There are an estimated 45 million active social media users in the UK alone - that’s a staggering 67% of the British population! You might only be using social media for personal use, but if you aren’t leveraging it for your small business, you could be missing a big opportunity.
Whether you’re new to social media or a proud early adopter, and regardless of your business type, there are countless reasons to embrace social media as a tool to help you achieve your business objectives.
Set your goals to find the right platforms
Before jumping in, make sure you establish your goals: decide who you want to reach on social media and what you want to achieve. You might be keen to build brand awareness, drive sales, attract new customers, offer customer support or all of the above!
Social media takes time and effort, so it’s important to not try to do it all. It’s better to pick one or two social platforms to begin with and do them well - so once you’ve established your objectives, you should choose the relevant social media platform(s) for your business. Explore each one to see which might be the best fit and where you’ll reach the most relevant target audience.
Be your (business) self
As you implement your new or refreshed social media plan, remember that you’re in control of setting the tone of your social media profiles and how they represent your business. Social media networks offer you the opportunity to showcase your business’s personality and voice on a global platform with highly engaged consumers. Remember to communicate in a way you would in person with existing and potential customers: be responsive, engaging, and true to your business self!
Sharing is about quality, not quantity
According to research conducted by the social media management platform Hootsuite in 2018, 78% of people said that posts made by the businesses they followed had an impact on their decisions. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure you share relevant social media content with your followers, be intentional with the content you post and always maintain quality over quantity. It’s important to stay active, but don’t resort to posting on social media for the sake of it. The content you share should always add value to your followers in some way, whether it’s informative, helpful or entertaining.
Metrics are the best way to assess how engaging your content is. If you don’t use a third-party social media management tool, don’t worry, all social platforms give you stats on how your content is performing through their analytics dashboards for businesses, such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics. You can use these dashboards to assess which posts are performing well and to see what works and what doesn’t. From there you can optimise your social media tactics to make informed, data-driven decisions about your social media content.
Be visually engaging
Social media users are inundated with information and content on a daily basis, so it’s important to share visually engaging content whenever you can as it helps to capture the attention of users. For example, video views on Facebook alone increased by a staggering 258% between 2016 and 2017 and on Twitter, research shows that a video tweet is 10 times more likely to be retweeted than other content formats. Consider what video materials you can create or share that would both resonate with your audience and work well for your business.
Tap into relevant patterns and trends
Whether you’re just getting started or your social media plan is in full swing, keep an eye on what your competitors - especially top performers - are doing on social media. Are they sharing videos, blog posts, photographs or third party content? Are there certain styles of posts that are driving higher engagement than others? You can then identify opportunities and experiment with how you can apply them to your own business.
Trending hashtags are also a huge opportunity for businesses on social media channels, especially Twitter. For inspiration, look at competitors, businesses you admire, relevant hashtags, holidays, or even Days of the Year for some inspiration.
Select opportunities that are relevant to your audience and look out for new trends as they appear, but be careful before you jump on a hashtag bandwagon! One of the most common missteps for businesses is to attempt to make a connection where there isn’t one (remember: always be intentional with what you share!).
Being consistent and engaging really is key
Regardless of your wider goals, you should want to engage with your audience to build a positive presence for your brand - at the end of the day it’s called social media! Consider setting 10 minutes aside each working day to check in on your profiles, respond to any comments or tweets and see what’s happening in the wider world.
As a small business owner, you’re bound to be busy - but don’t be tempted to deprioritize social media. To see positive results, you need to be dedicated, consistent and patient, so stick with it!.
Spread the word (especially IRL)
Growing your following on social media is the greatest challenge when you’re just getting started, so it’s worth doing everything you can on and offline to encourage growth. Consider adding linked logos to the header or footer of your website and including social sharing buttons on any website content you’d like to encourage visitors to share.
Another quick tip is to let your customers and colleagues know you’re on social media and encourage them to follow you. This might mean mentioning it face-to-face when meeting with clients or suppliers, connecting with people you meet at events, adding links to your profiles in your email signature, and including them on business cards.
Social media can be a rewarding and exciting way to engage with others, build awareness and successfully market your business. Now it’s time to try out these actionable tactics to introduce or optimize your business on social media!
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