Social Media for Small Business: 9 Things You Need to Know

two women having a meeting

Are you one of those businesses who can post a completely random picture online and it gets 5,000 likes in under two minutes? Don’t worry — most businesses aren’t. There’s a lot more to it than that. While some rules hold true across the board, social media for small business might require some extra special attention. Keep reading for nine expert tips to help you succeed online.

9 Tips for Social Media for Small Business

1. Focus on Building Your Authority

Fake it ’til you make it. If you want to compete with the big boys, you might have to do a little of this in the beginning. True, you might not have the budget, resources, or manpower of you bigger competitors, but you still need to be as big of an authority.

That’s the important word, here: authority.

For instance, if you’re a small business in the industry of meal prep and delivery, you might very well have as much knowledge — and even more — than the big-name delivery companies of the world. Don’t be modest with that. You’re going to need it if you want to grab a little bit of that market share.

How to Do It

Don’t lurk in the shadows of your competitors’ social media posts. Put yourself out there!

  1. Record videos of yourself or members of your team sharing knowledge about your product or service.
  2. Produce high-quality, informative blogs that educate your visitors and also position your business as an expert in the industry.
  3. Allocate some of your budget toward paid ads. These will take you farther than organic posts ever could right now.

2. Focus on a Select Few Platforms — and Crush It

We get the logic behind creating a profile on every single social media platform. It’s totally understandable. After all, the more places you are, the more people you can reach, right?

Well, kind of. Maybe. Maybe not. Okay, no. The answer is no. Here’s why.

You’re not going to crush it on every single platform. It’s not because you’re doing something wrong. This is just the way it is, and your competitors are the same. So, why put time, money, and resources into managing so many pages if only a few of them really give you a return on your investment?

How to Do It

  1. Pick three or four platforms to start with — no more!
  2. Log the number of hours you spend on each platform every month, for three months straight.
  3. Each month, document your “return on investment.” How exactly did each platform contribute to your business? Measure your return and use the data to revise your strategy.

start-up

3. Invest in the Right Social Media Management Tools

“But that’ll cost me more money,” you say. Of course it will, but ask yourself this: What’s your time worth? If a reasonably priced social media management tool saved you a couple of hours of work a day, wouldn’t it be worth the cost? Of course.

Spending money on these tools is an investment. You’re not throwing your money away. You’re putting it toward something that will make your workload so much more manageable. Don’t cut corners just for the sake of saving a buck. You will pay — with your time and energy.

How to Do It

  1. Sign up with a social media management tool like eClincher.
  2. Set aside an hour (if that) and schedule out all of your social media posts for the next week. This is called “batching” your work, and it will save you even more time. Hooray!
  3. Go get a coffee or something, because your work is done. #Win

4. Get Specific With Your Targeting

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: When you try to target everyone, you end up reaching no one. Specific targeting is important for businesses of all sizes. However, it might be even more crucial for social media for small business.

Understandably, small business owners think they can “make up” for the size of their biz by trying to reach huge audiences. The problem here is that this huge audience might not even be made of people who are qualified leads.

They’re not potential customers. So, why market to them?

Don’t run a Facebook ad with a potential reach of a million people and merely hope you find a few interested parties. Instead, narrow down your targeting to a more specific crowd — even if it’s only in the five digits. This is a target audience.

The same goes for organic (read: free) posts. Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Focus on your specific demographics.

How to Do It

  1. Create a customer avatar — a profile of your ideal customer. List as many of their traits as possible.
  2. Craft your social media posts as if you’re talking to that exact person.
  3. Use these traits when setting the targeting for your social media ads.

5. Write Down Your Goals, and Get Clear on Them

bullseye

This is so important, and we all tend to underestimate it. According to Forbes, “People who very vividly describe or picture their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals.” So yes, you need to be writing down your goals!

That goes for your social media marketing strategy, too.

If you don’t know what you’re striving for, how can you ever determine if what you’re doing is actually working?

How to Do It

  1. Pick three things you want to accomplish in one week, one month, and three months.
  2. Make them concrete and measurable. “Grow our brand online” isn’t a good goal because it’s not specific enough to measure. “Increase our social media engagement by 10%” is a goal you can track and measure.
  3. Write down the baby steps you’re going to take to hit your goals.

6. Leverage the Power of Networking and Influencer Marketing

You don’t have to do this alone. In fact, you shouldn’t. Imagine combining forces with a brand or individual your size or perhaps much larger. Think of the new people you could reach and the exposure you would receive.

This is why we network.

When you form mutually beneficial relationships with other people and businesses, you open yourself up to even greater opportunities.

How to Do It

  1. Find three to five brands in your industry who are not direct competitors with social media followings as least as big as your own.
  2. Find three to five influencers with large followings (in the five digits and up) in your industry.
  3. Contact them either through email or one of their social media platforms.

7. Push for Customer Reviews

bartender with tray of food

Since you might not have a popular brand name working in your favor, you’re going to have to use something else to convince people to spend money on you.

That’s where customer reviews come in.

Write this down: Reviews are vital for the survival of your small business. This is no exaggeration. There’s a growing mountain of data that backs up this statement — far too much to include in this blog. But the point is this: 90% of customers read reviews online before they visit a business. Furthermore, 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Reviews are like word-of-mouth business. Acquiring as many as possible should be a part of your digital marketing strategy. You’ll need them on Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business, to start.

How to Do It

  1. Post once a week on your social media pages asking people to leave you a review. Be sure to provide the link to where they should go.
  2. Ask your email subscribers once or twice a month to leave you a review online. Again, provide the link.
  3. If you have a brick and mortar, hang up signs and posters asking people for their reviews.

8. Offer Plenty of Incentives for People to Follow and Engage With You

Social media for small business includes giving people a reason to follow you. They’re going to be wondering one thing: “What do I get out of this?”

So, tell them — what do they get for following and engaging with you online?

Your social media should inform, educate, or entertain your followers — or a combination of the three. This relationship needs to benefit the both of you. What can you give them in return for their attention online?

How to Do It

  1. Create a freebie that you can share on your social media — something that will be of value to your followers. Think of things like checklists or demos/tutorials.
  2. Hold social media giveaways or offer discounts to your followers.
  3. Encourage followers to sign up for your email list by promising them email-gated content (read: content they can get only when they sign up!).

9. Create a Social Media Calendar and Plan Ahead

calendar

For small businesses, it’s easy to put your social media on the back burner. But note this: This is something you really need to commit to.

Set aside time to come up with a calendar that you can update each week or even only once a month. Have a plan. Brainstorm your posts ahead of time.

Your social media is a tool that can help you grow your business tremendously — but only if you take it seriously.

How to Do It

  1. Start small. Plan out one week’s worth of posts. Schedule them out ahead of time using a social media management tool like eClincher.
  2. Write down a mini-goal you want to accomplish by the end of this week.
  3. At least two days before the week ends, update your calendar with more posts!

Digital marketing isn’t just for the big guys. Social media for small business is the real deal. Treat it like the powerful tool it is, and your business will reap the rewards.