Many small business owners shy away from having an online presence. They feel they don’t need it or don’t have the time to manage a social media presence effectively.
Having a social media presence for your small business is another way people can find out about your business and connect with you. It also builds relationships with your audience – both potential and current. Every small business needs a social media presence, but can it be done without taking too much time?
Before jumping on every social media platform, take the time to research where your competitors are online. For example, if you sell products that your customers like to see, you will want to focus on more visual platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. If your product is for individuals 30 years and younger, you may want to invest your time in video platforms, such as Snapchat or TikTok.
Start with one platform, the one you feel will work the best, and invest your time and energy in seeing if that platform will work for your small business. See if your audience is there, then create and post original content they will find engaging and informative.
Spend ten minutes a day following accounts similar to your own and engaging with their content by liking and commenting on their posts.
Once you decide where to invest your social media time, you need to maintain a consistent presence. You can do this by creating a social media content calendar. A quick Google search will bring up many content calendar templates. Even a simple spreadsheet with headings that separate the social media platform, topic, link or image, and the date and time it is to run, will help you keep your social media presence organized and consistent. It will also eliminate any overwhelming feelings associated with having to create content daily.
If you spend one hour at the end of every month, planning social media for the month ahead, you will have 30-days of content planned with minimal time investment.
Once you have this content created, you can also schedule it to publish ahead of time. Facebook and Instagram can be scheduled directly in the platform through their Creator Studio scheduling tool. Twitter is also working on the ability to schedule directly within the platform.
If you’re looking for a tool that can manage the scheduling and publishing for all of your social media platforms, you will want to look at a social media management tool, such as Buffer, Hootsuite, or, depending on how many channels you are managing, more robust tools, such as Agorapulse. These tools give you the ability to manage and monitor your social media presence from a single dashboard. They also provide analytics that will help determine what is resonating well (and what is not resonating) with your audience.
Another hesitation of small business owners when it comes to social media is what to publish. If you have a website (and hopefully, by now you do), then you should think about how you will continually update and refresh your website. One way to do this is through video posts (also known as vlogs) or blog posts. If you have a blog and regularly publish posts, these posts can serve as valuable social media content that will drive traffic to your website. And don’t shy away from posting a blog post on your social media platforms more than once! Not every potential lead will see it the first (or even the second time) you post it, so make a point of posting it when it is new and then consider posting it as an “ICYMI (in case you missed it) type-post, and then put it in the archives to post again in the not-so-distant future.
Make sure to regularly look at your analytics to see if your audience is engaging with what you’re posting. Focus less on vanity metrics, such as numbers of page likes and account followers and instead see if people are commenting and sharing your content – that is a more accurate measure of the quality of information you are sharing. If something isn’t working, don’t hesitate to change things up, experiment and adjust to what your audience is engaging with the most.
Engagement is always key, which means you should never schedule it and forget it. For example, if a world event dictates that it is not appropriate to post, as usual, pause your regularly scheduled social media and see if there is something more relevant to what is happening that you should post instead.
As much as possible, you should respond to comments on your posts and address any concerns or complaints as soon as possible. Doing so shows your audience you genuinely care about them and their opinions of your business.
If you are consistent with your social media presence, post content that drives traffic back to your website, and engages with your audience, your social media presence will grow, and so will your small business.
If you find it challenging to maintain an active social media presence, creating engaging content or need assistance in creating an effective social media account, you may want to outsource the task to a qualified social media manager. A social media manager is in charge of mastering and representing your business’s voice across your social media channels and will engage with your audience on your behalf.