality content, your focus should be expanding your audience. 

Platform analytics - A great way to know what you’re doing well and what you might need to adjust is by utilizing platform performance analytics. Most platforms have built in analytics tools that will help you track your performance. 

Connect with followers - As your platform grows, more followers will be interacting with your content. Prioritize responding and acknowledging their comments. Say thank you for their support. For more, check out this article about how to utilize DMs to accomplish this goal.

Building a social media presence takes time and consistency. Stick with it and keep in mind your goals and tone during the process. Social media is a powerful tool and if used properly can be a great asset to your business!

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