Image credit: Pexels
by Kayleigh Alexandra
As a small business owner, you probably know by now how powerful using social media can be – if it’s used correctly.
Social media can boost awareness of your brand, generate leads, and reinforce existing relationships that you have with your customers.
But it’s all too easy to get it wrong, and many small businesses miss the mark with their social media marketing simply by not taking it seriously enough.
We’re here to help you avoid any silly mistakes and make the most of this powerful tool: check out our social media do’s and don’ts for small business owners to keep your social marketing on top form.
Recommended reading: 5 Things Your Business Emails Should Include & 5 Things They Shouldn’t
Don’t: be too aggressive and salesy
One of the things that many small businesses miss the mark on when it comes to social media is tone.
We get that social media is the perfect place to promote your products or services, but there are many ways you can get followers interested in your brand — and making purchases — without shoving adverts and salesy posts in their faces every five minutes.
Social media users are bombarded with adverts, sponsored posts or promotional posts all the time. Just think about your own user experience on social media: these salesy posts come across as aggressive or desperate, don’t they? And after a while, users simply become desensitised to this type of content, and it doesn’t even register.
Don’t try to force your followers to buy your products; this isn’t a successful way to use your time on social media. Instead, you need to show them that your business cares about more than just selling.
Do: be creative with your content
Social media marketing is a great opportunity to attract potential new customers and build meaningful, sincere relationships with your existing customers.
But first, you’re going to have to stand out. Social media is a busy marketplace, and you’re competing with many other awesome brands for your audience’s attention.
The best way to stand out is to post creatively and originally. You need to give value to your audience: whether posts are informative, entertaining or inspirational, they should be tailored to your followers’ interests and desires. And while you’re at it, have a bit of fun and inject your personality into your posts. This helps consumers to see you as more than a faceless corporation.
The informal nature of social platforms lends itself to sharing content that humanises your brand. You can do this in a number of ways: with a friendly and open tone of voice, by telling the story behind your business, by making your audience laugh or connecting with them through emotional, sincere content.
An audience that feels connected to your brand is much more inclined to like you, trust you, and buy from you.
Don’t: spread yourself too thin and forget accounts
While we firmly believe in the importance of using social media for your marketing as a small business, it’s important not to overload yourself.
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re creating social media pages for your business and decide that you’re going to do all of the social platforms. That’s how you get more visibility and more customers, right?
Wrong. If you sign up to as many social platforms as possible, you’re soon going to find out that you don’t have enough time to manage them all. This means that you’ll start forgetting platforms, not updating them and not posting on social media.
This can actually be more detrimental to your business that not having social media pages sometimes. Potential customers will look at your pages and wonder why you haven’t written anything since April 2017 — and will assume that either your business has closed down, or you’re too lazy to add anything. Either way, it doesn’t look good.
Do: stick to a few social media platforms and do them well
As a small business owner, social media can be an awesome string to your bow — if you do it properly.
This means choosing a few platforms (three is a good number) and ensuring that you make the most of these by posting regularly and consistently across them all. Keep to one tone of voice to ensure that your message is clear across the board, but remember that you can vary your content and strategy dependant on the platform you’re using to optimize your posts and increase your follower count. For example, there are ways to get more Instagram followers that work differently to methods of increasing your followers on Facebook.
By posting great social content regularly, you’re showing your followers that you’re an engaging, trustworthy, legitimate business – and one that’s on the ball.
When you’re setting up your business pages and profiles on various social media platforms, don’t forget to fill everything in on your page. We’re talking bios, imagery, contact details and frequently asked questions. Leaving out any of these makes you look lazy and unprofessional. It’s also incredibly frustrating for potential customers when they’re trying to find information about your business, and will end up deterring them from using your services.
Don’t: forget to reply to your followers or deliberately switch off
There’s absolutely no point in spending all this time creating multiple social media profiles and posting interesting content if you’re not going to engage with your followers. It’s the whole package that creates a strong online presence — which will ultimately lead to more profitability for your business as your followers and sales increase.
Forgetting to reply to mentions or responses on your posts looks really bad — not only to the customers you’re ignoring but to everyone else watching on. Remember that social media platforms are like a stage: everyone can see you, so if you’re rude or aloof, people will quickly notice.
You should be replying to all messages as a small business, but in particular, you need to watch out for negative feedback and complaints. Ignore these comments at your peril. Even worse is deleting or hiding these comments.
If you’re struggling to respond to everything on social media or you’re worried that you’re going to miss some, then you can use a social media marketing tool like Hootsuite to monitor comments or mentions and respond to them quickly.
Do: create relationships with regular, honest interactions
If you’ve posted a great piece of content and you’re getting plenty of engagement (likes, shares and comments), then it’s only polite to acknowledge this and respond. After all, these are the people drawing more attention to your business and giving you some free promotion!
Think of social media as a conversation between you and your followers. You’re not just posting something for people to merely look at; you want to open up a dialogue with your followers. Answer questions, respond to compliments and tackle negative comments head-on. This will foster a healthy, positive relationship between your brand and your customers.
Engaging with your followers and replying to their comments is what is going to convince them that you’re a business that cares. This is how you create a loyal community of brand followers, who love both you and your product.
A lot of businesses forget this: that your product could be amazing, but if you haven’t got the customer service down to a tee, your customers will dump you for someone else who provides a friendlier, faster service.
Social media marketing can feel like a minefield if you’re a small business owner, but it’s easier than you think. If you use it in the right way, social media can be incredibly useful for promoting your brand and forging relationships with your customers.
Follow the above tips on what to do – and what not to do – and you’ll soon find that your social media marketing will contribute to your business’s success.
a big thank you for Kayleigh Alexandra for this guest post