Social media marketing is no longer an option for today’s small business owner.
With as many as 90% of small businesses using social media, the question isn’t when, but how you will use it to expand and grow your reach.
But too often, business owners feel stumped by social media, allowing it to take a back seat instead of harnessing its power.
Maybe it’s a fear of the unknown or the overwhelm that comes with learning something new. Whatever the case, the effective use of social media can confuse even the most seasoned business marketer.
But the good news is this.
No matter what stage you’re in, you can reinvent your online presence.
Make a few tweaks to shift your use of social media and immediately improve your results.
10 Social Media Tactics
1. Establish a Plan
Your first step is to establish a strategic social media marketing plan. This should include goals, objectives and key success indicators.
What are you hoping to achieve? What does success look like? You can’t start using social media to market your business until you understand its purpose and value.
Once you know what you want to get out of social media, now you can determine what to put into it. Create an editorial calendar to keep your posting consistent.
Why use an editorial calendar in your business?
Co-Schedule suggests that like a traditional editorial calendar, your social media calendar should:
- Provide a place to generate post ideas and key topics.
- Assign writing and other editorial tasks to key members of your team.
- Create a publishing schedule that helps you maintain a consistent presence.
- Allow you to visualize your marketing strategy in a way that everyone can understand.
- Act as a communication point to team members.
Let your editorial calendar act as a daily roadmap, providing strategic guidance on what and when you will post.
2. Know Your Customer
In a survey by Yodle, 42% of small business owners admitted that customer acquisition is their number one concern. While social media makes it easier than ever to connect with the right audience, its key to understand their needs.
To truly make the most of social media, first get into the head of your target market. Who are they, why are they spending their time online and what need does your product, service or system fill?
Knowing their “why” will allow you to speak to it. Your next step is to create a persona based on your target market. Outline their exact specifications. This should include gender, nationality, industry/work/vocation, and location.
As you post to your social media channels, envision the person you’re talking to. I guarantee that it will make a world of difference in your tone, voice and message.
3. Be a Resource
If you want to connect with your perfect customer, you need to become a valuable resource. Share content on a daily basis with a no strings attached social media policy.
In order to build rapport and establish trust, you must set expectations and then exceed them. How can you do this?
Steps to Become a Valued Resource
- Identify what top three problems you solve and then use that information within your content.
- Create unique content and begin to give away your valuable insight.
- Share your expertise through various types of media. From video tutorials to webinars, provide solutions to your customer’s most pressing needs.
- Curate other industry professional’s content and add it to your mix.
- Tell, don’t sell. The better you share your company story, the more your audience can connect on an intimate level.
4. Choose Your Channels
Just like customers, not every social network is right for your business. That means you need to identify where your customers spend their time online.
Would you like to know whether they’re on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter? ASK!
If you’re managing an email list (and you should) then use it to do a little detective work. Use a tool like Survey Monkey or create a Google Form and ask your customers which social network they hang out on.
Once you know where they are, you can better focus your efforts. Your next step is optimization to ensure anyone looking for your company can find you.
Optimize Your Profile
- From Facebook to Google+, each social channel offers a way for you to share your expertise, skills and solutions. Complete each bio, use keywords and industry terms, and encourage interaction by connecting your website, blog and other social channels.
- Share specific details about your business, including your background, education, awards, testimonials and offerings.
- Answer frequently asked questions. This falls under the “tell, don’t sell” advice I offered above.
5. Create Brand Consistency
Your social media cover should be a direct representation of who you are and what your business is all about. Make sure your use of color, font and images are all “on brand.”
This means you’ve identified your brand look and feel both offline and online. Now translate that across social media to create consistency.
Streamlined branding allows fans and followers to immediately connect the dots between you and your business.
Grab this social media image size cheat sheet from Louise Meyers to get the correct dimensions for each social network. Also take a look at her own social media branding. She’s consistent from one network to the next.
6. Make it Personal
Create more meaningful relationships by going deeper with your social media community.
Ask questions and pay attention to the answers. Find stats and other relevant industry data. Then take that information and turn it into valuable posts and tweets.
Keri Jaehnig, Social Media Director & Founder Idea Girl Media does an excellent job engaging her Twitter followers. She shares tips, advice and interesting industry tidbits to get to know her audience.
You can do the same. You have the experience and knowledge to solve your customers problems, but you can’t truly help your audience until you get to know them.
— Keri Jaehnig (@kerijaehnig) September 7, 2014
7. Be Visually Appealing
If Pinterest has proven nothing else, it’s that we’re visual creatures. Use images to improve engagement and boost the conversation happening around your posts.
Take Twitter for example. Recent stats show that adding an image to your tweet can improve shares by 200%. Those are numbers any business can appreciate. Someone who uses this strategy with great success is social media strategist, Peg Fitzpatrick.
Peg manages social for Guy Kawasaki and Canva, two communities with a hunger for visual eye-candy. She will regularly create graphics specifically for Twitter to increase engagement and shares. Peg’s perfect tweet formula,
“I recommend tweeting with attached images in the 2:1 image aspect ratio or 876 pixels by 438 pixels. This puts in a beautiful image on your tweet. Below is an embedded tweet with an attached image.”
— Peg Fitzpatrick (@PegFitzpatrick) September 7, 2014
8. Diversify Your Content
No one is one-dimensional. Make sure your content isn’t either. Change it up and ensure that you find a nice balance between professional and personal.
It’s not only important to add flavor to your social media posts, but also your thoughts. People want to hear your thoughts and ideas. They don’t want you to throw content at them without any thought behind it.
How to Diversify Your Content
- Take the standard link post and add context to it.
- Share an Infographic and add your thoughts around the stats.
- Add your feedback, ask a question or give an explanation as to why the content you share is important.
9. Manage Your Efforts and Reputation
There’s no sense in investing in social media, if you can’t manage and track your efforts.
Stay on top of the conversation happening around your business through social monitoring tools like Sprout Social. This allows you to be proactive in responding to any questions. It also keeps you in the know.
Have you encountered a potentially damaging post or tweet about your business? Were you the first one to hear about it? As we all know, social media waits for no one. Monitor your reputation by actively listening. This lets you assess the situation and quickly get involved.
10. Be Resilient
With the daily barrage of social media content and conversations, it’s easy to find your head reeling. It’s also easy to find yourself swimming in a sea of doubt and frustration.
While not every campaign or strategy is going to work, you have to persist, even when it feels like you’re spinning your wheels.
If you can adjust your strategy and consistently manage change, your small business will reap the rewards.