Using social media for small business marketing is a cost-efficient — and, in some cases, free — opportunity entrepreneurs can harness to form a deeper connection with existing customers, reach new prospects, and conduct targeted paid and unpaid campaigns that will help your promotions, blog posts and other messages reach the audience you intend.
Since only 25 percent of small business owners don’t use social media to connect with customers, it’s important that you understand the best practices of social media for small business to ensure the time, money and human resources you invest into it provide value, and ideally, help you meet your business goals.
Here are some simple tips to help you manage social media as a small business owner, and how to make it a standard function of your overall business operation.
Identify your goals
You can achieve any number of goals using social media for small business, but you have to know what you want to accomplish in order to determine which types of content to publish to reach them. If you want to improve sales of a specific item, for example, social media content that promotes a special discount code available only to social media followers, or a flash sale that drives increased sales to anyone who sees the post, could help you reach the goal. If you’re using social media to increase the size of your email user database, on the other hand, social media content that promotes a sweepstakes entry in exchange for an email address could be an effective tactic. Define what you want to accomplish with your social media activity first, and then consider which networks, content types and calls to action are most likely to deliver on your objectives.
Focus your efforts on the right networks
Between Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn, there’s no shortage of social media networks you can use to market your business — but they’re not all necessarily the best fit for the social media audience you want to reach.
If you specifically want to reach a younger customer, for example, Instagram and Snapchat tend to have a young user base. Pinterest users tend to be female, while LinkedIn may be the best fit for B2B marketing. If your social media strategy is simply to reach as many people as possible, Facebook, which is used by nearly 80 percent of all people who use the Internet, may help you cast the widest net.
Establish a consistent posting strategy
One of the most important best practices of social media for small business is to be consistent with when you will post. Though there is no magic number that’s best for every business, it’s important to establish a rhythm for how frequently you’ll post — for your planning purposes, and to set expectations with your audience. As you establish a cadence for how often you’ll use social media for small business marketing, you can begin to measure the analytics of each post to fine tune what types of content your audience tends to respond to, or share most often.