Do your social media profiles resemble the Texas town of Adobes? What, you’ve never heard of it?
That’s because it fell from a booming farming community in the 1870s to a town of lonely and abandoned ruins and buildings sitting in a rocky prairie (It’s about 6 miles southeast of the town of Chinati in Presidio County if you ever want to visit!).
If your social media profiles look like that, know the situation isn’t hopeless. In fact, small businesses tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly, and they’re relatively easy to fix.
What should you do?
Analyze your social media profiles and see if you can’t create a small business social media strategy that works for you and your followers:
With any social media profile, consistency is key. With so many accounts, you see bunches of posts for a while…and then nothing. Other times you see 2 posts this week, 1 the next, and then nothing.
Remember, social media is a conversation – just like you talking with your friend standing next to you. To keep the conversation going, you have to say interesting things and ask questions.
What do you really need to be consistent? It depends on the site, but if you do around 3-4 updates per network per week, that’s all you need.
You can get away with more on Twitter, if you really like to post a lot.
Posting Only about Your Company
Of all the mistakes small businesses make, this is by far the biggest one. People do want to get to know your company.
But before they do, they want something of value from you first. From the 1970s – 1990s, businesses used a top-down approach of advertising: we’ll shout it at you until you buy it. So it seems many small business owners believe this approach still works today.
It doesn’t. Consumers want a personal experience on your social media sites.
Keep in mind the 80/20 rule: 80% of your posts should offer value (news or information from third-party sources in your industry), while 20% should offer promotions and updates regarding your company.
Use Different Forms of Media
Your posts should include videos, images, infographics, links, reports, white papers, case studies, and so on. Getting good information to your market is important, but equally important to your followers is how they consume the content.
By switching things up regularly, you keep things interesting on your social media profiles.
Isn’t it obvious that people should buy your company’s products and services? It may be to you, but do know this: they’re much more likely to take your desired action if you tell them to.
Keep in mind that 80/20 rule once again: 20% of your posts at max should encourage your visitors to make a purchase or act on a special offer.
Use Diverse Post Types
We already talked about using diverse forms of content in your posts, but you should also switch up how you present your posts.
For example, ask a question, post a survey, write a joke-of-the-day, post an astonishing fact…you get the idea. Then, study which types of posts work best at your social media accounts.
Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Ask your followers for ideas – they’ll be happy to provide feedback.
Interact with Your Audience, and Address Complaints
View social media like you’re having a casual conversation with an interested customer who just walked into your store.
What if they look annoyed and you say nothing? They probably won’t come back, so instead you ask them how you can help.
The same rule applies to social media. If someone complains or says something negative about your business on your profile (it’s inevitable and happens to everyone), address it. Ask your customer how you can resolve the issue, or get their contact information, resolve the situation privately, and then post the resolution on the site.
Public complaints are your opportunity to show your customers you care, and you’ll win more followers and increasingly engaged ones when you successfully resolve their concerns.
Want More Followers? Promote Your Profiles
The best way to get more people to follow you? Give them something for following. Run a special contest where a randomly selected winner gets a free dinner.
You have to be careful on Facebook though because it has rigid rules regarding contests.
Make sure you promote your contest both online and offline. Most businesses that do promote their Facebook profiles have a sign that says “Follow us on Facebook” on their front door.
That’s a good start – now promote the giveaway.
Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin…
The big dogs (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube) can easily consume most of your week if you’re not careful.
So what exactly should you do? You should be on Facebook for sure, and that should be your primary concern (that’s where you can get real business from the fastest). Twitter is also a must (especially if you’re B2B), and some sources claim teenagers and other demographics are leaving Facebook for Twitter. Pinterest is hit-and-miss – if your market is female or if your business lends itself well to visual advertising, (dentists, construction contractors, restaurants etc…) use it. Google+ has several hundred million users, virtually no engagement, but great SEO benefits, so use that too (don’t expect to get business – just SEO benefits from the shares). YouTube works well – just shoot videos with your smartphone and post – a very simple (but credibility-building tactic). LinkedIn should be pretty low on your list – it typically works best for bigger businesses.
Use Hootsuite, an app that allows you to manage all your social media profiles from one place. You can also schedule your posts for all profiles, and the app is free.
Make it your goal to spend around 2 hours per week (max) managing your social media accounts if you use all 6 of these.
Small Business Social Media Marketing Involves Hard Work
I’m not going to lie – it’s difficult to get a serious following and real business from social media. So many people and businesses have a presence on it, that it’s difficult to stand out.
But if you follow these simple tips and take the time to turn your offline customers into followers, you can reap some real business benefits.