Social media is a great tool for any small business as it offers a free, widely used platform for advertising and sales. As the years progressed I have personally seen a great increase in the ways social media has affected my business for the better. But as small business owners how can we use this to our advantage? There are many ways I have seen an effective growth in my business due to social media and how it has been used to promote my products and services. Without a plan in place, it is hard to set goals and see how effective the campaigns have been. Below I have outlined my top 10 tips for social media success in the business sector so that you too can experience the positive effect this highly profitable and cost-effective platform can bring your business.
#1- Plan ahead
Having a plan is the best way to see if social media advertising is working for your small business. I often start with a plan so I can anticipate where my social media campaigns should take me. When I can expect to see a rise in sales and what my projected return will be for the time and effort I have put into the advertising. You need to ensure that your time is not wasted. If you are putting in tens of hours worth of work for little return you may need to reevaluate how you are advertising on these platforms.
#2- Decide on your platforms
Some businesses are better suited to Twitter, perhaps Facebook, and if your products and services may even be suited to a platform such as Youtube, due to the ease of video communication. Whatever you are selling make sure you are choosing a platform which will promote your products to a selected target audience. You can advertise on multiple platforms too, maximising your returns.
#3- Set your target audience
Your products and services are ultimately best suited to a certain focus group. Once I have found the best audience for my products I generally target them initially. This can be changed at a later date once your social media begins to grow in followers. Getting the initial support is important so that your campaigns reach as many customers as possible.
#4- Target a greater audience
Setting the initial target audience is a good start. From here I like to see if I can expand, marketing my products and services in a way which will expand the target audience. Can you appeal to a younger crowd? Is your promotional content targeted mainly at men? Simple changes can greatly increase your sales and make your products more appealing to the wider community. I was surprised by the way a few simple tweaks shifted the appeal of my products and made them more relatable to a vast audience.
#5- Build on relationships
Social media is a great way to build a rapport with customers in my opinion. Take the opportunity to communicate with them on a personal level. This can be done directly through personal messaging. You can then find out what they are looking for and what products could appeal to them.
#6- Utilise visuals
Compelling visuals are a great way to lure in new customers. As they are scrolling through social media platforms they do not often take the time to read what is written. This is where I find that visuals come in handy. If you make a picture or meme that is eye-catching and striking then they are more likely to keep investigating your products and services. People who may not have looked specifically for your business or what you provide may be more inclined to buy from you simply based upon an image.
#7- Quality is greater than quantity
We have all heard this saying at one point or another. This is also true for social media advertising. It is not enough to just spam your clients with posts every day. I ensure that every post is filled with relevant information and compelling content. Do not worry if you don’t have anything to post that day. Your customers will be happier to hear from you when you have something important to announce rather than posts to fill in the gaps. They will also be more likely to buy from you.
#8- Schedule your posts
I find that when I schedule my posts in advance it leaves a lot more time for me to engage with customers. I can do this far in advance and even schedule my posts for an entire month to give me the hours I need to ensure that my customers are well looked after when it comes to purchases.
#9- Monitor and respond to conversations
Your customers can reach out directly to you via your social media private messaging systems. I like to review this a few times a day and monitor what is important and what is not. You can often receive spam via these avenues which can waste your time. You will get to know what questions come up time and time again and may even opt to design a bot which will respond to generic questions so that you can have more time to put into your business elsewhere.
#10- Track your performance
This couples with the planning point at #1, once a month or two has passed you will want to monitor your progress and see where you can improve. I like to take monthly looks at how my posts faired and what was successful and what was not. This gives me a good idea of what will work in the future and how I can tailor my posts to work well for me.
If you follow some or all of the above tips you will see how social media can change the way that your business operates for the better. I have personally seen effective growth in my own business since initiating the use of social media and I have to admit I would never look back. Make the most of this cost-effective advertising platform and see your business reach new heights!