Social media platforms are not a novelty anymore. Facebook, for instance, has already celebrated its 10th anniversary, prompting users to share the video of their 10 years of usage via their profiles. However, the art of social media management is a complex and delicate process that has not been part of business activities for very long. In fact, up to a few years ago, several companies entrusted their social media platforms to a member of the marketing team – preferably junior in an attempt to keep them busy.
However, gradually social media experts and trained social media managers have transformed the way companies think of their online presence. As a result, large and midsize companies have actively developed their digital image, hiring a social media team to maintain their profiles updated and engaging day after day.
Small businesses, on the other hand, struggle to keep up with the pace. Lacking the resources to bring a social media manager to their team, they’ve left the business owner in charge of social media accounts. If the situation sounds familiar, don’t despair: Here are the top 10 tips you can learn from experts to boost your social media presence.
#1. The basics: Get that killer business profile
With more and more social media platforms, each profile you create needs to suit both the platform personality and your own company. LinkedIn company pages, for instance, are designed to uphold your values and mission in the business environment. The tone is professional, and the imagery you choose need to emphasize your business claims. On the other end of the spectrum, Facebook business pages give business owners a completely different perspective on the social media world. With over 2.23 billion active users per month, Facebook is the ideal exposure platform for small brands. Your business info needs to be displayed on the page – that includes location, business category and contact details. Facebook prompts you to upload your profile and background images – both are essential to your brand image. You can also place a CTA button on top of the page, to boost engagement. The more info you provide, the easier it will be for followers to interact with your brand.
#2. Show your human side online
Creating your profile and filling it up with the relevant business data is one the first step. You need to understand the core of social media communication to move to the next level. Indeed, social media provides users with the ability to create and share content, making it a vast exchange platform for user-centric content. In other words, while visitors coming to your website can’t actively interact, comment or add content to the site, social media users are constantly in the process of content creation, making social media platforms a growing and living organism. As a result, to belong to the organically fabricated network, you need to act as a human user. The last thing people want in their feeds is to spot corporate text. Your brand needs to maintain and cultivate its human side above all.
#3. Engage with prospects and contacts
Ultimately, human users interact with each other. The best use you can make of your social media account is to extend its presence to reach out to your audience. Don’t just share your quota of information but bring personal interactions at the center of your activities. For instance, if you’re attending a networking event, use your social media profile to build connections with the leads and partners you want to engage with. Something as simple as commenting on their event post or liking the picture of their booth can act as a business introduction. You can apply the same method to every business activities, such as thanking suppliers with an online @mention or even connecting with active clients. Your social media profile is an extension of your business presence and should support networking efforts.
#4. Don’t let questions unanswered
Because most customers think of social media platforms as a way to get in touch with a real person in your company, you’ll find that many turn to Twitter, Facebook or even Instagram with queries, complaints and comments. According to a recent study by Eptica, customers wait on average over one day to receive an answer on a comment on Facebook, while it takes ‘only’ 7 hours via Twitter. Unfortunately, these figures only display how slow companies are when it comes to real-time interactions. 64% of customers who get in touch via Twitter, expect an answer within the hour – meaning that the average company is still 6 hours late. A minimum 77% of customers are frustrated when they don’t receive an answer within 6 hours using any online medium. Over 8 in 10 people on Facebook don’t want to wait any longer than this. As social media is a public space, failing to reply quickly doesn’t only affect your relationship with one customer, but with many.
#5. Run your ads on social media to approach a new target
Almost a quarter of small businesses don’t use social media at all. Among those with a social media presence, social media advertising is disparate. Many small companies have tried Facebook or Instagram advertising with a limited budget and found it ineffective. However, lack of resources and analysis can make it difficult to appeal to the right audience. Working with experts such as Third Angle can let you outsource your advertising efforts to professionals who’ve got the tools to support you. Indeed, social media advertising has the potential to be highly successful for small businesses, as long as they can invest time in designing the perfect strategy.
#6. You need a social media routine
Your social media presence doesn’t appear out of nowhere. It’s part of a long-term process dedicated to building content and visibility. To put it clearly, you can’t expect to maintain your social media activities if you’re not able to log in regularly. The idea of posting content frequently needs to be assimilated in your online strategy. However, when it comes to social media, you need a curating routine, as described in this helpful video. Using the 5 Cs as a reference of activities, your everyday routine needs to start with content posting. You should include time to connect with relevant profiles and accounts as well as reply to comments and add comments. The keystone of social media strategies lies in communication. You can’t afford to add contacts if you don’t interact actively with them. Finally, you need to close opportunities with leads and partners. Think of your social media network as a sale platform closing keeps your lead generation path moving forward.
#7. You can’t do it yourself
Admittedly, you need to rely on experts to maintain your social media presence. Growing your follower base requires you to reach out to a new audience. Picture it as trying to find the right persons in a crowd. You don’t know where to start, and most people are reluctant to help you. But if you rely on influencers, aka someone who is known in the crowd, you’ll find it easier to get in touch with your target audience. Influencers are personalities or bloggers who can act as the voice of trust with a new audience. You can find influencers through Twitter analytics, audience targeting on tools such as BuzzSumo, for instance, or even directly via LinkedIn.
#8. Engagement begins with an emotion
Sharing content is one thing. But engaging is an entirely different kettle of fish. Social media platforms are designed to create two-way interactions, meaning that you reach out and users react. At its heart, the reaction is built on an emotion – you need to appeal to your users’ emotivity by either showing an interest, making their lives easier, or even giving them something valuable. Social media experts refer to engagement strategies as AEIOU. A stands for ask, where you ask an open question to engage. E is for expression, letting you express content via images and selfies. I is for incentive, because everyone wants to win. O is for offer, and lets you promote instant coupons, memberships and discounts. And finally, U means utility, such as sharing helpful content people want to use.
#9. Let your followers become curators
Until last September, Sweden account on Twitter was curated by random Swedish users who took over the account, a week at a time. The result was a diverse and rich experience of Sweden, showcasing different mentalities, cultural backgrounds, interests, etc. More importantly, people would feel compelled to interact with the account because they knew that every week a different person was writing the posts. While you may not want to give in your account for an extended period, you can invite followers to produce content for a day.
#10. Be everywhere (or almost)
How many social media networks do you know? Out of the top 15 social media networks, most companies use only 2 or 3 platforms. Becoming familiar with new platforms can help you to grow your follower base and reach out to new leads.
Managing your social media presence is a lot of work, especially when the responsibility comes on top of your other professional duties. However, hopefully, with this guideline, you are better equipped to make your social media networks work harder for your small business.