We’ve all heard it; “You just have to be using social media marketing.”
And the response from many business owners is; “I’m keen to try using social media to promote my small business but I’m not sure where to start.”
If this sounds like you, here are ten simple but effective tips that will help any business starting out with social media, no matter how big or small your budget.
Before you spend any time or money with any social media activities set goals that you can measure. Decide on two or three ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPIs). To help you work out what these should be, ask yourself what you actually want to get out of your campaign;
- Sales leads?
- Website traffic?
- Providing fantastic customer service?
- Something else?
Once you’ve answered that question, the performance indicators will be easy. Please don’t just aim to get 200 followers or 100 fans. Milestone numbers are nice but essentially pointless, in and of themselves.
For instance, if you only sell locally, having 5 followers from your region who are likely to become customers is obviously worth a lot more to you than 1,000 fans from Timbuktu who will never engage with your business.
2. Use your customers to create an initial fan base
This one seems like a no-brainer but a lot of people forget it. Tell your current customers that you’re on Twitter or Facebook – you’ll be amazed how many will join you.
It’s also a good chance to ask your customers what they would like to see on your social channels – it could be news from your sector or tips on how to bake cupcakes. People really appreciate feeling involved in the process and are much more likely to engage.
For more advice on this, read ByteStart’s guide on;
3. Develop engaging content
You’re an expert. You know your industry inside out. Use that knowledge – provide your followers with tips, updates, latest product news or exclusive deals.
Think about what you talk to customers about when you engage with them in real life. Other good ideas are inspirational quotes, ‘fill in the blanks’ and polls.
It’s important to remember that not every post is a sales pitch. Try and use the ratio of ten pieces of non-sales content to one piece of sales content. You can turn people off quickly by selling too much.
4. Ask your fans to retweet (RT) or share
Don’t do this on every post or tweet, but every now and then don’t be afraid be to encourage your followers to share your content:
For example: ‘Two for one pasties from the Moorish Cornish this Saturday. Please RT and bring the family down! See you there.’
5. Plan ahead
You can spend forever thinking of content but realistically, you probably don’t have time for that. The good news is that you can run a successful campaign with just an hour or two a week. The trick is scheduling.
There are free tools which allow you to put in content ahead of time which will be automatically released at whatever time you want your message to be posted. You can still post on an ad hoc basis but this technique will save you a lot of time.
6. Think about cross promotion
You’ve got a range of communication tools available, so use them! An email marketing campaign always works best when supported by social media and vice-versa.
Think about it like this – email marketing can start the fire and social media fans the flames. Encourage your mailing list to visit your social channels and let your followers know what they can get from signing up to your emails.
7. Say thank you
Just like your mother told you – ‘common courtesy goes a long way.’ The same is true on social. If someone retweets you, follows you or advocates your business – say thanks. Simple politeness is definitely a best practice.
8. Offer something exclusive
Let your followers and fans in on something they wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. Getting something exclusive will make them feel it’s worth checking in on your feed. It will also make them more likely to tell their friends about you.
For example, ‘Thanks to all pastry fans on Twitter. Come in to Moorish Cornish Pasties with the Twitter code (to be announced Sat) & we’ll give you 2-4-1.’
Review and analyse your results. Follow what content is creating the most engagement by seeing how many retweets or click-throughs each post gets. Use this to tailor your posts to ensure they keep producing results.
10. Relax and enjoy
Social is all about being real and transparent – it’s your opportunity to show off the personality of you and your business. Have fun and enjoy the opportunity to engage with your customers.
More social media help on ByteStart
For more tips on getting the most out of social media, try some of ByteStart’s other guides;
- 5 ways to maximise your business with social media
- Taking your business online – A Digital marketing guide for small business owners
- 6 ways to protect your brand and grow your business reputation in a social world
- How to get your customers talking online
- How to get started with Twitter
And for lots more great advice and help on successfully starting a new business make sure you read these ByteStart guides;
- 10 advantages running your business as a limited company has over being a sole trader
- How peer-to-peer lending offers start-ups and small businesses a new funding option
- 10 ways small business owners can pay less tax
- The start-up survival guide – 6 practical tips to help you get through the early years
- Which types of business insurance is your new business legally required to have?