The pandemic brought in interesting changes. One of them was social media’s exponential growth. Of course, we’ve known for some years now that it was important. But nationwide lockdowns stepped up adoption.As we’ve come to accept now, social media for a small business is crucial.Numbers don’t lie either.
February 2, 2023
by Rajeev Nar
What do the numbers say?
The Digital 2021 report by We Are Social and Hootsuite shows:
There are 53 million active social media users in the UK. This adds up to 78% of the total population.
Furthermore, a user spends 1 hour 49 minutes on social platforms on average every day.
In addition, over 28% of internet users aged 16 to 64 years found brands via social media.
That means, as a business, you have nearly two hours to reach out to customers searching for you!
It’s no wonder social media marketing for small businesses has increasingly become popular. Brands in the UK alone may have spent 30% more advertising on social media in 2021 over 2020.
So, how can you build social media for business? Let’s find out.
Social media is a powerful marketing mechanism, one you can hardly ignore anymore.
Including social media in your marketing strategy is essential, especially if you’re an eCommerce business. Attracting customers to these platforms can directly impact your sales.
Need a little more convincing? Here’s why social media for a small business matters:
To begin with, it’s free! In the world of sales and marketing, how valuable is that?
You can target particular demographics.
Building a robust online community with loyal customers is possible.
You can respond to customers using personalised communication, making them feel loved.
Tying up with strategic partners (other small businesses, aggregators, and influencers) can boost growth.
If you’ve stuck around here, we know you’re hooked. You’re probably on your way to registering on social media.
But hold on a minute!
Not every platform is relevant for achieving your goals.
Which Social Media platform should you choose?
You may want a better brand experience on a limited budget as a small business. Then start with a few platforms and grow your way up. It isn’t a thumb rule to be present on all of them.
Social media for small businesses is about directing your resources to platforms with relevant features. Also, where most of your target audience is present.
Facebook is the most widely used social media app. It’s an excellent platform for building brand awareness, given the extensive reach.
You can share videos and posts of your products, brand, or company. Plus, Facebook offers a diverse range of content formats (organic and paid), more than any other platform. Carousels, 360 videos, form fills, app installs are some. You get sophisticated targeting options, and it’s a solid place for community building. Particularly, Facebook Groups and Messenger Rooms are popular.
You can set up a Facebook shop. Learn how to here.
As of July 2021, the UK has over 48 million Facebook users.
The largest age group is 25-34 years.
Instagram is a visual platform. So it’ll be ideal if you primarily create visual content. For instance, if you’re a restaurant owner or beauty retailer, Instagram is the place to be.
The platform offers various formats to play with, from stories to reels. It also places importance on building communities. Plus, it has several eCommerce features, making it easier to attract conversions.
In addition, you can use Instagram for User Generated Content (UGC). Partner with content creators or influencers for sponsored posts. Leverage their follower base and grow your social media for a small business.
With a video-first strategy, YouTube is the ideal small business social media marketing platform.
You can position your brand as an authoritative voice through informational videos. And as a result, earn trust and love from your customers. Plus, these videos can be longer – up to 12 hours or 128 MB.
YouTube is also a search engine for videos. Searchers here usually have strong intent to buy. Therefore, it needs more input from you to optimise content. Establish a foothold, and you can drive conversions.
In the UK, the average watch time per user per month for TikTok is 19.9 hours.
If YouTube is the search engine for videos, Pinterest is for images. The platform also allows short videos and stories. Users pin or save content that they find appealing to their boards.
If you’re a beauty, fitness, food, or retail brand, it’ll be good to have Pinterest in your arsenal alongside Instagram. It has lesser users, too, making things less competitive for you. Plus, audiences on Pinterest can directly buy from links attached to your visuals.
Pinterest attracts over 400 million monthly active users globally.
Establishing presence on Social Media for a Small Business
You get it. The primary purpose of any brand is to promote and sell its products. And that’s where social media for small businesses comes in.
Now, you may wonder how social media can establish an effective presence for your brand?
Look no further. We’ve got a step-by-step approach for you.
1. Define Social Media Goals
The first step should be setting goals, just like you would for business. Having goals also gives you something to measure performance against. Plus, you understand the impact on sales. You can then figure out what’s working and what needs to change.
We’ve curated 3 small business social media marketing approaches for goal-setting:
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. The purpose of SMART goals is to keep you highly focused on what you want to achieve from marketing efforts.
Specific: What is the reason for your presence on social media? What are your expectations (for instance, awareness or conversion), and which platform can help achieve that?
Measurable: Which metrics do you need to consider? Luckily, all social media platforms offer analytics to track performance.
Attainable: Virality isn’t a realistic goal for a business new to social media. Drill down to attainable goals.
Relevant: Say your overarching objective for social media is to increase awareness. In this case, your goal will be achieving conversions.
Timely: Locking down on a timeline will keep you from straying too far.
Begin researching social media for a small business with competition in mind.
You don’t need to do the same thing as them outrightly. What you can do is learn. Maybe there’s something they’re not doing that you can.
For instance, they’re geared towards selling but ignore customer response management. As a result, their community isn’t strong. Instead, you can concentrate on building a solid group of engaged followers.
Still unsure? Here are some aggregate figures of what businesses and audiences want to get out of social media. This could be a good starting point for you.
Source: <a “=”” href=”https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/2018-index/” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>Sprout Social
Consider this one if you want a more seasoned approach.
Posting is only the first step in establishing a positive social media presence. As you move down the funnel from Awareness, Consideration, Conversion, Adoption to Advocacy – creating good customer relationships becomes essential, too. Eventually, engaged audiences increase your chances of conversions.
Plus, you can plan your move to other mediums, such as Google Advertising, for holistic growth.
The Sales & Marketing Funnel
2. Settle on Key Metrics
Not all metrics matter for your business. Specifically, vanity metrics that make you feel happy but are unsuitable for decision-making.
Followers and likes could be vanity metrics. While getting a substantial number of followers is good, maybe social media marketing for small businesses will benefit from a smaller set. You can actively engage with a small audience. If it’s local, the chances of these followers converting into customers are even better.
3. Identify your Audienc
Social media aids in targeting content to specific audiences. But, to do that, you need to know your buyer’s persona.
Analytics can help. Most social platforms provide data about audiences for free. This includes demographics (such as age, gender), interests (e.g., entertainment, games), region, and more.
Using this information, you can create a buyer persona template with free tools from Hootsuite or HubSpot.
4. Stay True to your Brand Personality
A unique brand personality helps you reap the rewards for a long time. Of course, your product or service plays a vital role in attracting audiences. But it’s the persona that gets them to stick.
Social media for small businesses is a highly engaging platform where brands talk to their audiences in real-time. Therefore, it should reflect your persona well. If you’re unsure what personality is the right fit, ask the below questions and experiment some.
What’s your tone of voice? Is it formal or friendly, informative or fun, respectful or playful?
What are your brand or personal values?
Who is your audience? For example, mature audiences may prefer an informative or formal persona.
Do you have any interests other than your business? Is there a way to incorporate them?
Take the case of Netflix. Their social media attracts a primarily young audience. So naturally, the brand personality is friendly, playful and quirky, keeping followers engaged.
5. Create a Content Calendar
A sound content calendar is crucial when starting social media for a small business. It may seem like an uphill task, but here are four points to make the process easier.
Content your audience likes: Use your audience insights and consider follower demographics, interests, internet or device usage, and more.
Content mix: While used for promotion, social media isn’t a promotion-heavy platform. It’s better to inform rather than sell. So a preferred split is 80-20 – 80% for informative content and 20% for promotion.
Post timings & frequency: Lining up your posts when your audience is active can bag positive results. For instance, Wednesdays are the best times to post on Instagram and Facebook, while weekends don’t gather much traction. Oberlo has a helpful resource for finding out posting times.
Similarly, followers needn’t be bothered with too many posts. 1-2 pieces per day should be enough to maintain visibility.
6. Engage with your fans
Engagement is a crucial metric determining the success of social media for business. Your posts rank higher on news feed algorithms as followers interact with you.
Social media has created an environment where you can have a two-way conversation with audiences. Capitalise on this and be responsive. For example, if you answer a customer query in time, they’ll feel more connected to your business.
All social media platforms work to build communities. You can also reach out to peers or influencers to spread the word about your business. Nurturing these relationships eventually leads to new customers and sales. Plus, it helps build trust and brand loyalty.
Incorporating UGC in your content plan is also a nice hook. Followers will be motivated to share their own stories in the hopes of being featured on brand pages. In the course of it, they’ll also encourage their fans to follow you.
7. Capitalise on Trends
At this point, you may worry that trends are overdone. But not in the case of social media for a small business.
Today, audiences also use social media to discover the news and trending topics. If your brand joins the conversation, chances are your post will get better traction. Since several people are already talking about the overarching topic, you’ll attract more eyeballs.
Hashtags also help improve traffic. Audiences use hashtags to search content on social media. Therefore, using relevant ones in your post copy boosts visibility.
8. Diversify Content Formats
It’s a good idea to try different content formats once in a while. For example, if you’re an image-heavy brand, maybe add some videos to the mix. Posting just one type of content format seems monotonous to audiences.
It’s generally known that visuals increase attention span. So, switch out text-based posts with engaging visual content instead.
The popularity of YouTube and TikTok in 2020 proved that videos are just as much, if not more engaging, than static content. You can also use live videos to share updates instantly (like new product launches, new movie launches, and more).
Almost all platforms have the option of posting bite-sized content. But that’s not it. Stories also have Polls, Q&As, Ask Me Anything (AMAs), among others. Plus, you can add exciting GIFs and stickers to make them more fun.
The popularity of Reels (only on Instagram) has grown so much since its launch in 2020. It has gathered much fan-following owing to its array of features that keeps the format engaging.
9. Give Paid Advertising a whirl
As social media marketing for small businesses continues to rake in fans, the number of people you can reach out to is also increasing. Organic reach may be affected by several other businesses vying for audiences’ attention alongside you. Thus, social media platforms offer paid advertising for brands to grow further.
Since social media is free, the number of formats and tools offered is limited compared to paid options.
All social platforms have an array of paid ads formats. Therefore, it’s best to seek an expert in online advertising to guide you here. At RVS Media, our folks can help you implement the right marketing strategy for social media for a small business.
10. Analyse & Alter your Plan
Once you’ve started using social media for business, it’s time to review performance.
Compare actual performance with your desired metrics and goals. For example, does a particular content format perform better than others? What questions are your followers asking most? When are they most active, and should you change your post timings based on that?
Answers to all these questions, and more, will come only after taking stock. Then, insights will guide you on what to do next, and if necessary, alter your goals and subsequent social media plan.
11. Set up your Toolkit
When you reach this section, either you’re ready to get started, or you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with social media for small businesses.
We get it, and we’re here to tell you there are a host of tools to ease your workload. So consider investing in them and freeing up time to focus on core business activities. Plus, these tools can give you more insights than available social media analytics.
Here are some processes you can automate:
Set up content and time to post. You can schedule posts for days and weeks at a time.
Listening tools give you insights into audience sentiment for your brand. Some allow responding to messages and comments, too.
Analytics that come with social media platforms are standardised and limited. Special tools give you in-depth information which is otherwise challenging to find.
If you’re a one-person army without professional graphic design help, try a simple designing tool like Canva to design beautiful visuals.
Dive into Social Media’s unending Potential
Social media for a small business is constantly evolving based on user needs. Therefore, your strategies need to keep up with the momentum as well. That being said, the steps mentioned above act as a universal guiding point to serve you.
Adapting your social platforms to new developments will continue shaping your efforts towards success. Although favourable results don’t occur overnight, learning and applying previous experience to future plans will improve their likelihood.
One thing’s for sure. If you’re into small business social media marketing, you’ll find it has infinite potential to catapult your business to new heights. So, dive right into it and get ready for your next marketing move.
If you need guidance, we can help. Reach out to our team at RVS Media, and let us do the rest.