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How to Use Social Media for Small Business: 11 Simple Tips

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Social Media

In the grand scheme of things, social media is only in its infancy – and yet, it’s virtually impossible to remember what marketing was like before it existed. For most of us, scrolling our social media feeds is a staple of our daily routines, something that often accompanies our morning coffee, our lunch break, and even our bedtime.

For small business owners, social media isn’t just a useful medium for marketing; it’s a necessity for growth and sustainable success. If you own your own business, the odds are pretty good that you’ve invested a fair amount of time into searching for the best social media marketing tips. And when you consider that the average person has accounts on nine or more social media networks, that’s definitely time well-spent.

Social Media: A Modern Marketing Must-Have

The top five social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, in that order) rack up nearly 10 billion monthly active users between them. Technically, that’s 10 billion opportunities for brands to reach online users with tailored and strategic marketing efforts – you won’t find many ad options that can compete with that!

VDS-Header-Image-1280×530-social-iconsSocial media for business marketing can offer you the ability to:

  • Expand brand awareness
  • Solidify your online presence
  • Develop and nurture authentic relationships with customers
  • Build customer trust
  • Show that your brand is an expert in your industry
  • Drive traffic to your website and brick-and-mortar location
  • Make sales within some social media platforms

But when it comes down to actually planning and executing a social media strategy, many small business owners find themselves feeling overwhelmed. From choosing the best social networking sites for advertising to evaluating the success of your efforts, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle – but we’re here to help you put it all together.

11 Social Media Tips for Small Business Owners

At V Digital Services, we make it our business to know how to market on social media (literally). We’ve worked with a diverse range of clients to set up a strong social media presence, connect with their target audience, and deliver engaging and effective content that supports business goals.

In our experience, you aren’t alone in feeling intimidated by the prospect of marketing your small business on social media. It can be a complicated task, which is why so many business owners ultimately decide to turn it over to our team of social media strategists.

But you don’t necessarily have to wait for us to get started – because if you want to try social media for your business, there are some simple steps you can take right now. We’ve rounded up our top small business social media tips, giving you a set of go-to guidelines to set your brand up for social success.

1. Create a plan.

Even though you might be tempted to sign your business up for a bunch of social media accounts right away, hit pause for just a moment.

VDS-Header-Image-1280×530-social-media-planMost of us have a certain level of comfort with social media, especially because it’s a constant presence in our daily lives. It’s free and easy to figure out how to make a Facebook page for a brand, launch a business account on Instagram, or set up an account for your business on TikTok. However, like most strategic business moves, social media marketing is most successful when it starts with a plan.

Even though social media costs nothing in terms of dollars and cents, you’re still investing your time and energy. So, why not make sure that you’re making an informed approach and the right decisions along the way?

Step back and create a social media marketing plan first, making sure that you:

  • Set clear, measurable goals and objectives
  • Check out your competition
  • Do a social media audit on any existing pages
  • Look for inspiration from a variety of businesses
  • Develop a social media content calendar

2. Choose the platforms that are best suited for your brand.

There are not necessarily certain options that qualify as the best social media platforms for marketing. Rather, it’s more about finding the right fit for your business and your target audience. One of the primary purposes of marketing on social media is to meet your audience where they spend the bulk of their time. So, you’re going to need to figure out which platforms are hosting your ideal customers.

You can find various online sources that break down social media platform usage by age group, so you can see exactly where each generation logs on every day. Keep in mind that you aren’t limited to just one or two social media platforms, so selecting certain sites to serve specific purposes could be the best route. For example, you might decide that Facebook is the right environment for generating leads and building up your audience, while Twitter is ideal for customer service.

3. Get to know your target audience.

Easily one of the biggest benefits of social media marketing is the extent to which you can zero in on a micro-targeted audience. Forget sending out sweeping advertisements to an overgeneralized group of users; social media ads can be tailored according to a multitude of factors.

But before you can put this into practice, you’ll need to learn and understand exactly who your target audience is. First, collect data that paints a picture of current customers. Then, use social media analytics to get a closer look at your online audience. Together, these two sources can help you better understand who your brand is interacting with and who is making purchases from your business online.

The next step is to develop buyer personas. Armed with a detailed vision of your target customer, you’ll be far better equipped to connect with your audience.

4. Grow your audience.

You know who’s in your social media audience, and now it’s time to figure out how to reach more people to be a part of it. Refining this part of your strategy largely depends on your business, goals, and the specific scenario you’re currently in. The key is pinpointing what worked for the people currently in your audience of followers, then replicating those measures to connect with more people just like them.

VDS-Header-Image-1280×530-grow-social-audienceSocial media is also a tool to expand the audience for your actual business, not just your social pages. As you attract new followers, shares, and reposts, there’s the potential to welcome those individuals into your brick-and-mortar business and make actual sales.

5. Develop genuine relationships.

Another one of the unique advantages of social media marketing is the way in which it sets the stage for one-on-one interactions with your audience. Engaging with customers and followers online makes it possible to develop a stronger relationship over an extended period, which then helps customer loyalty flourish.

But it’s not just already-existing followers that you can be connecting with. Social media is also one of the most effective ways to develop your brand, reputation, and online presence.

Consistent, high-quality interactions with users (whether it occurs against the backdrop of an ad or organic content) encourages a loyal following and solidifies trust in your business. These factors, in turn, can help you gain free online exposure via likes, shares, comments, and more. Customer retention and satisfaction go up, supporting ongoing sales and steady growth.

Some ideas for relationship-building for brands on social media include:

  • Setting up a community (for example, a Facebook Group) of like-minded followers
  • Networking with other business owners, influencers, and thought leaders within your industry
  • Giving followers shout outs (“mentions”) in your social media content, using branded hashtags, submission opportunities, and contests to collect user-generated material
  • Make use of the built-in interactive tools, such as polls on Instagram Stories or Twitter

6. Be aware of trends.

In the world of social media, you never really know when something is going to go viral. And even though it’s wise to stay on top of social media trends, we definitely aren’t suggesting that you jump on every bandwagon that passes by (because, frankly, that’s impossible anyway).

The key is to be aware of the latest trends in social media so that you have a good idea of what people want and expect from their social feeds on any given day. Then, you can adapt your content to be more relevant while still keeping it as evergreen as possible.

This practice is often referred to as “social listening,” which is crucial for getting information about your current audience and potential future followers. How can you keep them interested if you aren’t even sure what’s catching their eye at the moment?

7. Change up your formats.

Avoid getting overly formulaic in your social media posting because your users are likely to become bored with your brand very quickly – or worse, they’ll suspect inauthenticity on your part. It can be as simple as switching up your posting format every so often. For example, if still images are your go-to posting material, experiment with a video or GIF instead. Don’t hesitate to experiment with the various formats and mediums that exist within each social platform.

With this approach, you can learn what formats are best for specific types of content, as well as the formats that are the most successful on a specific platform. Additionally, diversity of content can earn you the favor of the ever-mysterious algorithm on Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites.

Regardless of the format, every post should be inclusive and accessible. Captioning your videos and including alt text with photos is a must and generally simple to do.

8. Remember that quality always trumps quantity.

You actually don’t need to sign up for as many social sites as possible because “more” doesn’t always equal “better.” Rather than maintaining a minimal presence on every popular social network, it’s much more effective to produce high-quality, share-worthy content on just a few core channels.

VDS-Header-Image-1280×530-quality-contentOne of the defining characteristics of high-quality content for social media is that it provides a certain value to the audience. If your posts focus entirely on selling your products, taking a sales pitch tone, and pushing “Buy Now” links, people won’t hesitate to unfollow you. And their “unfollow” would be justified because what are you really even giving them? Other than a feed spammed by your ad-focused posts, not much.

Try prioritizing one or two social media channels for content creation so you have the freedom to focus on quality above all. Over time, you can continue to build out your marketing strategy.

9. Put the right tools to good use.

You might be wondering: if social media for a small business gets so complicated, how are so many of the world’s mega-corporations managing to do it all? Beyond hiring professionals to manage their social media accounts, many of these incredibly successful brands relied on practical tools. You can streamline your work on social media marketing while still sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat.

Some of our favorite social media marketing tools include:

  • Tools and/or services for social media management
  • Analytics data for measuring performance
  • Photo editing tools and graphic creators

10. Take advantage of automation features to allow more time for quality engagement.

Remember when we mentioned setting up a social media content calendar? Once you have it drafted, it will be time to actually implement it. There are scheduling tools that give you the ability to schedule future content for automatic posting so that you can line up several days’ worth of posts at a time.

VDS-Header-Image-1280×530-social-automationOnce you get into a good routine, features like these make it easier to plan for social media “work time.” So, rather than trying to tackle various to-dos at random, you can automate at least some of the processes to free up your time.

Other automation tools, such as chatbots for customer service, can further relieve the weight of social media on your shoulders.

11. Track your performance and make smart improvements.

You can’t expect to send your social strategy out into the big, wide world and then turn your back on it. How will you know what’s working and what’s not?

Depending on your specific preferences and needs, there are many different tracking tools for social media marketing. You can track the metrics that matter to you, so you can see exactly how your strategy is performing.

Of course, there’s no point in having all that data if you never actually use it. Your social media marketing data, in combination with tools like A/B testing, can make it easier to spot opportunities for improvement. As you learn which strategies are landing most effectively on your target audience, you can continuously improve your tactics.

Make Social Media a Marketing Asset for Your Small Business

With these social media marketing tips, you can get a head start on a practical plan for your next steps. And then, our social media strategy team can step in and help you finalize, implement, and track your efforts for the best possible results.

VDS-Header-Image-1280×530-social-teamV Digital Services provides social media marketing for small businesses across all industries, demystifying topics like Facebook Ads, video advertising, influencer collaborations, and more. We’ll collaborate with you to develop a smart strategy that aligns with your needs and goals, and then our social media experts will implement the plan to perfection. And since we value transparency, you’ll always know exactly where your brand stands: regular reporting and open communication keeps you informed at every stage.

Mastering social media can make a world of difference for your small business, especially when you want to find the right customers at the right time. Whether you’re starting a strategy from scratch or just need to make a few targeted tweaks, V Digital Services has a dedicated, knowledgeable social media team to help you.

Learn how to see measurable results with less expense, time, and effort when you contact us today!

Image Credits: TarikVision/Shutterstock