People are spending more and more time on social media, whether it is keeping up with friends and family on Facebook, checking out the latest fashion and travel ideas on Instagram, or discussing the news and most recent TV shows on Twitter. Instant access to information can be incredibly useful to find new ideas, research products and services and get recommendations from friends. Small businesses can also reap the benefits of our "always on" world by keeping prospective customers up to date with the latest offers and news.
Although your customers are likely using social media on a regular basis, the challenge is how to attract these users to follow your social media accounts, what kind of content to post and how to find enough time for regular updates. A few simple steps can help you get the best out of social media and spend your time efficiently.
Heartsleeve use Instagram to showcase their T-shirt designs and the causes they support
1. Choose the Right Platform for Your Audience
The first step with any form of marketing is to think about your audience. Consider the type of person you are trying to attract, their age, interests and where they live. These factors will influence what you post and which social media channels might be the most appropriate for your business. You don't have to be on every single social media site, and it is often best to focus on one or two platforms, especially if you have limited time. Check out the facts and figures for the different social media providers.
Explore a few social media platforms to get an idea if people are talking about your products and if it seems like the right space for your target audience. A fashion business that mainly serves younger customers might look to Instagram, which is primarily a visual social media platform with a younger demographic. A family restaurant might be attracted to the popularity of Facebook amongst a wide range of people. If your service is aimed at other businesses, then LinkedIn might be the right place for your message. Once you get a feel for the type of communities and conversations happening on the top social media channels, it will help you decide the right ones for your business.
Unique Art Hawaii share their completed design projects on Facebook
2. Refine Your Content
The next step is to think about the type of posts you will make on social media. Consider your audience again. What type of content will appeal to them? Variety is critical as well as keeping to a regular schedule. You can identify content themes that you can refer back to for inspiration. These could include news, offers, a look behind the scenes of your business, photos and videos of your products or your thoughts about industry trends.
Look at similar businesses for ideas and review their feedback in the form of likes and comments to see what content gets the best response from customers. As you get better at shaping your content towards your audience and using their feedback, this will help to build your following with the right people.
3. Use a Social Media Planner
Planning is key to getting the most out of social media. You can use a social media planner to map out what you are going to post and when. A schedule, or an editorial calendar, can help you prepare and promote your upcoming events, product and industry news. Use it to make the most of days holidays, like Halloween or Valentine's Day, if they are relevant to your business.
Spend your time efficiently on social media by planning, but also take part in the conversation by responding to customers. Think about your audience when you are posting and use their reactions to help shape your strategy in the future, and you will build a solid following for your business.
As part of the Pre-Launch Membership, a social media planner is included in the step-by-step Business Starter Guide.
Ready to create your social media strategy? Get guidance on common hurdles with the Pre-Launch Membership: