Many small businesses simply don’t have the budget to outsource social media services, however it doesn’t mean that they can’t benefit from generating sales and creating a brand identify online. Here are our tops tips for using social media to your advantage:
- Invest in social media training – it will help build confidence, knowledge of publishing techniques and introduce you to the free tools you need to get you started. Make sure you look for a provider who gives you plenty of practical assistance so you get the most from your session.
- Learn the art of engagement and networking – many small businesses tend to do a lot of publishing on their social media channels, but fail to start conversations or share third party content. This is a missed trick as the beauty of social media means you can connect with people everywhere, including key influencers and possible advocates. The more you interact, the more your following will grow.
- Be consistent – one of the most common reasons we hear small businesses give for inconsistent social media engagement is not having enough time. Yes social media is time consuming, but there are ways of managing it to work around you. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts across Twitter and Facebook; it’s great as it means you appear active every day, even if you only check in once or twice a week.
- Be strategic – when looking at social media for your business, you need to get out of the habits you’ve learnt when using it for your personal accounts. To avoid spending hours lost in Twitter, you need to switch your mindset and always keep your comms strategy front of mind. What do you want to get out of your networking? Who do you want to target? How many people have you engaged with today? Set yourself targets and remember to keep focused. Setting a time limit also helps.
- Share a variety of posts – no one likes a bore. From simple text written posts and strong images, to short videos and shared posts or retweets, if you mix up the content you share you’ll feel the love from your followers and Facebook too. Recent algorithm changes mean that Facebook favours pages that post regularly in multiple formats and makes them more visible to other users.
- Don’t link your accounts – all too often we see businesses cross-posting between Twitter and Instagram to Facebook. While the share to Facebook tool might seem like a handy time saver, it doesn’t do you any favours. Each social media channel has a slightly different audience, with people consuming content in different ways. While Instagram is hashtag heavy, this doesn’t work on Facebook and posts are often too long for Twitter’s 140-character limit. Images often don’t appear as they should either. Twitter recently encouraged users to upload directly to the site because of this and Facebook gives preference to posts created within its platform.
- With images becoming increasingly important for any content strategy, small business owners should really consider how to make shared content more visual. Take advantage of free photo editing tools such as picmonkey.com, Camera+ and Instacollage and get to know the various photo and video filters and editing tools within the Instagram app.
We offer full and half day social media training sessions for all kinds of businesses. If you’d like more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.