You did it! You started your small business. You have a talent to share with the world and you KNOW you can be good at this.
You know how to make a great product or provide an excellent service. You relate to your customers, you balance your books, and you’ve even got a catchy logo.
What you weren’t prepared for were all the “things” associated with running your business. Accounts, marketing, scale, negotiations, email, websites.
Take social media for example. You feel comfortable with a few platforms for personal use. You like Facebook for keeping up with loved ones, Pinterest for building your dream home, and Twitter for the latest news.
Running a social media account for your business is a whole different ball game!
What is SEO, do I need to buy Facebook ads, and why are my post’s engagements dropping?
You are not alone! I’ve got 5 tips to help you leverage social media for your small business.
1. Know your goals with social media
For most small businesses, your goal is going to be getting that money honey! I know. As much as we may have found our dream job, dreams don’t pay the bills.
The catch is, social media doesn’t pay the bills (not unless you’re on the road to being an influencer, but this article is not for those people). The first thing you need to realize is that social media is only a tool. It’s a powerful tool; like a hammer or a saw, but still just a tool.
One goal may be lead generation. This is where you convert social media followers into paying customers. You take them from your social media platform, over to your website or landing page where they make a purchase from you.
Once you’ve done the hard work of turning a lead into a paying customers, you need to maintain a relationship with them so they buy again. This means you need to nurture current followers. Engage with them, add value to their life, inspire them, all the things you appreciate in your real-world relationships.
Another goal may be customer service. This is usually a goal for larger corporations like airlines and banks, but it’s worth mentioning. Social media is a great place to answer frequently asked questions, resolves issues, and keep a pulse on public opinion of your brand.
Social media is a tool for supplementing other programs or projects you may be working on. You may not have a course to launch or a special to run at the moment, but you can still build brand awareness through social media.
2. Set reasonable expectations
Don’t get distracted by vanity measures! I think I repeat this line more than any other. Likes, followers, views and other similar metrics actually mean very little. Sure, we need to track them because they provide valuable insights, but at the same time, likes and views don’t pay the bills.
Those metrics help us know which pieces of content our audience wants to consume. They tell us which pieces of content our audience does NOT want to consume (this one hurts a little).
Those metrics help us make decisions about whether or not we are hitting our goals and should be considered when planning our KPIs (key performance indicators). Beyond that, they’re fluff.
Be patient! There’s a lot of trial and error. The thing to remember about social media is it’s used by people who are constantly changing and evolving and it’s run by people who want more and more money every day.
This makes it a “little” unpredictable. Analytics change, cultures change, ownership change. Stuff happens. The good news is there are social media managers out there who spend all their time keeping up on these trends. Reach out to one *cough* (me) if you need some help navigating those murky waters.
3. Know the platform, it’s analytics, and its audience
Each platform is unique. They’re each tailored to meet the needs of a slightly different audience. There is always some overlap, but most small businesses can narrow down their target audience, then find the best one or two platforms for their audience.
For instance, Facebook tends to attract both men and women between the ages of 30-50. LinkedIn attracts mostly degree holding business professionals. Tik Tok has a very young audience and is strictly video content.
Know your audience first (age, gender, interests, demographics, location, etc), narrow down to one or two platforms, then learn more about how those platforms operate, their analytics, and specialized content.
Instagram used to be all about sharing photos, but about a year ago, they announced their plan to compete with Tik Tok. This means the Instagram analytics now reward creators who post reels, where static posts don’t perform as well as they used to. This switch was particularly frustrating to business owners who’d sought the platform for photo sharing in the first place.
There are ways to create and use reels without learning any trendy new dance moves. I’ll share those in more depth in a separate blog.
4. Create a strategy
Some of this section will feel like repetition because I’ve mentions pieces already. That’s ok, repetition builds connections. I also want to make sure key insights are soaking into your wavy gray matter.
Know your goals. You cannot build a house without a blueprint. You cannot run a successful social media campaign without clear goals. Do you want to drive followers to your website? Do you want to build brand awareness? Do you want to provide customer service?
Your content will look very different for each of these goals.
Know your target audience! Here’s that repetition I mentioned a second ago. You cannot offer someone on the internet value unless you know what’s valuable to them. There are some great tools from sites like Hubspot that walk you through a very detailed buyer persona. Have fun with it. Create 2 or 3, then think of those persona when designing your social media content.
Create a plan. Your social media plan is a portion of your social media strategy. The plan breaks down the details of what you will post, when you will post it, why you post it and how you post it.
What you post should be decided by the 2-3 pillars defining your small business. If you sell crochet stuffed toys (my cousins do and they’re awesome!), your pillars may be markets, fibers, and crafts. If you’re a realtor, your pillars may be homes, finance, and smaller details like landscaping and decor.
These pillars will be the goalposts for your content. You will make posts that fit into these categories. This ensures you stay focused and attract the RIGHT customers.
For instance, I stick to copywriting, social media, and branding. All my business content falls into one of these categories. Content about yourself or content considered sharable (funny, motivational, or controversial) is an extra, but should still be on-brand.
Execute with consistency. Take your time with your strategy and your plan, then stay consistent. You will hear a variety of “strategies” out there. Some of it is click-bait. Some of it is scare tactics.
You’ll read or hear that you should post one reel a day, 5 stories a day, and blah, blah, blah. Sure, maybe for a larger business with a bigger wallet. But that’s probably not reasonable for you.
Burnout and frustration will not help you. Be reasonable with your expectations of yourself and your time. I usually recommend one reel and 2 static posts a week for platforms like Instagram and Facebook. It seems to be universally manageable and gets good results.
Track your analytics. You need to know what’s working and what’s not. Don’t waste your time creating trendy content if your followers don’t connect with it. Look at insights, take screenshots, jot down numbers, do what you need to keep track progress and lack of progress.
Then make sure you’re adjusting your plan to fit the needs of your followers. If they like pictures of nature in the background of your posts, give it to them! If they like seeing your face, do more of that!
Look into the days and time of day that seem to get more attention as well. This takes some time and experimenting, but it’s useful information.
5. Consider hiring a professional to save you time and effort.
There is so much more I could cover, but way too much to put into one blog post. Know this: there’s a reason social media management is a full-time job and there’s a reason people make good money doing it. IT’S NOT EASY! And it takes a lot of time and research to do it well.
Try these steps and tips. I know they will go a long way in helping you leverage your social media. When you get super successful or super burnt-out, give me a call and I’d love to take this load off your shoulders.