Own a small business? Grab a coffee and read on for 7 simple social media marketing tips you can start using immediately.
First off, here’s a top tip for entrepreneurs: don’t ignore social media marketing if you own a small business.
As much as you’d want to, neglecting social media marketing will be to the detriment of your growing enterprise.
For starters, one in four people has a Facebook account and most of them scroll at least once a day. Hundreds of millions are also signed up to Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter and they check constantly. We all are! We don’t want to miss anything!
Of course, there are myriad ways to market your business. Leafleting and paid advertising costs money that you may not necessarily have as a fledgeling business owner. They’re also quite limiting in terms of audience reach.
As a small business owner, you may think you’re too, well, small for this massive global market. But with some knowledge, tricks and know-how, you can easily make a place for yourself, whether that’s regionally, nationally or internationally.
What IS social media marketing?
Simply, it’s the creation of unique content that is tailored to your chosen platform in an attempt to drive user engagement. What you put out on Facebook is not necessarily suitable for LinkedIn.
The key to success is having a strong brand identity that clearly expresses your values and ethos. Use a variety of content, know your audience and keep up with trends. There’s a lot of online chatter about complicated algorithms that control who sees what content but we’re not here to get into the intricacies of how social media giants operate.
So, you’ve created your business social media accounts. What next?
Let’s start small with 7 simple social media marketing tips focusing on the main social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. We don’t want to make this complicated: do you?
1. Start with a Strong Brand
Branding is crucial to shaping a unique identity that will forge a connection with potential customers. It’s what will make you stand out from the competition.
In addition to the all-important logo and colour palette that you’ll use in your website and other marketing materials (including social media, obviously), you’ll need to establish a consistent tone of voice across your brand that users will quickly come to recognise.
People buy from people, because no one wants to be inundated with dull social media posts full of dry product information in the form of long lists of features.
We purchase when we can relate to the sellers. And the best way to do this is in the form of stories (more on those later). Combine your branding with a mix of video clips, written copy and website links and you’re on the way to building a relationship with your customers. Ensure your branding is consistent across all of your chosen platforms, even if the actual content in each one is different.
2. Choose your Platforms Wisely
It’s tempting to throw everything at the wall to see what sticks but posting on every social media platform will only lead to social media fatigue and a lot of confused browsers.
What platforms will work well for your business? Consider the following:
B2B (Business to Business)
If you primarily sell to other businesses then LinkedIn should be your number one platform of choice. Here, you’ll find hundreds of thousands of businesses, many of whom are in your area that you can engage with and market your services to. Bear in mind that the language used on LinkedIn is very different to that of other platforms. It’s more formal and not so keen on emojis. Try looking up some accounts within your field for a snapshot.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are also valid B2B choices but research who uses each platform before you commit time to creating social media campaigns. Facebook has some excellent small business groups you can engage with. Instagram is very image-focused so if you’re selling a service or product that’s not that photogenic or geared towards people aged 18-34 then consider other channels. Twitter is great for short bursts of news and the more you post on it the more engagement you will get. BUT bear in mind that it’s not that business-focused.
B2C (Business to Consumer)
Predictably, Facebook and Instagram are your hero platforms if you’re selling a product/service to the general public. Instagram is perfect if your product/service is very visual. Your brand values and tone of voice will influence when and how you post so put in some time to researching the best days and times to post.
Note that Facebook is popular across the board but more so with the 25-34 age group. If your product is aimed towards teens then consider Snapchat or Tik Tok marketing.
3. Fit the Content to the Platform
Here’s a quick run through of the three main social media platforms and the content most ideally suited to each of them. This information should help you create a simple social media marketing strategy that will optimise your content.
Before we delve in it’s worth noting a few things about organic content and adverts. Unfortunately, organic content (content the poster puts out themselves to grow their following) is no longer guaranteed the reach it once enjoyed. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for fun, compelling content that entertains and engages but the onus is now on ads. Social media platforms need to make money, thus we’re seeing a drop in the visibility of organic content because Facebook (and the rest) wants us to spend money on ads. Choose the best platform to spend your hard-earned money on.
How Your Organic/Paid Facebook Content Should Look
These generate the most reach and user engagement as they draw the eye. Why? They encourage people to watch for longer than they would generally read the average written post. Depending on your business you could consider the following themes:
- ‘a day in the life of our business’ clip
- ‘an interview with a member of our team’ clip
- ‘how it’s made / how-to’ clip
- ‘general daily update’ clip
- ‘funny/entertaining’ clip. Sometimes it’s useful to veer away from the hard sell and have some fun!
If you have a great offer to share with your customers then put it into a short and snappy post with a clear call to action. What’s a call to action? It’s an instruction to buy (or another command) accompanied by a button or link to help the user reach the next stage of the purchasing process. There’s no point wasting all of those carefully considered, entertaining words if you’re not going to get something out of it! On the flip side, not every post has to be a hard sell.
By creating regular blog posts you can entertain, inform and encourage people to purchase. Once posted onto your website, link the blog post URL in a Facebook post to direct people to your site and your products. Remember, the bulk of social media is a means to an end: a purchase. Try to lead people to your website/e-commerce site as much as you can by posting links to your blog posts. This advice also applies to other platforms.
Remember, all of the above content can go out as organic content or in the form of a paid ad. What you should think about is what kind of content is going to give you the best return on your investment. Having a clear call to action is the best advice we can give here, regardless of the nature of your paid advert.
Think about using a handful of carefully thought-out hashtags. They will make your post searchable for those interested in the topic and will increase engagement without the need for a paid ad. We’re certainly not in Instagram/Twitter territory here in terms of importance but posting a few won’t do you any harm at all and they’ll help you monitor post success.
How Your Organic/Paid LinkedIn Content Should Look
Company news and milestones with an image. This is your opportunity to put your business in the spotlight. Using professional language, you can relay recent successes by adding carefully considered hashtags. Including a photo or video will ramp up engagement, so remember to capture big moments and consider keeping a stock of photos, ideally taken by a professional, for posts like this.
Job/career opportunities – LinkedIn is popular with job seekers so before you post any career opportunities you’ll want to put your best foot forward by ensuring your newsfeed reflects your business work culture. Include information you feel a potential new staff member would want to know before applying.
How Your Organic/Paid Instagram Content Should Look
Instagram is a very visual site. It’s best suited to businesses that have a mountain of images. High resolution is the name of the game. And of course, you have your pick of stunning filters and effects if your business lends itself to this medium.
If you’re seeking to engage the younger market then work on putting out quality, aesthetically pleasing posts that contain unique, organic content. Instagram is driven by stories, not the hard sell. Pull together some excellent product photos and behind-the-scenes shots to support entertaining written content (emojis are good here!) and you’ll be halfway there. Ask your followers to submit their own images based on their experiences with your business. This will boost authenticity and help you connect with your ‘fan base’.
The trick is to post consistently, with your branding the golden thread that runs throughout. You’ll want your ‘grid’ to really sing and not look too samey. One last thing: use appropriate hashtags for each post. We know it’s tempting to copy and paste the same thirty hashtags but try not to!
Because you can’t embed web links within posts you must make sure your BIO includes an attention-grabbing profile picture (most likely your logo), your business strapline/mission statement and an up to date website link. If you ever want to share a different link simply change the link in your BIO and let your followers know about it in your post.
4. Save Time by Repurposing Content
No one has time to create brand new content every time they post on social media, especially when each platform demands a specific type of content. The simple solution is repurposing!
If you post regular blogs on your website, isolate particularly juicy/informative snippets and re-purpose for short and snappy social media posts.
Put a number of short niche posts together to form a longer social media post. By doing so you’re more likely to rank higher in a Google search.
Have a collection of amazing photos you’ve already used? Don’t worry! Take them, add a filter, a quote or some relevant graphics and you’ve got a brand new image ready to wow.
Make use of throwback posts. If a two-year-old post was popular at the time put it back out there on its anniversary!
5. Encourage Brand Interaction with Video Clips and Live Streaming
Don’t run away, you can do this!
Live streaming rocketed in popularity over lockdown. It gave socially isolated people the opportunity to connect in real-time with their favourite people and brands. Be assured that this trend will continue.
You don’t have to produce studio-quality clips to impress! Video is much more likely than photos to catch the attention of the average browser. Maybe you could stream a live tutorial or a talk with a client? This should be easy as you’re the expert in your field and so will have lots of shares! Similarly, a pre-recorded clip might not attract live commenting but it can still drive engagement.
6. Remember to Monitor Your Social Media Performance
Social media marketing can be fun. It’s a skill to create compelling content that entertains, informs and sells. Then you’ve got the graphics to pull together and that’s a whole other level of fun! (Top tip: Canva is a great online graphic design software that offers a free beginners package).
However, social media marketing can be an afterthought for small businesses. Why? Lots of business owners are forced to wear multiple hats during the day to day running of their enterprise; marketing manager being one of them. As a result, social media falls way down the list of priorities. They know it’s important but they’re either too busy with operations. Or, they feel they don’t have the skills to create a solid social media marketing strategy.
Whether you do your own social media marketing or you have help you must keep a close eye on how your posts perform.
Check your platforms daily/weekly
This is pretty simple, it’s just a question of slotting in a few minutes each week to check your post engagement and performance.
- Respond to comments and questions by answering each outright and/or ‘liking/loving’ each post
- Check your inbox – try not to leave inbox messages waiting for more than a day or two
- Depending on the platform check how each post is performing – monitor the reach and engagement. Reach is the number of unique people who viewed your post. Engagement is every click, like, comment and share your post generates.
- Facebook lnsights offers a decent visual representation of how each post is faring. You’ll start to see patterns – for example, posts that go out first thing in the morning are more popular than those that go out after 6.00 pm. Video clips are gaining more traction than image-only posts. These useful insights will help you plan a more impactful social media marketing strategy.
Instagram Insights offers a similar service and is easily accessible.
- To locate Linkedin post or article analytics, click the ‘Me’ icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage, then under ‘Manage’, click Posts & Activity.
- Locate the specific post or article, click the Analytics icon (it looks like a graph) below your post or article. This will let you know the job role and rough location of those who have viewed your post.
7. Shake Things up Once in a While.
When you find something that works it can be tempting to stick to it for the duration. However, social media platforms and users are a fickle bunch.
Your followers like shiny things and if your posts begin to look a bit samey they’re more likely to scroll past.
So, think about reworking your branding from time to time. There’s no need to reinvent your logo and colour palette! Just mix things up a little. Experiment with template layouts and mediums. If you’ve stuck to photo images for months, throw in a few video clips or set up a live streaming event.
If you really want to change things, get another member of your team to take up the social media marketing mantle for a few weeks. They might be bursting with fresh, interesting ideas and have a completely different artistic bent to you.
Alternatively, if you want to offload social media marketing altogether, then we’d be delighted to help. Check out our services here.
We hope this foray into the magical world of social media marketing has offered some food for thought.
Remember, work at your own pace, do some research and have fun!
And if you’re ready to take your social media marketing to the next level, our social media marketing specialists are here to help.