Social Media Tips For Small Businesses (Part Two)

Last week we highlighted how crucial social media marketing is to small businesses. We have started with the different social media platforms that are available and discussed how to get started on each of them.

If you missed that post, be sure to check it out here

Now let's continue…

8. Let’s Get Visual

Images are so important on social media, particularly with more visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Use images as much as you can but make sure that they’re good. Good visual content attracts more than just plain text.

Now my personal advice, please try to avoid just overlaying images with fonts like Comic Sans. Just avoid Comic Sans. As I’ve mentioned before, free tools like Canva are useful where you don’t have a designer (or aren’t one), and if you need one, you can always call on us to fix you up.

9. Show Your Human Side

While you should stay true to your brand, it’s important to show your human side. People don’t like big corporations anymore, they want to see the people behind them; it gives them something else to relate to. Plus, behind-the-scenes sneak peeks can be great as content — especially if you have an office pet!

10. Perfect Your Timing

Find out when is best for you to post on the various platforms you’re on— we’ll make a post about this topic soon. You can do this based on research done by others, according to your industry, and with your own tests. For those of you too busy to post to social media at different times during the day, use a scheduling tool. There are some great free and paid ones — we’ll do a guide about them soon to help you find the best one for you.

It’s also a good idea to set aside specific time for social media — once a day or once a week — because it’s so easy to get lost scrolling through Instagram and lose all the hours in the day.

11. Use Hashtags Properly

Hashtags are fundamental to growth on most social media platforms; they’re essentially their own language!

Here are a few quick tips on how to use hashtags, taken from our Hashtags Cheat Sheet:

#Dont #hashtag #every #word.

Don’t use generic hashtags like #love or #happy — they’re not really going to do anything for your brand except draw in bots.

• Research popular hashtags in your industry.

• Consider how your hashtags look when written (avoid #susanalbumparty)

12. Use Competitions, Discounts, and Giveaways

These are great lead generation strategies, but make sure that your giveaway is relevant, or have some qualifying criteria, so you can make sure that the leads you get are useful to your business. They can also be useful at getting your existing social media audience to share more data on themselves so you can continue to market to them more effectively.

For example, a company that makes cakes could ask their audience what new flavours and design they would like to see, expanding their range with confidence that it’ll succeed, and those that share their thoughts could be in for a chance to win a cake with the new flavour for their upcoming birthday or a friend’s birthday.

Okay, now I just want some cake.

13. Harness the Power of User-Generated Content

UGC (user-generated content) is absolutely fantastic. It makes your audience feel engaged and active, saving you from creating the content yourself! User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like — content that your users (or audience) create themselves.

People trust user-generated content more than they trust marketing copy. They know what ‘standard’ marketing looks like, and it’s just not as effective as it was back in those days of Mad Men.

Here are some of the different ways you can get UGC to use on social media:

• Contests — how about running a competition where people send in their video testimonials of your product, or photos of them using it? The content you’ll have amassed will likely be more valuable to you than whatever you choose as your prize.

• Reviews — not just those that customers send you, but also those on third-party websites, like TrustPilot or TripAdvisor.

• Case studies — usually for B2B or higher value services/products, these can take some work to put together, but they can be worth it, and useful insight into how you work for your customer.

• Q&A sessions — particularly useful when you offer a range of products with different solutions, like a skincare company. Use those insights to craft your campaigns and your products. And why not post about them — remember Lidl’s advert, when they invited someone who complained about their meat to the farm where they get their produce?

• Blog posts — collaborations with bloggers can be an effective marketing strategy, but make sure that you’re working with someone who shares the same (or similar) brand values and audience.

So the next time someone tags your product in a positive Instagram post, why not add it to your feed or your story?

14. Keep CTAs Clear

A CTA (call-to-action) is essentially what you want the person reading your marketing message (be it a social media post, website page, email, or advert) to do. If you have a CTA in your social media post or on your profile(s), keep exactly what it is clear.

This goes for any CTA you have, in any marketing communications. If you have more than one CTA, they simply won’t be as effective. Your customers will (even subconsciously) be confused as to what to do next. And if they don’t know, they’ll just keep scrolling, and they’ll go elsewhere. Maybe even into the clutches of your competition…

Should they go to your website? View your video? Enter your competition? Buy your product? Make a decision, and stick to it.

15. Keep an Eye on the Competition

Now for the sneaky part of social media — spying. Check out what your competitors are doing, and how they’re conducting themselves on social media. Make sure you’re setting yourself apart from the rest, and fill in the gaps that they’re leaving wide open whilst keeping true to your brand values.

Keeping track of competitors on social media can also be useful to set targets for yourselves as a company — see what sort of figures they’re getting. And then get more. See what customers are saying about your competitors as well — you can spot unhappy customers and lure them over to you.

Just make sure to do it softly, softly, and not heavy-handed by straight-out attempting to poach them. Let them come to you. Sometimes playful rivalry can be entertaining on social media, but tread carefully — you don’t want to be seen as spiteful or jealous.

16. Invest in Paid Promotion

Paid promotion on social media can be a fantastic tool, but it can also be a waste of money. You need to know what you want to achieve (your goal), be it more followers (brand awareness), more purchases (or conversions), customer feedback, or survey responses… the list goes on.

Your goal should be SMART:

• Specific — e.g. 500 new followers

• Measurable — e.g. you can measure the number of new followers

• Achievable — e.g. 500 new followers from a post (or a campaign series of posts) must be achievable

• Relevant — e.g. don’t just aim to get followers for the sake of it. There has to be a reason for you needing those 500 new followers. And those followers must be relevant to your brand in one way or another, otherwise, they’re worthless.

• Timely — e.g. 500 new followers in seven days. You can also choose your audience on most forms of social media advertising. This ensures that every penny (or cent) you put into the ad campaign is well spent. Targeted advertising is incredibly useful.

Here are some types of advertising that you can consider:

• Video — video content performs better than text or image content, in general. The only downside is the larger comparative cost, but it can be worth it.

• Quizzes — quizzes can be great, as they get your audience engaged, and they can provide more data for you to use (responsibly, of course).

• Stories — these are on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and are quick-fire, condensed adverts. They’re great when you have a short, sharp message you want to get across.

• Image carousels — a series of images that your audience scrolls through, particularly useful when showcasing a range of products, or a linear story.

• Message/messenger ads — I personally don’t like these, even as a marketer, I find them a bit too invasive. But they can be useful in recapturing customers that have dropped off, or abandoned their cart. Definitely not recommended as a first interaction with the customer.

• Testimonials — these are great in theory, but audiences are becoming more sceptical of this sort of advertising, due to the boom in influencers. Be genuine, and testimonials will work wonders.

• Polls — people love to share their opinion, even on seemingly trivial topics. You can use them to your advantage and conduct some market research to see what your audience really thinks.

• Lead capture form — ideal for products or services that have a longer-tail conversion — usually products that are worth more money. You just have to give them a good reason to give you their valuable details.

17. Keep Track of Metrics

Make sure you set yourself SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) goals, and record the metrics. You won’t know what success on social media is until you set yourself goals… and achieve them.

Keep up-to-date with your goals and your metrics, so you can analyse what works for you, and what doesn’t, and use those metrics to test different types of content.

18. Have Fun!

There’s no denying that social media is a hefty beast, with more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing, but ultimately, social media is fun, so enjoy it!

Be sure to implement these strategies and watch your business grow both online and offline as the case may be.

Which of these tips resonate with you and you feel will have more impact on your business when implemented correctly? Let me know in the comment section.

If you find this useful don’t forget to share, remember, sharing is caring.