It can be very easy, when it comes to social media, to think of it as a rabbit hole: it’s a fairly simple concept, but who knows what it’ll require of you once you begin. When making the case for yourself or a team member to get started with social media, here are some things the experts suggest you keep in mind.
1. A lack of social presence makes customers question your legitimacy.
“It’s no longer a question of “if” you should get on social media, but instead “what” social media you should focus on. Any business with a social media presence is automatically viewed as more competent, focused, and thoughtful than competitors that do not. An active social media presence is even better, since it shows customers that your company runs smoothly and takes care of everything, down to the online marketing presence.”
2. Knowing your target customer can help develop a niche voice on social.
“Developing buyer personas is a great way to narrow down your target audience. Your product/service isn’t for everyone, so make sure you’re speaking to the right people.”
3. Don’t over-process your posts.
“Be human! A lot of organizations are afraid of making mistakes on social – they’ll run their posts through 20 different people and approval processes before actually posting, and the result comes across as robotic and bland. People don’t respond to that!”
4. Take on what you can handle–and nothing more.
“Planning, creating, scheduling social media content and having conversations with potential customers takes time. If you sign up for every social media channel under the sun, you will be spreading yourself too thin and your content will perform poorly”
5. Don’t sweat it if you’re not on the latest craze.
“Some businesses may never make it to Instagram or Snapchat – but that’s okay! Concentrate on your target audience and your goals from social media. In the world of choosing social platforms to concentrate on for small businesses, less is often always more.”
6. Entertaining and useful content is better than promotional content.
“People go on social media to be entertained, not to be marketed at. Therefore, whatever your company puts on social media should be built to engage first and market second, if at all.”
7. Images are key.
“Use high quality, crisp visuals. Recent research shows images increase social media engagement: Twitter updates with images in them receive 150% more retweets than those without and Facebook posts with images in them receive 2.3 times more engagement than those without. Canva is a fantastic resource for creating custom images, with free and low-cost options available.”
8. Consider a posting plan, to start.
“Lots of small businesses get so caught up in ROI, strategy,and SEO that they forget the most important part: to post consistently. So many businesses are so wrapped up in the overthinking that they leave their pages out of date by months or years – dinging their credibility when a potential client looks them up online to see what they are all about. My best tip for small businesses just getting started is to come up with simple posting plan to start – and then actually carry out that plan consistently over time. Once you get comfortable posting on a regular basis, you can invest more time and money in a deeper strategy.”
9. Invest in a scheduling tool.
“Investing in a scheduling tool, like Hootsuite, to schedule your social posts in advance. These tools will save you hours of time each week. Social scheduling tools allow you to schedule posts across multiple social channels for the day, week or month. This way you don’t spend 30-60 minutes every day on social media.”
10. Engagement is a two-way street.
“When people mention your company on social media, let them know that you’re listening. If it’s a question or positive comment, respond ASAP. If not, make sure to like or favorite the post so they know you saw it. Little gestures like this go a long way.”
11. Look local for cross-promotion opportunities.
“Engage locally and authentically! Look for local organizations with whom your business has a natural affinity of demographic crossover. Find them, follow them and engage with them. Retweet and repost their content and look for opportunities to feature them in your content. Soon enough, if the connection is real, you’ll find their audience becomes your audience, too.”
12. Take advantage of the built-in analytics tools.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure, but measuring social media ROI doesn’t have to be expensive. Small businesses can take advantage of the wealth of information provided in built-in, free analytics tools like Facebook Insights. The key is know what to measure – don’t worry too much about gathering a million followers. The important numbers to watch are engagement and impressions.”
13. Don’t get swayed by vanity metrics.
“Most businesses only focus on vanity metrics like number of followers, likes, and retweets. Those can be a good measure of your success, but they can also be deceiving. Not every follower is useful to you. Is it better to have 1,000 great followers that could potentially be customers one day or 10,000 followers that are in a different country that will never buy from you. It’s pretty obvious that you’d rather have the 1,000. High numbers don’t always mean great success.
14. Test constantly
“Testing of your social media content needs to be ongoing, and there should always be a monthly, if not weekly discussion as a team on what content is performing either well or poorly, and what can be done to remedy that. This can be fixed by optimizing timing of posts, stronger call to actions, curation of industry content, etc.”
15. Be patient! It’s a learning experience.
“Be patient! A lot of small business owners don’t know about all of a platform’s capabilities, or get frustrated when they don’t see a high engagement rate or grand following right away. If you’re not getting the results you want, spend a little more time going back to basics. Optimize your Facebook Page, follow relevant accounts on Twitter, post regularly to Instagram, and so on.”