Social Media could be that boost your small business needs to really take off.
Being a small business, it can often feel like an uphill battle to get your name out into the world and recognized. Unfortunately with the way 2020 has gone, it’s even more challenging to stay open let alone get started as a small business. Thankfully, there is one key tool they can springboard you into small business success – social media. Nearly 4 billion users span across social media giants Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with another 2 billion on YouTube if you’re keen on running video advertisements.
You may be wondering at this point, why do these numbers matter? Well, for the most part, these 3 giants are “free to play” – meaning you don’t have to pay for ads if you don’t want to (but it definitely will help). That means you have a potentially free reach of 4 billion users – of course you won’t reach every user on every platform – but the odds of growth are there for the right niche. So how can you get your stake in this vast world of potential customers?
3 Simple Tips on How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Small Business
1. Do your Research
This may sound like your least favorite English teacher from high school but it holds value. Before you should look at social media for your small business, you need to find out some key information to be successful, otherwise you are going to waste a lot of time, resources, and potentially money with no gain.
When you start your journey with social media for your small business, you need to take into consideration:
What is your competition’s presence like?
Competition is healthy in business, it lets you have something to continue working on improving so that you can stay on top of your market. What does your competition look like on social media? Do they have a lot of followers? How does their content look? Make a note of all of these positive aspects that you find on their accounts so that you can have a reference point for the BARE MINIMUM that you have to do to make your own small business presence stand a chance.
Are there areas that you can improve on that they are not doing?
Now that you have a good idea of what your competition is doing right – look for what they are doing wrong. What is their response time like to questions on their posts? Are they engaging with their community or just dumping content so that it remains “active looking?” 40% of consumers use social media platforms to research topics or brands as part of their consideration in making a purchase. If you can find 4-5 aspects of their presence that are sub-par, these are going to be great targets for improvement and will give your business an upper-hand if you’re more engaged with the community and posting more relevant content.
What kind of community are you wanting to build?
This one should be very easy to answer – what kind of people do you want to interact with and follow your social media accounts. If you’re a bakery, you’ll want people that enjoyed baking – potentially sharing recipes with your community. If you’re a gym, you’ll want people that are into fitness / healthy lifestyles. You get the idea. Think about your business from a customer perspective – do you like the vision you see?
What is your overall goal for your social media presence?
Lastly, you want to think about where you want to take your business on social media. Do you want to boost your sales in your local community by offering discounts? Do you want to grow beyond your local area through the virality of your followers sharing your content? Do you simply just want to build a community of people that engage with your content?
Once you can answer these 4 basic questions, you will have a better understanding of what you need to do to grow a successful small business social media presence.
2. Stay Local (at first)
Being a small business your local market is going to be your stepping stone to growth, so stay close. Nearly 46% of all Google searches are local based, with an 88% rate of a customer who viewed a business online visiting within 24 hours. Depending on the niche of your business this may vary of course but the more relationships you can build in your immediate area at the start, the easier expanding through word of mouth and social media shares will become for you later on. Local SEO is going to be your friend when you’re a small business, so don’t skimp on the effort in setting it up.
The first course of action you should take on social media is building these relationships – ask friends to like your pages and share your content if they want to. Don’t feel offended if someone chooses to not like & share, this doesn’t mean they don’t like your work and they still support your endeavor, they just may not relate to it in the same way your target audience will. Once you’ve built a close connection to friends and family in your local market, you may consider running a small advertisement on Facebook – do it.
As mentioned previously, social media platforms for the most part are “free to play” but to get momentum really going you’re going to have to pay. You can run small $3 – $5 advertisements in a ~20 mile radius and still manage success but this will all vary based on where you are actually operating and what your population numbers are like. Over time, and with continued effort you’ll start to see success and with any luck, your page will begin to grow more organically with minimal work on your part, but this doesn’t mean you can stop at this point.
3. Engage & Build Relationships
So you’ve had family and friends like your page, their sharing your work, and you’re starting to see success in growth of your numbers, what now? The thing with social media is it’s built on reciprocity – the more you’re engaged, the more your community will feel the need to engage with you.
Make sure that you’re staying engaged by liking comments on your posts, responding to questions / comments on your business or work. The more you interact with your community, the more you’ll begin to notice “ambassadors”, or those members that truly support you and are always interacting through shares or comments. These are going to be key members of your community and success, because in conversation when someone asks a question about a topic your business is involved in, they are going to be more likely to refer to you.
Another great way of growing engagement is posting offers to your community for discounts if you’re an eCommerce business, or discounts when they stop in store and make a purchase. Word of caution: Don’t over do this. While you may see huge success with this one or two times, doing these types of community engagement actions can come across as being desperate – if you’re always offering 30% off for going into your store, it’s going to lose its appeal quickly, so do them in moderation.
Bonus: You can also go the route of looking for influencers in your niche to connect and collaborate with. Hootsuite has a great article covering when and how to work with influencers, and they also cover some of the pitfalls of going this route. This option is going to be specific to only a few niches (beauty and health are the two largest) so don’t fret if your business doesn’t boast a large opportunity for influencers to connect with, but I would highly recommend reading through it if this is an option you are considering.
🎉 And that’s it! 🎉
By no means is this list exhaustive and there is so much more that you can do with a social media presence as a small business. If you started off but hit a roadblock with your small business, we at Logan Poynter Development can work with you to audit your plans, see what can work, and help you achieve small business success!