If you have a social media account – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – you will have seen plenty of instances of business, big and small, promoting their products. Indeed, it’s become so commonplace to see adverts and marketing campaigns among posts from your friends that you tend not to think about them. However, you “not thinking” about products and services being touted on social media isn’t very good for the businesses behind them. But what makes social media marketing effective? The good thing is that it’s a level playing field. A small business with a creative idea can launch a campaign with as much impact as a corporation with unlimited resources. But what do small businesses do right? And, what do they get wrong? Let’s have a look at some important principles:
It’s estimated that 70% of UK small businesses now have a social media presence. One problem, however, is some firms will launch the social media page and leave it idle, later wondering why it’s not working. Being proactive is the key here, making regular posts and reminding followers of the existence of your product. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it. If you, for example, design paper clips, even your close friends will get tired of seeing countless posts each day. It’s a good idea to set a structure, scheduling a new post each day at a certain time or on a few selected days each week.
But Prioritise Quality Over Quantity
Without sounding like contradicting what was said above, you should not bother posting if you do not have anything to say. Holding back a post until something noteworthy is announced means that followers will be intrigued as to what you have to say. Constant streams of boring posts will blur into the background for social media users. Engaging content doesn’t always have to be witty or ground-breaking – it’s more important to have something relevant to say.
A Full Profile
Often overlooked is the seemingly unimportant task of rounding out your profile. Get as much information in there as possible, including contact details. The point is that users are more likely to trust a company when it provides details of who they are and how to find them.
We spoke about trust above. That trust is reinforced when posts are well-written and not full of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. You don’t need to be a linguistics professor, but be aware that shabby spelling will make your posts and, by extension, your business seem unprofessional.
A Social Media ‘Eco-System’
It’s widely accepted that Facebook is better for small business when compared to something like Twitter. However, there are lots of options to grow and connect on other social media sites. YouTube, where 5 billion videos are watched each day, is a good starting point. While YouTube is seen as an entertainment site, there are large swathes of it given to marketing. You’ll see all types of videos encouraging you to do everything from buying skin products to signing-up to online roulette. The good thing is that YouTube acts as a nexus, allowing you to draw viewers away from YouTube and on to your website or other social media pages.
Promos and Competitions
We’ve all seen those like and share competitions on Facebook, and it’s evident that people love a freebie. Technically these competitions are actually in breach of Facebook’s rules, but it’s become a bit of a grey area with most small businesses ignoring the rules. If you do run a competition, you should be transparent about it – perhaps recording results in a video. Moreover, it’s better to run a contest in line with promoting a new product or bit of news rather than doing it for the sake of it.
Support Local Causes
Social media is full of good causes, and many of them will be local to your own business. It offers a good chance to connect with people in your area, as well as helping with the outreach of those charities and campaigns.
Engage with Trends
If everyone is talking about Love Island or the World Cup, then you should get involved. It allows followers to see that your business is engaged with what’s going on in the wider world. It will also help with social media algorithms, allowing more people to find your content.
But Stay Clear of Politics
Everyone will have an opinion on, say, Donald Trump or Brexit, but is voicing your opinion really going to help your business? We live in remarkably polarised times in the UK, and tensions are running high. The moment your business starts wading in on a debate, it could potentially alienate a lot of potential customers – even if you believe you are in the right.