Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social Media and Small Business

We’ve heard a lot about Social Media and how you MUST be on it and if you’re not you’re losing out. A certain amount of that is true. But before you spent HOURS of your valuable time creating profiles for your business across all the social media platforms, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself first to save time and money.

What do you want to achieve from Social Media?

As a small business what is the point of being on social media for you?. Do you want to

  • Increase your exposure
  • Interact with your customers
  • Gain business

You need to know why you’re on social media and what you hope to gain from it, otherwise you run the risk of spending too much time reading your facebook newsfeed without seeing any return whatsoever!

Who is going to manage your social media accounts?

Do you have someone in your business that you can delegate to handle it all? If you do, great, but make sure they have the skills to handle it properly. If they don’t, they will need training. Do they know what you expect from your company’s social media output? You should always make sure the person who handles your accounts has guidelines about what is and is not acceptable to you. And ALWAYS make sure you, as the company owner, has the username and passwords of every social media account for your business.
If you don’t have someone in your organisation, can you do it yourself? Realistically how much time can you devote? If you can’t, then hire someone to do it for you.

Should your business be on all the social media networks?

Well no. Some may suit your business, some will not. If you’re just coming to social media, the best way to start is to have a blog. Communicate with your customers by providing some good, quality, and INTERESTING content. Don’t use it purely as a way to sell, sell, sell! Who’s going to be interested in reading that?! Blog about what you believe your customers will be interested in and if you don’t know what, then just ask them.

So what networks should you choose?

Again it depends on the type of business you run, but you can’t go wrong with Facebook, Twitter and a google+ page which will enhance your Search Engine optimisation (or in plain speak, the ability of people to search and find your business). In addition look to see what social media your customers are using and then sign up for those.

How often should I post?

Post as often as suits you but we would recommend at least every 1-2 days to begin with. If you have more content that you want to share then try for twice a day. But no matter how often you post, be consistent. Don’t blast out for twice a day for three or four days and then nothing for a month. Stagger your posts and remember keep it interesting.

Bloody hell. What will I post about?

Post relevant and informative content about the business that you think will be interesting to your CUSTOMERS. Don’t try and sell all the time, it’s the digital equivalent of being stuck at a wedding where the person next to you talks about themselves all the time!
Post articles (repost from other sharable sites), links, and imagery. Imagery is very effective at engaging people. Or combine any of the above.

How can I convert followers/likers into customers?

You should be using your Social Media to drive your likers/followers to your website, where, hopefully you will have a Call to Action. Calls to Actions are a newsletter sign up, a contact form or a telephone number to ring straight away. This will then allow you to convert mere interested parties to firm customers.

How will I know if I’m successful?

A lot of social media have built in analytics which will show you what posts are working, what posts got you the business and what posts didn’t. Facebook and Google both have analytics and there a number of other tools out there (Hootsuite etc) that you can use to track and measure your social media success.
And always evaluate what works and what doesn’t and change accordingly.

In a nutshell, small businesses who want to use social media should first
know what they want from Social Media
– dedicate a person in their organisation or hire someone else to manage it
– Set guidelines
– Decide on which social media platform suits their business best
– Post interesting, varied content regularly
– Use Social Media to drive their followers to their website to take action
– Measure success and change what isn’t working

So have you used Social Media in your business and have you found it useful?

Regina

Owner at Coppertops
With my background in Marketing, Communications and Design my skills are put to great use in managing marketing campaigns, designing everything from logos and business cards to pull up banners and maximising social media promotion