Basic Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
If you don’t know by now, I love social media. So much so that I’ve created a career and plenty of passion projects around social. Some background: by day I am the Social Media Content Lead at Amtrak (hit me up on LinkedIn) and by night I’m a Master Vixen Workout Instructor (small business in the houseeeee).
I have the unique position of running social media accounts at two very different levels: at one level I have my small, personal accounts used to promote my dance fitness classes and at the other I have blue-chip verified accounts with almost a million followers across all platforms (platforms mean Facebook, Twitter, IG, etc.).
I get a ton of questions about social media, and seeing as how it changed my life personally and professionally, I wanted to give back to the community (hi, reader!). Here are some basic social media tips for small businesses and entrepreneurs:
Big corporations and brands usually have a presence on all of social media platforms because they have the resources. Assuming you have a lean team, you need to approach platforms from a rational standpoint. First, imagine your ideal customer and think about where they are most active. You can find this info by doing some Google research and by going out on the “field.” Second, based on your bandwidth, honestly evaluate how much time you can commit to a platform. These steps go hand-in-hand: let’s say you know your audience is on the holy trinity – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – but you’re a one-man team, you’re better off devoting yourself to one platform and providing a stellar branded experience. Don’t spread yourself thin, because it WILL show.
Find Inspiration and Role Models
Now that you’ve decided what platform you’re sticking to, it’s time to work on your content (this means “what you’ll post”). The first step in this process is to learn best practices and find inspiration. I suggest following accounts you admire or that have a strong social presence: competitors, lookalikes, general brands. Just find profiles that you feel are killing the social game and study their behavior. What kind of media are they posting: images, videos, stories? Do they have a theme on their account: colors, fonts, flyers? Look at their copy (this means what they’re writing) – does it have a strong voice? What kind of info are they writing about? Then finally, look at their customer service: how are they engaging with their followers? Your goal is to set a benchmark of what a quality social media account is and to build goals around those benchmarks. Following these accounts will also help you identify new trends and industry practices.
Content creation can be as simple and as advanced as you choose to make it. It’s not about how fancy you get, it’s about getting your point across (what your company is about, new event you have, upcoming sale). A good quality picture and concise writing can go a long way. If you wanna try different creative approaches, you can hire a freelance graphic designer or start looking into apps. Most creative apps offer free services – again, google these and you’ll be surprised at how many applications can empower you to take your content to the next level.
No matter how you choose to create your content, the only rule of thumb is quality. People won’t want to visit your profile or follow you if the visuals don’t look good and the writing doesn’t make sense.
Example: the creative thread of my profile is loud, contrasted, saturated neon colors mixed with some lettering. Some of my stuff is created by pros, others by apps. Can you tell the difference?
Having a profile and posting are not enough. You need to actively participate on these platforms. Customer service comes first: respond to every comment and message that comes through. Second is to engage with the content of your lookalikes/competitors. Why? Not only is it good practice to support everyone in your industry, but the platform will recognize that you’re liking a specific kind of content/industry. Once you’re recognized within that interest group, your profile will attract users that have similar interests, e.g. you’ll show up as a recommended profile to follow. Here’s an example to make better sense of what I’m talking about: let’s say you sell wooden floors. If you post about wooden floors on your profile, talk about wooden floors everywhere on that platform and follow other profiles that also talk about wooden floors, the platform will recognize that you’re a wooden floor enthusiast. Now let’s pretend a user is shopping around for wooden floors and looks to social media to find inspiration. The platform will recognize this user’s interest and recommend that they follow you because you have that similar interest!
Walk through these steps every quarter. Social media is constantly changing, so you’ll need to be on your toes. Covering your basics will help give potential customers another way to discover and reach you. Good luck!