Managing a small business is pretty complicated, especially in the beginning. A small team is taking care of everything and social media simply isn’t the first thing on the to-do list.
However, no matter what industry you’re in, your company’s social media presence is crucial. If you do it right, social media can be the main channel that generates traffic to your website and converts visits. Ignoring social media might leave you way behind your competition simply because now everyone is there.
The Manifest conducted a survey, asking 529 small US businesses about their digital marketing strategies. It turns out that almost everyone is now aware of the importance of digital marketing. 89% of them are already investing in marketing, while 95% are planning to increase their digital marketing spending during 2019. The channels they invest the most in are social media (63%), website (54%), and SEO (35%).
And, they are going in the right direction because social media is where their customers are. According to BrightLocal, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses (including 95% of people aged 18-34) and 91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Furthermore, 62% of customers finalize their purchases in-store after doing online research.
So, yes, social media is pretty important. Missing out opportunities and causing bad reviews can do a lot of harm to your business. That’s why you need to be active and engage with customers, posting clever and original content.
However, many small businesses do it wrong. AdWeek asked 900 social media users why do they unfollow brands, and here are the results:
What does this survey teach us?
If you want to retain social followers, you need to post original content at optimal times. You have to be careful with what you’re posting in order not to offend someone. Your posts need to encourage user engagement and you need to communicate with them. Finally, your content needs to be relevant to what your business does.
Although it might sound easy putting it this way, achieving all of this isn’t easy at all. So, what is it that you should do to keep your customers interested?
Here are the DOs of social media for small businesses:
1. Start by setting your goals
Goals can be different depending on the stage your company is in. They can also depend on how known your brand is and what is your target audience.
There are various goals you can achieve through your social media campaigns. One of the most common ones is increasing brand awareness. This means you simply remind your customers that you’re here, without any calls-to-action. If your goal is to increase web traffic or generate sales, a call-to-action and different copy are required.
Another goal you can have is to increase engagement. Through this campaign, your posts have to encourage followers to engage with your brand through commenting, tagging people, sending photos, sharing, etc. These are also some tactics you could use to gain brand advocates.
If you’ve learned that your customers struggle with using your product, you could also use your social media presence to share some content that will educate them.
2. Get to know your audience
All social media platforms now offer analytics tools that allow you to study the behavior of your followers. You could also use a third-party tool that will give you even deeper insights. This data will drive the changes in your goals and tactics, which should be flexible. After studying your audience analytics, your next posts should be modified to be more “likeable” for your target audience. This will help you create tailored-made content that they would like to engage with. This way, you’ll offer real value to your followers.
3. Engage with followers
When you have a social media profile, customers will often text you asking questions about your product, praise it, or complain about it. They will also write with complaints or praises about your online shop or your physical store, as well as about your employees. You need to answer all of them, preferably within 24 hours. This will improve customer experience and their trust in your brand.
Besides answering questions, you also need to create posts that will encourage simple actions that will help customers identify with your brand.
4. Learn optimal posting times
Each social media platform has different optimal posting times. The best time can also differ depending on your target customers and their daily activities. You can follow your analytics to see what are the times when your followers are online and when have you posted the posts that have gained the most engagements.
5. Create original visuals
If you have your own designer, it would be a great idea to create an original visual for each post. This way you’ll create an authentic image for your brand that will become known after the forms and figures that your visuals include. If you don’t have a designer, there are a lot of online tools that can help you create social media visuals.
6. Include videos in your posts
Research says that by 2022, online videos will account for more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic, which is 15 times more than in 2017. Moreover, users are able to remember 95% of a message that’s featured in a video, compared to 10% if it’s in a text format. This means that if you want more engagement with your posts, you should include videos in your social media calendar.
From all the data that we looked at, we can conclude that social media for businesses in 2019 isn’t optional anymore. Being present on social media can play a big role in retaining existing customers and gaining new ones.
What is important to remember is that you won’t find your optimal strategy right away. Not all types of content will work for your product. You’ll have to try creating various content types, test them, analyze results, and implement what you’ve found out. Results won’t come at once, but they will start coming once you understand what is the type of content that your customers are interested in.