This is an essential guide to social media for small businesses. Here we will outline crucial steps involved in developing a successful social media strategy for any small business in 2016.
Before we even consider which social media platforms to use, we must first ask ourselves what our goals are with social media
Is it to:
- Gain more long-term clients
- Get people to visit our retail store
- Provide a platform for our customer base to see our range of products
- Act as a discussion forum
- Promote events we are involved with hosting
- Connect with people who could be valuable to our business
There are a number of things which you may have in mind for goals of your small business however you should always aim to gain value from social media regardless of anything.
The next step involved is to analyse what our competitors are doing with social media.
Now you may be thinking:
Isn’t this spying on my competitors? And doesn’t it make me inferior to them?
Well yes it is technically spying on your competitors however name any successful business that doesn’t! Everyone is competing with each other and needs to stay on top of what their competitors are doing otherwise they will be eaten alive in the business world.
So please realize that this does not make you inferior to them – and hey, someday they might look for ideas from your social media pages!
Your aim should be to figure out the following:
- Who are our competitors?
- What platforms are they using?
- Which of our competitors are the most successful?
- What are the successful ones doing different to the others?
- What kinds of content are they publishing through social media?
- Which competitors have the most engagement on social media and how are they getting the most engagement?
- How frequently are my competitors posting on social media?
- What kinds of posts does my target market customers enjoy the most on my competitors social media pages?
This should act as a checklist and should be revisited every now and then. If you follow this checklist you will be able to mold your social media better than your top competitors
You should also note that you do not have to only look at competitors who are small scale – look at what the big companies are doing as it is likely that they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into their social media campaigns and you can essentially get the same value for FREE!
The next step is to provide value through your posts.
Why would anyone want to associate themselves with your brand having never seen it before or never heard about it before? Unless it’s extremely cool then I believe that it is unlikely that people will interact with your social media accounts unless you provide them value.
So what is value?
Value can be through a number of things such as:
- Contests and prize giveaways
- Information regarding a product
- Instructional videos
- Aesthetically good looking photos
- Funny videos (depending on your niche of course)
- Inspiring quotes
There are an infinite number of ways to provide value for an audience however how do we build an audience from the start?
There are several ways to do this however the most effective is to pair with an opinion leader of a brand. An opinion leader in social media is someone who has a large fan-base who all have a common interest in a particular topic – this can be Tony Hawk in Skateboarding or even Karen Walker in fashion.
Ideally you will want them to share your social media page through their social media avenues. For the top-tier leaders you generally have to pay them significant amounts of money in order for them to spread your brand however, with leaders of a smaller scale you can offer them commission for driving sales and likes or you can give your product away for free to them considering they dedicate a social media post to you.
Don’t have enough capital to pay these leaders money or giveaway product? No worries I completely understand, there is another way to effectively drive initial traffic to your social media accounts.
Find which other websites your target audience are visiting. These will usually be forums where discussion is held such as Reddit.com and Quora.com. Reddit is a great place to find your niche as they have dedicated pages to thousands of different niches and if you provide value to the readers there then I am sure they will give your social media a visit.
Quora is a platform for users to ask questions. Being knowledgeable about your industry helps in this case and you can look up questions and answer them (see your providing value here!) and then what the trick to do is to say:
And if you would like anymore information regarding X then visit my Facebook page at Y.com. Here you will find more answers to these kinds of problems!
The last step to getting started with social media is to update your content regularly.
Social media updating is similar to not using a car for a long time – it will have issues starting up and may have a dead battery. You are easily forgotten in the social media world so ensure you keep regularly updating your content across all of your platforms otherwise people are going to unsubscribe from your account and you will be left for dead!
Rinse and repeat steps 1-3 and in no time you will have an audience of your own who can eventually develop into paying customers. I gave a little more information on a previous blog post regarding how to convert customers into paying rather than having no monetary value whatsoever so feel free to check it out here.
Step Five: (Extra step)
The extra step to success is to get on social media platforms that are mobile based!
Ever walked down the main street of any city these days? What you will find is people glued to their phones ignoring what is happening around them. From witnessing this you can draw one conclusion – that lots of people engage in mobile content. When there is engagement with everyone flocking to one area, there is always money to be made.
This has proven to be the case also in the world of social media where 54% of all Facebook users access the app on their mobile device. And also 33% use their mobile as their primary way of accessing Facebook. Facebook also has 945 million mobile users which also illustrates the importance of mobile in today’s world.
There are social media platforms that even have their mobile apps as their main way of access to them. An example of this would be Instagram. Instagram is a platform for photo sharing and has proven to be successful for many businesses marketing themselves with a user count of 400 million people per month!
I would therefore recommend getting on instagram as well as every other main platform that your target audience frequent on. If you are having trouble discovering what platforms your users are on, then I would suggest you read my latest blog post here which will provide some insight into figuring out the location of your target audience in social media.
Thanks again for reading this blog post I hope you found it somewhat informative and I am confident that if you do stick to this guide then you will succeed in social media marketing for your small business which will in no time become a BIG business!!
My question for you this week is:
If you were to start a social media account for your small business what parts of this guide would you follow most importantly?
Please leave your answer in the comments section below and I will personally respond to it. If you think this guide had some good information in it, feel free to share it on social media – Thanks in advance!