This article is a guest post by Erin Sendor, a Pursuit Consulting Corps member and digital marketing strategist at Newbird.
Social media can be a huge win for your small business. With its communicative nature, strong visual appeal, and the ability to generate excitement, having a social media presence for your business is vital in today’s digital world. Social media’s accessibility, timeliness and cost-effectiveness makes it a great place to add value to your business. You can share real-time updates and engaging content to grow your business and reach your target audience.
Finding opportunities to leverage social media for your small business can boost your marketing strategy. Use these four social media best practices for small businesses to reach new customers for your business and build brand awareness.
Best Practice #1: Create a social media & content strategy
As with any other business-related effort, it’s important for you to have a solid strategy in place.
While some social media posts may be more on-the-fly, creating a social media and content strategy will assist with long-term growth and success. This will offer guidance to you and your team to maintain a consistent look and tone that aligns with your business.
For example, on Instagram, consider how the content will look in the Instagram grid. The Instagram page of your business offers a quick snapshot to customers, and it’s effectively a landing page for your brand.
A strong social media strategy does not necessarily mean jumping on every single platform. As more platforms arise, it’s important to consider where you’ll invest your time, energy and resources.
Choose top social media tools and platforms that make sense for your business, with consideration for your main target audience. For example, there is no reason to be on Instagram if your business doesn’t have any photography or relevant content.
In addition to your organic social media presence, you can incorporate a paid social media strategy for expanded reach. Each platform will have resources to guide you, or you can hire a digital marketing agency to help run targeted advertisements on behalf of your business.
Maintain a consistent schedule with posting, whether that means posting every day, or two to three times a week. To save time, consider using these social media posting and scheduling tools to schedule multiple posts ahead of time.
Most businesses have an element of seasonality. Create a calendar of relevant holidays, events and other key moments for your business, so you can strategize and be prepared ahead of time to maximize the moment.
Get creative and create your own moment, such as with a weekly or monthly series, so that your followers can look forward to consistent updates from your business.
Best Practice #2: Use communication to support your customers
Communication is key, and keeping your customers informed is more crucial than ever. With additional guidelines due to COVID-19, be sure to share relevant CDC COVID-19 workplaces and businesses updates on how customers can safely support your business.
The real-time nature and shareability of social media creates an ideal place to keep your customers informed. Be sure to make relevant announcements, such as updated hours, in a timely manner. Your customers will appreciate being able to easily find information about your business online!
If your business hours, operating guidelines, and the goods and services you provide are constantly changing, share the updates on social media. Communicate these changes as clearly and swiftly as possible to your customers! Make it clear how customers can continue to support your small business.
Best Practice #3: Create high-quality content
Every piece of content you post, from an Instagram story to a branded video, is representative of your brand. High-quality content builds trust and a better reputation as a business. Be sure to stay away from low-resolution content, and anything that does not represent your brand and business effectively.
Set aside time to create a large amount of content, such as a styled photoshoot. This will save time and help maintain a cohesive style.
Stuck in a rut with content ideas for your small business?
Restaurants and any businesses with a focus on food or beverages have it easy, as customers are always craving content featuring food and drinks as well as the latest specials and holiday-related offerings.
For retail and product-based businesses, you can showcase new products, promotional offers and holiday and seasonal offerings.
Service-based businesses may have a more difficult time with content creation, depending on the industry. For some businesses, social media may serve as more of an informative and educational platform.
Also, if your business is hiring, keep your platforms in mind for sharing job postings.
Research and take note of how other businesses are posting, especially similar businesses in other cities and markets.
User-generated content (UGC) is a popular type of content that showcases your real-life customers and how they interact with your brand. According to Later, “55% of consumers trust user-generated content over any other form of marketing, making it a surefire way to boost your sales and improve brand loyalty.”
As a small business, don’t be afraid to experiment with a newer feature or trend to see if it works for you. For example, try live-streaming to show off new products in-store, or try a newer platform, such as TikTok.
When it comes to content, share what makes your business unique. Whether it’s the people, the products, or a mix of both, showcase what sets your business apart.
Best Practice #4: Establish connection across all of your social platforms
There are different aspects of connection that are important on social media: connecting the pieces of your brand on social media and connecting with your audience through social media.
Does your social media presence connect with your business? Ensure your strategy aligns across all of your social media platforms, as well as other areas of your overall marketing and business.
Social media is also a place for community. Does your social media presence connect with your target audience? People are looking for authenticity and a human connection. Keep in mind that social media platforms are essentially digital gathering places made up of various online communities, grouped by interests, location and hashtags.
Through your brand’s personality, share content that shows a glimpse of the human- side of your business and what makes your business special. For location-specific businesses, emphasize and share what relates to your community.
Through appropriate strategy, communication, content, and connection, social media will delight your customers and attracts new ones as well. These four social media best practices for small businesses are great first steps to increase your brand awareness, add value to your business and gain new customers.