Mastering social media for small business

Top tips to apply in your first year

Social media has changed the face of business forever, and this has never been more true than for the past few years and the realisation of companies and businesses, the world over, that it isn’t all about them- it’s about the customer and their experiences.

What were once promotional platforms, in the eyes of business, have now started to be used for something more. When a business becomes ‘social’, they are inviting interaction, dialogue and understanding – this very social presence can be more powerful than any marketing strategy, and it is becoming more important with each passing day.

Like anything else, though, there is most definitely a right way and wrong way. The following tips can be applied to any social network, so be sure to take notes – regardless of your platform of choice.

The best way to start mastering social media for small business, is to start!

Decide what your goals are. You may not always be chasing the sale, perhaps your aim is provide updates for existing customers. Whatever you aim to do, you need to make sure that you are in the right place.

If you know that the majority of your customers use Facebook, then perhaps a page there would be better than focussing on Twitter, tweeting away into the darkness. While follower counts are not the ‘be all and end all’, remember- quality over quantity- you do need to be sure that your followers are relevant – so choose your platform carefully.

Another main point to keep in mind is to be consistent, across all of your channels.

Share your thoughts, ideas and things your audience might enjoy…

When you start posting, you should be thinking of the people who are going to be reading your posts and are they going to get anything out of it – the internet would not exist without people, and it’s easy to lose sight of that. If you keep that one, very basic, fact in mind – you’re on the right track to creating content that people actually want to see/read/listen to.

Learn to be social

It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised at how many brands are stuck in the mindset that it’s all about the advertisement. This way of thinking is not just archaic, but it will hurt your business in more ways than you can imagine.

Learn to interact with people and comment, in a helpful way that isn’t self promoting, on their status updates.

A good idea, in order to find those conversations that you should be taking part in, is by leveraging the humble hashtag. Search for keywords relating to your industry, and zero in on the posts and commentaries that you can add your voice to.

If you find that people are talking about your business specifically, then this is a great opportunity to address issues, answer questions and really get to know your target audience.

Pictures paint a thousand words

Posts, tweets and updates are twice more likely to be shared when they have a large, bright and relevant image attached – emphasis on the relevant.

Between 65 and 80% of people would describe themselves as visual learners, and this means that they are naturally more ‘attracted’ to (and more likely to engage with) posts that include attractive, bold imagery.

Infographics are great way of doing this, as are the animated variety. If you can get an animated infographic to go viral, you are well on your way to mastering social media for your small business.

Don’t underestimate the power of the Plus

More businesses are flocking to Google Plus every day, leaving behind the former traffic magnet that was Facebook (there is still a lot to be said for Facebook and business, many believe G+ to be a much more viable option) – mostly because of the drastic reduction in ad/post reach.

Google Plus, on the other hand, is hard-wired directly into the worlds two largest search engines; Google Search & YouTube. This alone makes it an absolute powerhouse when it comes to ranking, getting discovered and increasing your potential reach.

If you are serious about getting your business discovered using Google, then there is no better social media site than Google Plus to help you do that – the fact that every created post is actually a fully fledged web page, which can also be leveraged for SEO, means that they can be discovered in Google search. With that in mind, it may well pay to treat every post as a page on your website!

Syndicate your content

Syndication is something that many businesses overlook, and is a big lesson to learn in mastering social media for small business.

Many people mistakenly believe that syndication is the same as duplicate content, and even more think that they will be penalised for even thinking the word ‘duplicate’.

The truth is, the web is full of plagiarism, in one form or another (think review sites, lyric sites, product descriptions… It’s everywhere) – if everyone was penalised, nothing would be published!

What happens, instead, is that a search engine will reveal just one result where it finds several – and it will choose the ‘best’ one (the jury is still out on exactly how that works).

So, why syndicate? Content syndication opens up more avenues of opportunity and increases your potential reach, exposure and leads. All you need to do is copy your excellent piece of written content, and post it on your social channels and other websites that you can publish content to.

Remember what I said about plagiarism? Make sure that you have made it clear that you are the verified author (people say authorship is dead, but I strongly disagree) and that you use the same email address across your social and publishing sites.

In the end, it’s all about being the best you that you can be

It has been said that you should blog (or post) as though your grandmother was watching over your shoulder, and that actually isn’t bad advice.

Showcase the best bits of you and your business, without becoming a hawker, and the rest will follow naturally. Organic leads are the most powerful, and the customers generated by them are much more likely to turn into repeat business.

Final thoughts

Using the above tips and guidelines, you should be finding yourself quite adept on the social media scene before you know it, and even finding new tips and tricks of your own.

If you find yourself needing more support over and above your initial endeavors and you feel like getting in contact, then we will , of course, be happy to discuss things with you.

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