Top tips to helping small business owners get started with social media

The digital age is well and truly upon us, yet many small-business owners still conduct their digital marketing almost entirely by email, a limitation meaning they’re targeting the same people again and again.

Increasingly these businesses are attempting to escape this self-imposed limitation by turning to social media, where they can spread their message unhindered to potential customers worldwide, with spectacular results – did you know that 64% of Twitter users and 51% of Facebook users are more likely to buy the products of brands they follow online?

Despite the 120,000 tweets sent per second, or perhaps because of it, social media can seem like a daunting prospect. If you’re new to it, or your approach just isn’t working, these top tips will ensure you’re not wasting your time.

Know your goals

As with any business plan the first step is to get a clear idea of where you want to end up – what do you want social media to do for you? Whether you’re simply trying to establish a social media following, share your ideas within the industry or you want to promote a specific sale or service, you’ll achieve less if you set out with no clear goal.

Know your audience and how to engage with them

Once you’ve set your goals the first step to reaching them is to take a look at the audience you’re planning to engage and the most effective way to reach them. Pick a platform or a combination of platforms that will maximise your exposure to your chosen audience – for instance 83% of Pinterest users are women, the most popular categories include clothes, crafts, and food – so if you’re trying to promote a less creative product aimed at men then this platform isn’t going to offer you the best returns.

Do you sell a consumer product or service that would benefit from making lots of friends on Facebook, for example? Then how about filling your page with useful updates and pictures? If it’s a business service you provide joining groups and writing blogs on LinkedIn might be the way to go. Follow your chosen audience to the correct platform, see what they’re already saying and ask what your business can add to these conversations. Thought and a little research here will save you a lot of wasted time.

Create a comprehensive social media plan

Once you’ve established your basic goals and identified your audience it’s time to put together a comprehensive social media plan. This is where the work you put into step one comes into play, as the more specific your goals are, the easier they will be to achieve. Having an easy-to-follow plan will ensure that your social media accounts aren’t something that get abandoned during peak business times, as is sadly common with many busy smaller businesses. Remember how bad an empty Facebook page or Twitter account looks.

Include targets, such as how many times a week you’re going to post to your chosen platforms. Equally important is the tone of the content you’re posting – what impression are you looking to make on your audience? Are you going to be informative or try to add a personal ‘cheeky’ touch?

Jarring and inconsistent content is one of the quickest ways to look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Leave time to assess and analyse your project in your planning.

Be realistic

Not many small businesses have the time or budget for a huge social media campaign. As with all business ventures, be realistic about what you can achieve, whether it’s just posting to Facebook a couple of times a week or tweeting daily. If you’re failing to meet your targets or struggling to find interesting content then it’s time to adjust your approach.

If you have any questions about social media why not tweet us @teamdiscoveryeu. If you’re a small business owner and would like to discuss what social media could do for you please get in touch Team Discovery using the contact details below.