If you own a small business, you know what it’s like to wear several hats. For many small business owners, social media simply isn’t their thing. It could be a matter of not being social media savvy, maybe you’re not sure what to post and where to post it, or maybe it’s just a matter of not having enough hours in a day.
But if you’re trying to make the most of social media, follow these 4 best practices to help you use social media to grow your business.
1) Be Authentic. Be You.
No one wants to follow a corporate robot on social media. Keeping it simple and genuine is what people actually want.
One way to do this is by sharing pictures or videos of what’s going on behind the scenes. Let’s say you own a pizzeria. Take a quick video of garlic knots being made or a fresh pie coming out of the oven. Boom. Daily social media post taken care of.
Your social posts don’t have to be flashy all the time. As long as you have a phone with a decent camera, you can easily put out good social media content that people want to see.
2) Don’t try to be everywhere all the time
Now that sounds vague, but I’ll break it down.
Focus on 1-2 platforms where your audience is hanging out. You don’t have to be present on every single social media platform.
Let’s say you own a restaurant. If you own a restaurant, you could focus on Facebook groups -- specifically local foodie groups. On Long Island, the foodie Facebook groups are STRONG. They have a loyal and engaged audience who are willing to spend on good experiences and quality food and drinks. The admins of one group have a list of restaurant “partners” which offer discounts when mentioning that you’re part of the group. As a restaurant owner, frequently engaging in this group and personally inviting people to your restaurant will yield great results. And tagging your restaurant’s Facebook page will help grow the page’s following.
If you own a local brick and mortar store where you sell your products and services in your own geographic area, it would probably be in your best interest to be on Facebook and Instagram. Like if you have a barber shop, a bakery, or a local pet store.
Think of your target audience and why they shop with you. Now try to come up with a consistent posting schedule and think of ways you can either engage with, entertain, or educate your audience based on those needs.
When it comes to Facebook pages, Instagram, and Twitter, a frequent question people ask is “How many times should I post per day?” That number is whatever you can consistently commit to. You have to be real and honest with yourself about what you can commit to, and stay consistent.
As far as what kinds of things you should post, it should be a blend of different things:
- Behind the scenes content like I mentioned earlier
- UGC (User Generated Content) -- if a customer posts a picture raving about how great their experience shopping with you is, ask them if you can share the photo
- Updates - updates to hours, new specials or promotions you’re running, new team members who may have joined your team
- Communicating with the people who follow you -- ask them questions, respond to their comments, follow your customers back
3) The number of followers you have does not equal social media success
Quality is so much more important than quantity when it comes to social media followers. 200 engaged followers is so much better than 2000 random followers. Don’t obsess over the amount of followers you have. Instead, focus on putting out quality content in a consistent way. And absolutely DO NOT buy followers. You can’t fool Facebook, and your page will be shut down if you decide to buy fake followers.
When it comes to building your following, be patient. Building a solid presence on social media takes time, and is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint.
To summarize, putting out quality content, responding to comments, interacting with people, and engaging consistently, is the way to do social media right.
4) Don’t constantly be selling on social media
The point of social media is to be social. You want to use the platforms that you’re on to speak WITH your audience instead of AT your audience.
Don’t think of your Facebook or Instagram page as an online billboard for your business. Think of it as a way to learn more about your audience. As long as you’re consistently showing up and providing real VALUE, you will see social media success.
And now, I want to hear from you! Whether you’re a small business owner or you handle marketing at a business, what has worked and hasn’t worked for you on social media? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.