How small businesses can make the most of social media

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0 Comments May 9, 2016 Blog , , ,

Whatever their business, it’s hard to find a company that doesn’t have a presence on social media these days. From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and beyond, small business owners all over the globe are flocking to their social media channel of choice in a bid to big-up their brand, connect with their customers, and – hopefully – attract some new ones.

Used well, it’s a fantastic way to market your business. But (there’s always a ‘but,’ isn’t there?), standing on the digital soapbox of social without a proper strategy or an understanding of your chosen channels could cost you big. Multinationals have been brought to their knees by a rogue tweet and many an SME has seen an ill-thought campaign empty its marketing coffers without as much as a lukewarm lead. But don’t worry – we’ve got your back. Have a gander at our top tips for making the most of social media – and a few examples of Facebook faux-pas and Twitter tragedies…

Focus!

Building your brand on social media takes a lot of time and effort – and putting out interesting content is only part of the job. The real benefit comes from making the most of the key way social media differs from traditional marketing – it’s social! Engaging with people in two-way conversations lets your customers – and your prospective customers – see the personality and authenticity behind the words and pictures, building brand loyalty and awareness for little to no budget.

But for all those lovely things to happen, you have engage with your audience continually and effectively. It’s hard enough to do this on one channel, let alone four or five. Our advice? Target one platform at a time, build your audience and make sure you engage with them. Remember – be social!

Of course, when you do engage with your customers, make sure you don’t follow the example of Amy’s Baking Company

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Sell! But not too much…

Social media isn’t the place for the hard sell. If you treat your channels as if they’re billboard space, you’ll quickly find yourself suffering a backlash. As with everything on social media, you need to be… well, social. Build relationships with your community through sharing informative, interesting content, responding to them, and then introduce the idea of doing business together.

Of course, as with all things in life, it’s about balance. Without a cohesive strategy, many small businesses fall into the trap of pumping vast amounts to time and resources into their social channels without ever trying to translate that brand awareness into sales. After all, you can’t pay the bills with Facebook likes!

As we said, you need to know when to sell to your community – something clothing firm Kenneth Cole clearly didn’t when they tweeted this during the opening days of the Egyptian Revolution…

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Leverage your knowledge!

The days of a business’ social media channels being operated by the least-experienced (and often youngest) member of team should be a thing of the past but some small organisations still fall into that trap – and turn what is potentially their biggest advantage into a crippling disadvantage before they’ve even posted their first tweet.

Remember – whether it’s knowledge of your product, your sector, or even your competitors, you are the expert. When communicated on social media, that knowledge becomes a huge asset and highlights your business as one that knows exactly what they’re talking about. With a proper strategy and the right kind of consistent engagement, you’ll find that the questions posed (and expertly answered) on Twitter and Facebook soon turn into paying business.

Having an experienced set of hands of the reins of your social media channels often means they take into account the wider world when they post – something Tesco was clearly lacking when they sent this tweet. Although it seems rather inoffensive at first glance, this post bolted from the multinational’s social media stable in the midst of the horse meat scandal! Long faces all round…

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Course, we’ve barely skimmed the surface of the social ocean. If you fancy learning a bit more about what it takes to get followers flocking to your page or send your next social campaign into the stratosphere, drop us a line and see how we can help.