Social Media Guide For Small Businesses

Is social media too difficult?

Social media is not too difficult for you to execute and have as a part of your overall business and marketing strategy. Experts will try to tell you that you must hire it out, be on every channel and post multiple times a day. That isn’t the case for every business.

Each business will have unique needs and opportunities with social media. If you’re a small business or just starting out, you can more than likely manage social media on your own. It is not too difficult, and it is not too time consuming. In fact, a lot of what you share can most likely be articles and content you already read about or create for other avenues of your business.

The key to keeping social media manageable is going into it with a plan and strategy for management. Here’s a look at how to build that strategy for your business.

Social Media Guide For Small Businesses.png

Choose your channels wisely

Social media has exploded over the last 20 years. From small, one-off platforms to there being a new platform every month, you need to choose your channels wisely. Different business types benefit from different channels.

Do some research and learn where your audience is most active. For example, B2B companies are well served spending time growing their business using LinkedIn and Twitter. Women more frequently use Pinterest, which makes an ideal platform for those looking to promote products specifically targeted toward women.

The more social media profiles you create, the more work you will have in managing your presence. It’s perfectly alright to only have one or two social media profiles that you use regularly. If you don’t plan to use them regularly, don’t even open a profile though because out-of-date profiles can make a visitor wonder if you’re still in business.

Start small, but regular

If you don’t want to devote a ton of time to social media, start small. You can post just once a week, but make sure that you are regular in actually posting. You want to start creating habits of these regular posts.

You should also monitor your social media channels. Set up alerts on your smartphone so that you don’t have to go in and check your social media profiles daily. Alerts can notify you when someone comments, shares, likes, or writes a post about you.

Your company’s image is tied to how you respond to what others are saying about you, so don’t ignore comments. Try and respond to the ones that need a response as quickly as you can. When people see that a company is responsive, it gives them confidence in the customer service that your company provides. It also puts forth a good image to future visitors to your social media profiles.

When thinking about what content to share, keep in mind that you want to look professional. So don’t share too much that’s personal about you or your staff, though it is appropriate to highlight neat aspects about your staff. Just be sure that you don’t do it too often and that the facts are things that you and your staff would be proud to have associated with your professional network.

Share what interests you

More than likely, you read articles and studies related to your industry to stay up to date on it. If you think it could be relevant to your audience or help your audience in making a purchasing decision, share it on your social media. Topics of interest to you professionally will likely be topics of interest to your greater network as well.

Again, this doesn’t mean to share any and all topics that interest you. Carefully select content that will speak to your audience. The easiest way to find this content is to set up feeds for publications or thought leaders in your industry. Sign up for email newsletters, create a Feedly RSS feed of interesting topics, etc. This will help you find the content that is interesting to you.

You can then schedule this content out on your social media profiles. Just because you’ve scheduled content doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check up on it regularly. Be sure to continue to monitor activity and remove scheduled posts if that content somehow becomes stale or irrelevant between when you scheduled it and when it is supposed to go live.

Be authentic

Social media is an opportunity to show a little bit more of who you are as an organization. Don’t write posts that are lofty or hard to understand. Try and meet your customers and prospects where they are at and explain complex issues with simple language. You want to show that you’re a partner with them in understanding their needs and concerns.

On social media, it’s perfectly appropriate to use phrases, such as “did you know?” and “in case you missed it.” While these might feel out of place in your corporate brochures and presentations, they are perfectly appropriate for social media to catch the attention of your readers.

Chances are high that you’ll experience a time when someone has a problem with your organization and voices that on social media. This is the hardest time to be open, authentic and responsive to your social media audience. Make sure that the reader knows that you care, you’ll do what you can to resolve the issue and that gaps in quality are outside the norm of what you strive for.

But when you’re dealing with these minor conflicts on social media, do your best to take the conversation to personal messages, email or the phone. Your full audience list doesn’t need to be made aware of issues or concerns that you’re dealing with from one customer.

The key here is to not get defensive on social media where the world can see your actions. Admit fault when you should, apologize no matter what and do what you can to make it right. That’s what being authentic is all about. Your same customer service as you handle it over the phone or email should apply on social media.

Hire an intern, but one you trust

This is a touchy subject for some businesses. Social media interns can be an inexpensive way to fund your social media needs and not have to worry about it yourself. However, because social media is so public, you also have to be careful handing it off to other people, especially someone as junior as an intern.

If you allow someone else to manage your social media, make sure they have the credentials and experience to do so. You should also have guidelines for how you respond to issues so that your new employee knows what you’re looking for in those responses.

Conclusion

Ultimately, social media is about sharing who you are as a business with your followers. It is not too difficult for the average small business owner to manage and create. It can build new relationships with followers and be a great key to finding new business and retaining current customers. It’s only complicated if you don’t plan or go into the process with unrealistic expectations for yourself and your followers. Be sure to do all of your planning at the front to make it a smooth process moving forward for you and your coworkers.