So here we are in 2018 and social media is still a thing. Shocking, I know. If you run a small business and have limited resources for marketing, you might be wondering if you should invest time and energy in social media. The answer is a resounding YES. The number of adults in the U.S. who use social media continues to rise, currently at 69 percent as of January 2018. Whether you do it yourself or hire it out, small businesses should be targeting their audience through social, no matter the industry.
Now, down to business. Whether you currently have a social media presence or not, follow these tips and set your social strategy on the path to success.
1. Set intentions and objectives.
Sit down and think about what you want to accomplish on your channels. What’s your top goal? No matter if it’s to drive traffic to your website, educate your audience, raise money or sell tickets, your goals should drive your strategy and eventually the content you create and post. If your business already has social media channels, do an audit. Look at who your audience is, what your competitors are doing and which of your posts perform the best and which are the lowest performing. Shameless plug: We offer a complimentary social media audit, sign up here.
2. Make a profile for your audience.
It’s very important to know who your audience is. This can partially come from a social media audit, but it can also come from internal data you collect. How old is your customer? What gender are they? How affluent are they? What do they do on Saturdays? What life stage are they in? What’s their biggest concern? Write one or two profiles that describe your average customer and refer to it when you’re creating content. Knowing who you’re talking to and developing content for them will help your business be more successful.
3. Know where your audience is.
One of the biggest mistakes I see brands do is to try and be in all places. Just because it exists does not mean your brand should be there. There are a lot to choose from: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ (yep, still exists, I just checked), YouTube, Pinterest, etc. etc. This chart shows which channels are most popular overall:
And this gives you a snapshot of what percent of adults use Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn/Twitter:
A 70-year-old is not likely to be active on Tumblr, and a 16-year-old is not likely to be a heavy LinkedIn user. Do your research and know which channels your audience frequents.
4. Know what your audience wants from you.
If your business is dry cleaning, you probably don’t need a Snapchat account. If your business is mortgage loans, you probably don’t need a Pinterest account. Knowing what your audience wants to hear from you is key. This can be gleaned from your audit, analytics, focus groups or just talking to your customers. They might want to be educated on something exciting but complex like how to buy a home. They might want customer support, discounts, inspiration, or product information. Find out and stay in your lane. This may change with the ever-changing digital landscape, though, so don’t ask once and then never ask again. Reevaluate at least annually.
5. Talk about yourself.
Yes, talking about yourself is allowed and I encourage it. A good rule of thumb is that no more than 20 percent of your organic content should be purely promotional. A great way to talk about yourself (i.e. your products/services) is to utilize paid social media ads. Facebook ads are very affordable and can be highly targeted. A good paid Facebook strategy will generate leads for your business. Shoot us a note if you’re interested in teaming up with our social team to create one.
6. Videos and images are still king.
Here are some numbers for ya:
- 82 percent of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter
- 45 percent of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week
- 92 percent of mobile video viewers share videos with others
- When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
- Facebook posts with images see higher engagement than those without images
It’s a crowded place, so using visually arresting (yet relevant!) images and video to get your message across is still a must.
7. Leverage tools.
With a (likely) tighter budget, you probably don’t have the funds to play with shiny new tools like SocialDrift, Owlmetrics, Twizoo, InsightPool, etc. However, there are a handful of solid, affordable tools out there to help make your life easier. Here are a few free/low-cost tools to check out:
- Hootsuite – monitor conversations, schedule content from one place, set reminders, etc. The free plan includes up to three social profiles.
- SproutSocial – engage, publish, analyze, monitor from one spot. Lowest plan starts at $99 a month.
- Likable Hub – automation platform with many management capabilities (free and paid options).
- Post Planner – Science-based tool that helps you find the right content to engage your audience.
8. Hire the right team.
Your brand voice and brand presence on social media is very important. Hiring the right team to embody and project that voice in content and responses is vital. These days mistakes can go viral within seconds, so whether it’s in-house or vetting an agency, it’s key to hire someone who is in tune with trends and breaking news as well as company policies.
9. Be engaged.
Whatever you do, don’t push, push, push content and then leave it. Engage with those who are engaging with your platforms. Respond to comments, even the negative ones. Don’t wait for people to come to you to chat, be proactive and go looking for relevant conversations to be a part of. Follow other local businesses and engage with them, check out social posts by local publications and influencers and follow along with relevant hashtags and topics that it makes sense for your brand to engage with.
10. Keep up.
Trends pop up quickly and leave even quicker. A social media manager should keep up with what’s going on in general, but definitely with what’s happening in the industry. For (a totally made up) example, let’s say one day Liam Neeson posts about how much he enjoys foie gras on social media. It’s best to be paying attention to things like that if, say, your vegetarian restaurant was planning on using a Liam Neeson meme that day and skip it.
We have a top notch social team here at Fearey, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions or would like us to take a look at your social strategy. Contact us here.