Social Media Success for Small Business
In today’s business environment, small business success is likely to depend on social media success. Businesses need to develop and execute a social media strategy for long-term survival. Using social media effectively allows small businesses to compete for their audience without spending a fortune. They can, therefore, ‘even the playing field’ with larger competitors. One of the biggest challenges with social media is allocating time to it, so efficiency is key. To achieve social media success, there are 3 core things you need to do; focus on the right channels, engage with your target audience and post relevant content consistently. If not, you won’t see the ROI and will eventually come to the conclusion that social media just isn’t worth it.
1. Focus and Be Active on the Right Social Networks
As a small business, you should first determine which social networks your targets are active on and focus only on those. This will take a little research on your part. You should look at several ‘ideal’ targets and which networks they are posting and engaging the most on. You can start off with a small list of 10 targets, which should give you a general idea of the correct social networks to focus on. Write those down and then move on to looking at your competition. Determine which networks they are most active on and which ones they are getting the most engagement from. Completing these two tasks should give you a good idea of where you should be spending your time. Remember, if you don’t focus your efforts on the right social channels, you’re not likely to see any ROI with social media.
This is the big one for small business! Unfortunately, it’s the task that if not done correctly, can be a big waste of time. When engaging with people on social media, there are 4 things to be aware of:
- Don’t over-automate – This can be a tricky topic. It’s okay to have an initial conversation starter auto message sent out, yet sending multiple automated messages will make people feel you are unauthentic.
- Don’t be too pushy – You should have a few message exchanges before sliding in your sales message. Treat this step like you would if you met someone in person. Hopefully, your first question isn’t, “would you like to buy my product/service?”.
- Follow up – Make sure you use some type of tagging or follow-up process. Don’t drop the ball with potential leads.
- Stay focused – Don’t waste your time on conversations if the other person is in no way a target of yours. If someone writes back to you, vet them out to determine whether or not they are a target. If not, message them a ‘have a good week’ type of message and move on.
Make sure you put some time into engaging with your audience. You should ask questions to start the engagement and to qualify connections. Block out time on your calendar for this task every day.
3. Post Relevant Content Consistently
One of the most challenging tasks is coming up with good content, and enough of it to post consistently. Initially, creating a strategy and a calendar of topics will help tremendously. You don’t want to be scrambling every day, trying to think of things to post. Social media success requires a lot of planning, so plan your content out.
Most small businesses don’t have the time or expertise to crank out 4 blog articles per week, and that’s okay. Ideally, you should write as many of your own articles as you can, but you have some other options to get good content to share. For one, you can get someone to write a guest post for your blog. Getting an industry influencer to do this may be a bit of a challenge if you are new to social media, but there are many people who will offer to write an article for you in exchange for a link back to their site. This helps them with their ‘authority’ and SEO.
Curating content from other sources is another option to help fill your article bucket. There are plenty of useful tools available to help with this. Here are a few of our favorites.
- Feedly – This is a free tool that allows you to search for a term and be presented with a list of sources of information. Once you select one you are subscribed to an information feed that has relevant articles that you can use to post.
- Buzzsumo – This site has some limited services for free as well as paid options. You are able to see articles that are trending and the number of shares it received.
- Epictions Epicbeat – This tool is similar Buzzsumo and a bit more reasonably priced. They also offer some services for free.
Tip: You want to be sure to give credit to your information source when posting other people’s content.
Social Media Management Tools To Make Life Easier
Along with content curation tools, there are many software apps to help automate consistent posting of content.
- Hootsuite – Allows you to schedule and publish updates across multiple social networks.
- Sprout Social – Schedule and publish updates across multiple social networks. Includes a unified social inbox.
- eClincher – Provides features found in the previous 2, but also has a great ‘queueing’ system to recycle your content. This helps ensure that you maintain a consistent stream of content going out. Includes a unified social inbox.
- Smarterqueue – Provides a great ‘queueing’ system as well, and useful analytics for your posts. This tool is one of the newer apps on the market, but we were very impressed by it during our evaluation.
Most social media management tools also include built-in content curation features. Some, like eClincher and Sprout Social, have unified social inboxes, that allow you to engage directly with your connections from within the app. The potential challenge you face with any of these tools is the learning curve. If you decide to trial one or two, evaluate them one at a time and make sure you use it daily.
In conclusion, small businesses need to be successful on social media in order to survive. Social media success can be achieved by focusing on the right social media channels, engaging properly and being consistent with content sharing. It won’t happen overnight but if you commit to doing these three tasks, you will see positive results over time.
* Engaged Social provides social media management and digital marketing services. Let us show you how to have social media success.