For Small Business Week Canada this year, we were asked to join in the festivities to help celebrate entrepreneurship and small businesses in our community.
Our very own Social Media specialist, Merilyn Tuazon, had the honour of speaking at Strathcona County – Economic Development and Tourism’s 2023 Small Business Week Conference. Here’s an inside look at 10 tips she had for small business entrepreneurs looking to achieve success through social media.
10 Tips to Maximize Your Social Media Presence
1. Build a Strong Social Media Foundation
Before you get started making a profile and drafting posts, your first step should be crafting a social media strategy. Why is this important? Like any strategy, it’s crucial that you understand your business goals. This includes:
- Identifying your target audience
- Determining your content pillars and themes.
- Setting KPIs
Now is also the time to get a better understanding of your competitors. Analyze what they are doing. Identify any gaps and opportunities. Learn from their mistakes as well as their success stories!
Content is all about quality over quantity. Don’t rush to start posting without building out a proper content calendar first. Consistency is key. When you plan and organize your content, you can avoid the unpredictability that comes with posting on the fly. This also helps with efficient resource management.
2. Choose the Right Platform
Next up, it’s time to decide what platforms you want to have a presence on. And with the constantly changing landscape of social media, there isn’t always an easy answer. There are a few factors to take into consideration here:
- Understand your target audience. Identify their primary age group, gender, interests, hobbies, their problem, and your solution.
- Analyze competitor presence. Identify what platforms your competitors are active on to provide you with insight into where your target audience might be present.
- Test and iterate. Test multiple platforms to see which one resonates best with your audience.
Research the demographics that are prominent on each platform. This will give you an understanding of how each platform attracts a different audience.
3. Create Engaging Content
The overarching goal of social media is to create content that your audience feels inclined to engage with. There are a few key ways you can do this:
- Visually-appealing graphics
- Utilize tools like Canva to build social post templates to achieve brand consistency.
- Use a mix of visual mediums, like images and videos. Variety is important.
- User-generated content
- Start a UGC using a brand hashtag.
- Repost this UGC, and always remember to give credit to the creators!
- Share customer reviews and testimonials.
- Educational content
- Write blog posts or create infographics to inform your audience.
- Host live webinars or Q&A sessions.
- Share relevant industry news and updates from your unique perspective.
- Encourage engagement
- Sometimes people need direction to get them to take action. Include clear call-to-actions in your posts.
- Respond to all comments promptly.
- Run giveaways that require participation and sharing.
4. Maximize Reach and Engagement
Common KPIs in social media marketing focus on maximizing reach and engagement. That means more people are seeing, as well as interacting with, your content.
To authentically achieve this, it needs to be done in a purposeful way. Research trending and industry-specific hashtags and include a mix of popular and niche hashtags in your posts. Tag industry influencers or partners when relevant to open up your posts to a whole new audience.
Participate in industry conversations. Monitor industry-related hashtags to keep a pulse on what is trending. Share your insights, answer questions, and use your expertise to add value to the conversation.
5. Leverage Paid Social Ads
If you’re not achieving your desired results organically, consider expanding into social advertising. A couple of tips to get started:
- Define your advertising goals.
- Use SMART goals to define your objectives.
- Choose the appropriate ad format and targeting options.
- Select the right platforms.
- Research the demographics, user behaviour, and ad options on each platform.
- Audience targeting
- Use audience segmentation to create detailed customer personas.
- Leverage platform-specific targeting options.
- Create lookalike audiences.
- Ad formats
- Use compelling visuals and concise ad copy.
- Test various ad formats.
- Take advantage of interactive ad elements like polls, buttons, or forms for lead generation campaigns.
Something to keep in mind is budget. Start with a conservative budget and increase as you see positive results. Make sure you monitor your ad spend regularly and adjust accordingly.
If you’re new to paid ads, we also recommend A/B testing. Essentially, you create multiple ad variations and run them simultaneously. As the campaigns progress, monitor the performance metrics for each variation. Use the insights to optimize your ad creatives and strategy.
6. Utilize Social Media Analytics
It can be hard to determine your ROI if you’re not taking advantage of the available social media analytics tools. Many of these tools are included within the platforms themselves, for example, Meta insights and LinkedIn analytics. If you’re looking for more in-depth data, consider a third-party tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, or HeyOrca.
Some of the benefits of utilizing analytics are:
- Measure ROI
- Audience insights
- Track conversions
- Competitive analysis
- Content optimization
7. Build a Consistent Brand Presence
Brand trust is fundamental to converting social media users into loyal customers. To achieve this, consistency is crucial.
When your visual branding, messaging, and tone are consistent, your brand will not only appear more professional but will also be more recognizable. Attention to detail and commitment to quality contribute to the overall experience your audience has with your brand.
How do you implement this with your brand?
- Develop comprehensive brand guidelines that cover logo usage, colour palette, typography, voice and tone, and any other specific brand elements.
- Utilize social media management platforms to build a content calendar (e.g., HeyOrca or Sprout Social).
- Develop templates for social media graphics and posts using graphic tools like Canva.
8. Manage Your Online Reputation
A positive online reputation builds credibility and trust. It helps you attract new customers while improving your current customer retention.
There are a few areas to maintain to manage your online reputation:
- Claim and optimize local listings on platforms like Google Business Profile, Yelp, and other local directories.
- Encourage customer reviews by providing direct links and clear instructions, and promote them on your social media.
- Promptly respond to reviews and feedback to show that you value your customers’ opinions.
- Actively engage with your audience on social media by responding to comments and messages.
9. Stay On Top of Social Media Trends
Now more than ever, it’s important to stay on top of social media trends and adapt them to your industry and business when appropriate.
To stay up-to-date:
- Read industry blogs and publications.
- Regularly read industry blogs, news sites, and social media publications.
- Join social media groups and forums.
- Participate in social media-related groups and forums on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Reddit.
- Subscribe to email newsletters.
- Subscribe to email newsletters from industry experts and thought leaders.
- Create Google Alerts
- Create a Google Alert to receive industry news and updates in real-time.
- Go to google.com/alerts
- Enter a topic you want to follow, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
10. Hire a Social Media Management Team
It’s challenging for small business owners to stay current with the latest social media trends and best practices while running their businesses. This often causes them to fall behind their competitors.
That’s what we are here for! When you work with a social media management team, you gain access to their expertise and strategy. At the same time, you’re freeing up your valuable time and resources and relieving stress. Win-win!
If you want to improve your brand recognition as a small business and stay up-to-date with changing industry trends, connect with us! Our team is here to help entrepreneurs focus on their area of expertise while utilizing our strengths to support them. Learn more about our services and reach out for more information!