Social media is an extremely valuable tool for small businesses. If you're just starting out on social media, you might not know how to make the most of your account. With studies reporting that approximately 72% of adults use social media, your business can not afford to ignore the medium. Where should you start?
It's important to remember that your company's presence on social media doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to consume all of your time and it doesn't have to stress you out.
Like most things life, social media is best when you keep it simple. Dedicate some time to it but don't go overboard. Place your focus on the platforms which will serve your company the best (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and be yourself. Don't worry about reinventing the wheel. While innovation is a good thing, you don't need to over think your plan when starting out.
That's up to you. Every company is different. However, your content should serve a purpose and fulfill a need. If all you do is promote your business, consumers will tune out. You can put up advertisements and promotions, but make sure it's of value. Aside from relevant, useful content for your readers, you should be having conversations with your customers. An engaged consumer is a customer every small business wants.
Worried that you'll receive waves of criticism? You might, but you should take it as it comes. An active company account on social media will open the door to plenty of negative comments. You'll also see plenty of positive ones. Treat all of this feedback equally and try your best to learn and grow as a company based on the feedback you receive.
The way you shape your words with social media make a big difference in how customers and strangers react to your business. We all strive to have lots of followers on Facebook and Twitter, but how do we get to that point? The answer isn't just content—it's authenticity. Authenticity is the greatest asset you can have, as it directly affects trust and attention. If your customers know you act in a way that seems genuinely helpful, and that you care, they will be more likely to take action when you sell to them.
Many small businesses hear this and immediately think, "Sure, this all sounds great, how do I become recognized as an authentic thought leader in the quickest time possible?" The truth is, building authenticity isn't just a magical flick of the switch where customers instantly give you the time of day! Strong customer connections are built over a period of time, and require adapting your voice to the audience you want to reach. For example:
If the social media landscape is a neighborhood, think of yourself as the new kid that just moved in. You want to make friends, but nobody knows you yet, or what you're like. Does this mean everyone is immediately going to trust what you have to say and connect with you? You're on their turf now. Earn your way by proving your trust and value, all of which happens gradually.
What makes people follow the brands or businesses they do on social media sites? It is their unique voice, their communication that strives to be helpful, informative, entertaining, or even playful. The way you engage others follows a similar formula: your language should fit your objectives and values, while modifying slightly to adopt a tone that keeps conversation going. Without your voice, you're just another business in a sea of competitors, vying for the ever shrinking attention of everyone with a social media account.
Pay attention to how others react to your voice, and don't be afraid to tweak it. Ultimately, you want your personality to shine through, and it won't just happen if you take on the same monotonous tone day in and day out. Study your competition, and see how others in your industry are doing it. Are they successful, and if so, what approach are they taking? Can you find a way to build upon their mistakes and victories, and increase your authenticity?
Those are the basics. It doesn't have to be overly complicated. However, there are other ways you can try to use social media in order for your company to break through the social media clutter. If you'd like additional tips and advanced advice, contact Seafoam Media. Our St. Louis Social Media Agency specializes in creating unique and specialized social media strategies for small businesses.