So you are a small business and you want to start in the world of social media. But you are probably thinking where do you start, which network should you be on, what types of things should you be sharing and how do you do it correctly?
Search for the answers no longer as we asked 40 Social Media Experts for their top tips and strategies for Small Business on Social Media. Simply scroll down for lots of advice and tips, or click the names below if you want to jump straight to your favorite experts’ tips!
My top tip for small businesses on social media is to not bite off more than you can chew. Just because everyone says some platform is the new hotness and simply everyone is on it and you have to be or else you’ll be left in the dust, well, that doesn’t mean you have to be. Figure out where your audience is, and go there. Use whatever data you can to measure the success of your efforts. And above all, be real – speak to your audience as if they’re people who matter.
As social media continues to evolve, it has become one of the easiest ways for small businesses to get their story out. I tell my clients to focus on one or two channels and develop content that supports the business plan and objectives. Social media should be a way for businesses to be found online but it should be a driver to the business website. Small businesses have limited time and resources and they must rely on social media to drive commerce and traffic to the website. The challenge is selecting the right messages and knowing where the target audience is online. Analytics and data/information will be a key driver to determining the best strategies.
It’s never too early to start thinking about PR. A small business might not have the resources of the big brands, but the relationships you build are just as crucial – if not more at this stage. When you’re small (and frankly unpopular to the masses), you can’t simply tweet something and expect it to be found. You have to find the time to locate influencers, find what makes you special, and try to find a reason to reach out. Ideally produce and share something mutually beneficial. Build serendipity everywhere you can, on every platform your audience hangs out. It might take months to years, but it can pay out if you truly have something worth sharing.
In addition, I also recommend taking advantage of paid promotion through social channels. It helps give you a head start if you target the right audiences.
Small business owner’s biggest obstacles are usually lack of time and money. When it comes to social media, you’re faced with an overwhelming number of choices! Should you do Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram… all of them? Is there a way to do it all? You can create content but try to put it on all of them but they all feel so different there’s no one kind of content that fits on all of them. You can’t do it all! And each platform has a different amount of reach and power. Each one has different major demographics.
Where is your customer? Which social media site has the most of your customers? For most small businesses, Facebook has the most potential customers. And it has the most powerful ad platform. LinkedIn ads don’t work very well unless you use enhanced ads which required a $30k/month investment. The problem with not using ads – with doing organic only – is that you don’t know who you’re going to reach, when you’ll reach them, or if you’ll reach anyone. You have to be a genius at creating amazing content every time. And nobody is. It doesn’t work.
So whether you are selling to consumers or businesses, Facebook ads work very well. But you have to choose the right ad goal. If you boost posts, Facebook will put you primarily in front of people who do a lot of liking, commenting and sharing, not a lot of link clicking, filling out of forms or buying.