Effective Social Media Practices for Small Businesses
When it comes to social media, there are several effective practices your small business should consider. Check out this recap of a recent COSE WebEd Series webinar for tips and tricks to maximizing engagement on your social channels and scroll to the bottom for the full presentation.
Contrary to popular belief, social media in and of itself is not a strategy. It’s a tactic that needs to be folded into your existing marketing strategy.
During the most recent episode of the COSE WebEd Webinar Series, Kasey Crabtree, president of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the American Marketing Association, highlighted that there’s been a jump in social media use by adults from just 20% to close to 70%, led by Facebook, with Instagram a close second. With that in mind, Crabtree laid out some tips businesses could employ to maximize their social media ROI.
Authenticity is a key factor when it comes to social media. One of the reasons social media was so popular early on was that people were draw to the sense of authenticity. Businesses then started to move in on social media and capitalize on that desire for authenticity.
When it comes to Gen Xers (ages 35 to 54), 85% want to know that the brands they support are authentic—and they know when you’re being real and when you are not. If you’re a business owner, nobody is going to have the same passion about your business as you do. When you bring that passion to your social media personality, it can come across as being truly genuine. If you’re unable to do that yourself then Crabtree suggests that you partner with someone who can help you get that passion into words or photos on your social platforms.
There are two main ways to go about increasing the authenticity and passion in your social personality.
Authenticity Tip No. 1: Showcase happy customers. Sometimes this comes naturally just by having a good product or service that satisfied customers are willing to post about—and you can then share those testimonials with your larger audience. Sometimes it might require putting the idea out there or directly asking a happy customer to participate. So find your passionate customers and showcase their posts, and your audience is sure to love the passion you exude.
Authenticity Tip No. 2: Put your genuine feelings on display. Your genuine feelings can touch other people—especially when accompanied by a proper visual at the right time. Sometimes you have to take off that business façade and allow yourself to be a little vulnerable. If you can let that part of what you put out there, then people will respond.
Stay mindful of best practices
When it comes to posting, Crabtree indicates that, in addition to being authentic, there are five other best practices you should consider.
Best Practice Tip No. 1: Be brief. These days, most people are looking at stuff on their mobile devices. Shorter posts are more likely to keep your audience engaged, and will also hopefully require less effort, time and editing.
Best Practice Tip No. 2: Be quick. Get to your point early in the post—because, again, everyone is busy and flying through everything.
Best Practice Tip No. 3: Encourage engagement. Ask questions to get people involved. What do you think? Which do you prefer?
Best Practice Tip No. 4: Give a call to action. Make sure it’s something relevant to your product, but give your audience a directive that achieves your goal. Don’t be too sales-y but make it clear what you want people to do—go to your website, sign up for an event or register to join.
Best Practice Tip No. 5: Increase impressions. Always make sure to tag a company or another person, or use a hashtag when possible. This will naturally help increase how many people view your post.
Match your voice to the channel
Not all social media platforms have the same feel and characteristics. So your personality on that platform should correspond appropriately. Here’s a breakdown of each one and how you can best utilize them to accomplish your goals.
Facebook: Probably the social tool you’re most familiar with, Facebook is seen as the friendliest, most community-oriented platform. Facebook presents the opportunity for the longest posts and is the best option for posting videos. With Facebook, it is important to use some sort of visual with each post. If you are just using text, your post will have little opportunity for viewing. Also, your important posts will rarely be seen if you aren’t putting money behind them. A professional should be able to help you decide how to best use money to boost your posts.
LinkedIn: Known as the professional platform, LinkedIn is the best place for networking and posting or looking for job opportunities. You can show some personality but depending on your profession, people might expect you to be more businesslike.
Twitter: If you haven’t tried Twitter before, Crabtree advises doing a practice run with a fun, safe name and follow people and observe how to get a feel for how it works. Be smart and avoid talking politics, religion and sex unless those topics are your niche. People love talking about sports, pets and food so those are all safe topics.
Instagram: This is a photo-based platform and people must follow you for you to be consistently seen. With Instagram, people search a lot via hashtags and might find you easiest that way. Crabtree indicates that, of all of the platforms, you want to make sure you especially don’t over-post on Instagram. When it comes to your business, stick to posting photos of more universal interest. Don’t get into posting a ton of your family for your professional site. Be sure to crop and use filters for best framing, and of course be sure to use hashtags as well.
Hire a pro
Do you know how to stay up-to-date on social media stuff and do you even have the time to do so? It’s an ever-changing landscape of technology and it can be time-consuming and overwhelming to figure out.
Hiring a professional will help you:
- save you time and aggravation;
- figure out “pay to play” so that you’re making the most out of the social media algorithms when it comes to your dollars spent; and
- determine how to best go about advertising on social media.
You’re (probably) not a plumber so you aren’t going to do your own plumbing. Get in touch with a marketing professional and plan out a marketing strategy that makes sense for your size and type of business. Even if you are a marketer yourself, it’s best to incorporate the perspective from an outside person into your overall strategy.
If you would like assistance in finding the right professional for you, COSE can help.
View the full webinar presentation below. And click here to get caught up on past COSE WebEd webinars.