Social media, heard of it? It’s that little thing that’s basically taken over the world. Business is no exception. If your business doesn’t have a great social media presence, you may be missing out on bids which means big bucks lost. In this month’s Up In Your Business article, we’re sharing social media best practice tips for your small business.Social media can be one of your greatest assets, or one of your biggest missed opportunities. (And if done wrong, it can be a big liability! Eek!) The “free marketing” nature of social media makes it one of the smartest ways to promote your business — if, that is, you do it well! This month, we’re sharing best practice tips for making the most out of your social media strategy.
1. Set Measurable Goals
If you don’t know where you want to be, how will you know when you get there? Measurable goals are an important part of any business strategy. Specifically define how you want social media to help your business, so you’ll know if it’s working. Think bigger than just tracking likes and shares. Try to be intentional about posts that support your measurable goals. A few examples of this might include:
- Building awareness of your business (yes, you want people to know you exist.)
- Gaining new customers by directing them to your website, or tracking phone calls.
- Encouraging engagement by giving people reasons to mention your business themselves.
2. Choose the Right Social Media Networks
There are gobs of social media options these days. However, not every network is the best for your business. Start by identifying your target customer. How and where are they engaging on social media? The answer will help you determine which networks will work best for your services. The most common social media networks include:
When posting on Facebook, it always best to include a photo or graphic, and call-to-action. Studies show that posts with images generate more interaction. Studies also show that the optimal time to post on Facebook is between 1pm and 4pm. (And newsflash: the fastest growing demographic on Facebook? Boomers who are 55+, which is most of your potential customers.)
Twitter requires more frequent activity. While Twitter may require more intentional commitment and content, the fact is that Tweeters are faithfully engaged. Make sure to direct followers to your website or blog and keep relevant content that has value to users. The use of hashtags is also helpful when using Twitter but limit them to no more than two. (Another newsflash: you are least likely to find Boomers on Twitter.)
LinkedIn is the social media network for business and business professionals. Studies show that users are more likely to go to your company’s website from LinkedIn than from other social networks. This is a great place to network with other businesses, as well. LinkedIn can be a good tool if you’re looking for some professional help with the admin side of your business.
Pinterest or Instagram
Both are photo-sharing social media sites. You’ve got to have good, interesting, high-quality, tasteful photos, but if you do, both Pinterest and Instagram are among the hottest and most widely used social media networks. Not much of a writer? Not great at super witty captions? These two options may be right up your alley because they are far less text oriented that most other social media networks. Good examples of how to use these networks might include posting photos of your crew in action, hands-on tips, or even giving followers a peek into your business’ culture and the people behind your business. We’ve found that, in the log home world, Pinterest is a gathering place for dreamers and planners (“Some day, I hope I’ll have a log home that color” or “I’m starting my color book while we’re still building”), while Instagram is used by current log homeowners more often.
3. Brand, Brand, Brand!
Your company brand (i.e., your logo, business name, slogans, etc.) should be consistent in all your marketing, social media included! Remember, you’re using social media to help build a stronger brand and build customer awareness and loyalty. Each social network page has size specifications for cover images and profile photos, be sure to check to make sure your photos fit well and look professional. (And if you don’t have a great logo yet, hit us up. We know people who design great logos.)
4. Quality Trumps Quantity
More is not always better! Don’t just post to post. Only post quality social media content that has value to your customers. While you want to be sure that your social pages stay up-to-date and timely, don’t make the mistake of posting content that isn’t also high quality.
5. Be a Copycat
Don’t be afraid to look at what’s happening around the industry. What are other businesses doing well, and how can you mimic that? Find a few businesses that you can follow and engage with to help your own small business social media strategy improve.
6. Be Patient
Finally, stick with it! Don’t get frustrated if it takes time to meet your measurable goals. Building a loyal following can take time, but it pays to implement a strategy, target the right consumers, and stay consistent.
7. Be Wise with Your Words
We’ve seen too many stories in the news about companies who post one ill-timed or thoughtless post. Don’t be that company! If in doubt, run your posts by a trusted confidant (a spouse or friend who will tell it to you straight).
These best practices tips will help set you on your way to social media success! We know you’ll “like” that!
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This month's training tip comes directly from a question we received recently.