5 Simple but Essential Social Media Tips for Small Business
Social media is ripe with possibilities, especially for small business owners on tight budgets. But as with all aspects of business development, you will get the most out of your social media if you devise a proper strategy before plunging in. Here’s a great starter: social media expert Shane McCarthy shares 5 simple but essential social media tips for small business.
If you’re the owner of an SME who’s getting to grips with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the first time, take a pause before you dash off your first post, Tweet or Instagram image, and brush up on some informed social media tips for small business.
Sure, social media is an excitingly fluid and direct means of communicating with and growing your customer base, but it won’t work for you in the way that you want if you don’t coolly break it down and devise a carefully planned social media strategy.
To help you get off the ground— and also to provide some essential revision for businesses who have been using social media for some time—we’ve compiled what we regard as some of the simplest but most important social media tips for small business, to help you get off the ground.
Some of these tips are declarative and directional. Some are in the form of questions that are aimed at changing the way you think about social media. Either way, it’s most likely you’ll find that the principles of social media are remarkably similar to classic business development fundamentals.
1. What are the key elements of your brand-building strategy?
At the top of the list of our essential social media tips for image is a question that does not even require you to turn on a computer or consult a smartphone. What it does require of you is to think about the steps you’re going to take in attempting to grow your brand. Here is one of our in-house images here at BlueChief Social, that you might find helpful.
Think of your brand as a building, and each floor as another step towards the completion of your brand. This diagram will help you visualise the nine floors of the building that is your business brand. I will focus on three of the most important areas that you should be focusing on in terms of your social media strategy.
Have a personality: show the human side of your brand using video or behind-the-scenes images of your team. It’s simple, and it works. Think about campaigns such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, or the Mannequin Challenge of 2006, which saw everyone up to Democratic presidential challenger Hillary Clinton filming. The latter was a viral internet video trend where people remained frozen, mannequin like, while being filmed by a video camera, usually with the song ‘Black Beatles’ by Rae Sremmund playing in the background.
Here’s a typical example from Hendrick Motorsports that attracted almost 401,000 views, with numerous Likes, Comments and Shares.
• Telling Your Story: think about the best seasonal ads, particularly Christmas ones. The thing they all have in common are emotion and humour. They also tell a story. So think about the values that you stand for, and story-telling angles to convey these values. John Lewis has mastered this, year after year, reaching a high in 2015, when they released The Man on the Moon ad, which highlighted Combat Loneliness with Age UK and the charity’s efforts to raise awareness for the million or so older pope who go for a month without speaking to anyone.
• Be Consistent, Relevant, and Add Value: social media is about going the distance, so it’s essential for your business to be consistent. That means regular posting on your social channels, be it Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. It is also useful to be alert for social trends, and think of ways to contribute to or join these conversations. If you can send out tips or advice, related to your business, it’s a way of giving that helps to establish bonds between your company and the social networks. These posts can prompt feedback that can inform your more extended blog content, which deepens engagement with your market.
2. Focus on the Key Deliverables
For most, the key deliverable is the bottom line. In terms of social media, this can include leads generated, or traffic to your website. It is relatively simple, using Google Analytics, to drill into your social ads, work out what they’re doing, the cost and average cost per action. This data will help you determine what’s working, what isn’t, and how it contributes to the bottom line. Unwavering focus on the key deliverables must have a priority position in any list of the most important social media tips for small business.
3. Don’t Be Intimidated by Content Creation
The question of what is the best kind of content to create can causes serious headaches for business. This is because they have not yet understood that ‘video’ does NOT mean Hollywood blockbuster production values. Connection is what it is all about. Think about music videos, promo films that enjoy some of the highest engagement. In the pre social media era of the 1990s, the video for the song Scream by Michael & Janet Jackson cost some $10.7m to make, and it was watched by an audience of 64m people when it debuted on ABC.
However, fast forward to 2010, and the video for Ed Sheeran’s song The A Team, to appreciate the possibilities of audience connection, even on a low budget. The A Team was famously inspired by a girl named Angel that Sheeran met while volunteering at a Crisis homeless shelter. The striking promo video was made for just £20. One of Sheeran’s signature songs, the video has had 223,591,700 views since being posted on April 22, 2010.
There is nothing to stop you from using video shot on your smartphone as material to deepen engagement with your audience. If what you are saying is useful, it will work. In terms of imagery, there are some fantastic free tools on the internet to enable you to turn stock photography or other images into really engaging content. Canva is a great example. So the simple answer to the ‘What’s the Best Content to Create’ question is: the more interactive, the better. You’ll find as you go forward, when researching and developing your battery of essential social media tips for small business that the simplest solution is often the best.
4. Rules of Engagement
This comes back to consistency. If you want your social media for small business strategy to be about more than ‘hit & run’ posting and Tweeting, you need to really devise Rules of Engagement for all your social media communication. Here is what we do at BlueChief Social.
The key points on this list are probably to plan and strategise so you don’t fail, and, most importantly of all, engage so you can listen. This is one of the major things I’d hope you would take away from these social media tips for small business. What not to do! Social media is too often treated as a loudspeaker. Its true power lies in its potential as a listening device. It is a fantastic way of listening to people who have questions that you can solve, while also gathering primary data from customers. Good customer service never fails.
5. Strike A Balance Between Scheduled & Organic Posting
Last but by no means least on this mini roundup of essential social media tips for small business, getting the balance right has become increasingly important in social media. I have analysed my own social media use for the past 12 months, subdividing this timeframe down into four quarters. I found that in each quarter, I have had a 7 to 3 Organic to Schedule split. For me, that’s a good ratio. Strike your own balance, and remember that occasional variation does no harm. Keep it natural. Do not behave like a ’bot. Search engines do not like them. Let’s stay human, people!