Social networks have become an integral part of our daily lives. Businesses of all shapes and sizes have begun to make the most of the means available. Today we will try to discuss social media tips for small businesses. There are a plethora of small businesses looking to social media to promote their business/services. However, most of these small businesses are either failing or unable to make optimal use of social media for business growth. There are many theories and strategies on how to use social media effectively for established brands, but the topic of social media for small businesses is rarely addressed. According to the 2017 Octane Research State of Digital eMarketing India:

60% of small businesses promote their business on social media. 50% focus on SEO and 35% use multi-channel marketing funnel.

70% of small businesses consider content strategy their main marketing activity.

52% of business owners use social media to efficiently address customer engagement.

Over 20% of business owners said they are making 50% more profit using social media.

The main reasons for low participation are uncertainty about the application of social networks, the calculation of return on investment and the persuasion of employees / stakeholders to take over social networks. Therefore, it is important to address the elephant in the room and analyze how beneficial social networks are for small businesses.

Small business social media is a great way for start-ups to generate leadership and build a reputation. If updated regularly, social networks can deliver more results compared to traditional media. Social media for small businesses gives brands a control advantage over the content they want to post. Also, since social media is a two-way dialogue process, it helps businesses instantly identify what benefits them. Small business social media also helps build word of mouth, which is one of the best tools for startups.

Social networks for small businesses | 10 Tips for Using Social Media Effectively

Define your target audience

The first and most important part that small businesses need to focus on is defining their target audience. This helps small businesses to design their social media strategy accordingly. The target audience should be defined based on age group, gender, location, users’ online behaviors, tastes, interests, and preferences. For niche products, business owners can even target users based on their birthdays, anniversaries, and important milestones. Audience targeting plays a huge role in the outcome of the results. For example: a local store that sells footwear should not target users who are interested in entertainment. The store will definitely not get the desired results.

Set achievable goals

The overnight success is a legend. Small businesses need to understand this basic fact. In general, when a new business begins to sell on social media, there is a palpable enthusiasm to achieve more than the established specific sales. Businesses need to set goals that are upward and forward. To achieve huge goals, small businesses start updating the social feed with multiple updates in a shorter duration. This leads to the user’s disinterest in the product/service. Established goals need to be in sync with the brand’s core capabilities and expertise. For example: If a company sells shoes, it should not set the goal of repairing as many shoes as possible in its area.

Choose the right medium

By now, everyone knows that social media is free. Even paid campaigns can be run at a relatively low cost compared to traditional media. It is in this scenario, that we often see small businesses jump on the bandwagon and create profiles on all available platforms. Creating a social profile does not hinder the image of the brand, but aggressively promoting a brand on the wrong platforms can cause the brand to lose its potential customers. Therefore, it is advisable for SMEs to first identify the right platform through which they can maximize their business. For example: If a shoe brand tries to sell aggressively on LinkedIn, it won’t get a plausible response compared to promoting on Facebook/Instagram.

Promote your main products/services

Since each and every business is riding the wave of social media, it is important that they promote their core products/services. Today, we see many companies promoting their services and peripheral products/services, which revolve around their core products/services. More often than not, this SME does not have the capacity to meet a requirement, which can lead to bad word of mouth for your business on social media platforms. Let’s go back to our example; If a shoe vendor is trying to aggressively promote socks instead of shoes, it won’t benefit the business in the long run.

Create quality content

Now that we’ve covered the topics of identifying the target audience, setting achievable goals, choosing the right medium, and promoting the right products/services, let’s take a look at the type of content a business should promote on its social pages. A company should always focus on creating good quality content instead of poor quantity content. Even if the company updates their page once a day, as long as it’s relevant to their business, the advocates of their core products send a clear message that it’s considered good quality content. Conversely, if a company posts multiple updates that are not even relevant to the company’s products and services, users consider the company to be fake or spam. Also, startups should try and refrain from promoting other businesses on their social platforms initially.

Create a content calendar

Making a small business successful on social platforms is no easy task. It takes a lot of efforts for companies to maintain their conversion rate. One of those efforts is to create a content calendar. Small businesses need to anticipate important events and create a content calendar accordingly. Ideally, a content calendar should be planned a month in advance, but a weekly content calendar is highly recommended. This helps businesses avoid last-minute issues, strategize much more effectively, and also helps build curiosity among their loyal fans/customers.

Try and try again

Social media is very unpredictable. The content that a company publishes today, might not work tomorrow. Therefore, small businesses should always test their content before publishing it on their Pages. The content test also applies to the platform that a small business chooses to promote. Small business owners should always put on the consumer hat before posting about any product features, updates, schematics, or offerings. The consumer perspective is the key when testing the content that has to be uploaded.

look for inspiration

Small businesses should always look to a successful competitor in the same category for inspiration. Copying and pasting a competitor’s idea or content is not the answer. Small businesses should look for the type of content their competitors are posting and derive their own strategies afterward. Inspirational content/stories always make a company strive to create their own content that is appreciated by all. It helps increase brand consideration, brand visibility, and therefore increases conversions for the business.

Calculate ROI

Even a small promotional budget is not justifiable if there is no mechanism to calculate the return on investment. It is more important in the case of small businesses. It is very important for a small business to control the budgets allocated to any promotion and the subsequent ROI related to it. If a certain promotion doesn’t work well or the business doesn’t get the desired results, the brand custodian can always look to other platforms to drive quality conversions.

Analyze and restrategize

There can be countless cases where a particular campaign/promotion might not work for a business. That does not mean that the promotion is wrong or that the product/service is not good. Doing an analysis of the campaign is as important as setting the objective. This helps the company to formulate its next strategies more effectively. At the end of each campaign, brands should record the learning from that campaign and identify whether their followers appreciated the content or idea. This helps companies skip unrealized updates from future communications.

final thoughts

Social media for small business is definitely beneficial and fruitful. If followed correctly, small businesses can greatly benefit from the power of social media promotions.