Social media marketing for small businesses

10 steps for social media success

Social media marketing is a great tool for small businesses and one that you just cannot ignore. The number of people engaging in social media networks every single minute is so big and if your business is not participating in this mega digital party, you are missing out opportunities.

Obviously the next question is how can business owners take advantage of social media and whether it is something that can generate business results (i.e. more traffic, sales, leads, signups) or if it is just another myth?

#1 – Let’s get started

The first step is to actually move from theory to practice and get started with social media. This means 4 things: Some things to consider:
Facebook – Everybody is on Facebook so you don’t actually have a choice here. Read this to get inspired: How to get your first 10,000 fans on Facebook.
LinkedIn – Mainly for business professionals, more difficult to use, advertising is expensive. However, if you are offering professional services or if your target audience belong to a well defined business group, then you must use it. You can create your presence on LinkedIn but if you are short of time, I suggest you start using LinkedIn for your personal profile and then when you grow your business network, you can utilize LinkedIn for your business as well.
Instagram - Mostly of lighter content focusing on lifestyle and celebrity visuals. Although it has been popular with younger audiences, its commercial value is relatively low and mostly indirect. If your business is related to the fashion or lifestyle you may use this utilising Influencers or micro influencers. A smarter idea is to avoid a business presence on this channel and attempt using it indurectly through mentions from existing clients.
Twitter – not as many local users. Relatively easy to maintain and engage with your customers. Together with the previous 3, this is your priority list.

#2 – Start Small

When you are ready to get started do not rush into following hundreds of people, posting many times per day, boosting posts and checking your statistics every minute. Start small and have in mind that:

#3 – It’s a numbers game

While there are millions of people in social media channels, in order to start getting traffic, making sales or have any influence at all, you need to have a LOT of followers in your channels. And by a LOT, I mean a LOT and let me explain why.
When you publish a new post on your business page on Facebook that post will be seen by a small percentage of your followers (FB tells you how many people saw your posts so have a closer look to understand what I mean).
Let’s say that you have 4,000 fans on your page, when you post something only 100 or so people will see it and this is because Facebook does not show the posts to all your fans.
Yet, although Facebook will show your post to these followers, if a person is following a lot of other people/pages, there are limited chances that they will see and interact with your posts.
So, the more followers you have, the greater are your chances of start getting anything out of social media. From my experience and without this being a definite guide, you need at least 10,000 on FB, 500 on Linkedin, 1,000 on Twitter and 2,000 on Instagram before seeing any visitors to your website or shop. Of course as I said this is not a rule but an empirical figure.

#4 – Engage with people that matter

Unless you are a well known brand, in order to grow your followers you need to engage with other people (follw them, target them) and some of them will follow you back. When choosing who to target be selective by applying these simple techniques:

#5 – It’s time consuming – make sure you have the time

Social media marketing is relatively easy to do but it is a very time consuming task. Before starting make sure that you have the time to do this consistently and on a daily basis. I would say that a couple of hours per day is enough to get you started.
If this sounds a lot then you can either consider to outsource social media to professionals or start with fewer networks (for example Facebook only) and then when you find time jump in to the rest.
Have in mind though that if you don’t spend the necessary time working your business pages, you will be disappointed by the results and start believing that social media does not work for business (an assumption that is totally wrong).

#6 – Make your posts interesting

As I mentioned before, search engines and social media networks can only understand one thing, and this is content. This means that besides working on getting new followers, you also need content.
If you already have a content marketing strategy then your work on social media will be easier but if you don’t, then you need to come up with a plan, along these lines:

#7 – Timing does matter

The time and date you post something in social media matters a lot. As mentioned above, people have a lot of posts in their timelines and if they don’t see it ‘live’ then most probably they will never see it. Also you need to touch base at a time that your followers are relaxed and receptive.
For example, if you post something on Facebook and your followers are sleeping at that time, by the time they will wake up they will have hundreds of messages in their timeline and so there is no or little chance of seeing your post.
To solve this problem, you can schedule your postings so that you reach your target audience at a time where you have more followers online. Most social media offer statistics to let you know when you followers are most active. Take the time to study them before finalising your post strategy.

#8 – Follow up comments and mentions about your business

Social media is about two way communication and this means that you need to monitor your social media pages for comments about your business and definitely respond to both good and bad comments. You need to show your audience that you are reading what they have to say and care about their opinion.
Besides monitoring your business pages, you should also monitor the mentions about your brand name in across all social networks and take action where appropriate. A nice tool to do that is mention (it’s not free).

#9 – Measure the results and your return

If you don’t measure the effectiveness of social media then you won’t know if it worth’s your time or not. What to measure? How to measure?
Note: If you still at the beginning then most probably those numbers will be low or close to zero but don’t get disappointed, once you grow your followers you will notice that these numbers will start to increase as well.

#10 – If everything fails, leave it to the pros

Social media works for businesses and this is a fact. It is also true that every problem has a solution so if you don’t have the time or knowledge to make social media work for your business then leave it to the pros; we have different social media packages for each budget and need and we guarantee minimum results.
Take a look at the customers we manage and compare the content we develop for them in relation to wht you have developed. Ask for a quote and compare it to your cost and results.

Conclusion

Social media is a great tool for promoting your business online. It is the modern way to connect with your potential customers and if you want to stay in synch with the latest developments in marketing, you have to socialize your business.
Getting results is not hard but it is a time consuming process that needs patience and a lot of work. The competition is high in all networks and you need to do something special to get the attention of users and establish your social presence.