Social media can be tricky to get a handle on. Whilst some agencies bang on endlessly about how easy it is to develop an engaged social media following, others understand that the sheer commitment of time and energy can actually prove difficult for small business owners. Many businesses will start out with good intentions, but gradually let their social channels slip as time constraints and frustration at their perceived lack of protest start to bite.
Having a bunch of smug marketers on LinkedIn telling you how easy it is doesn’t help either!
Let’s be clear on this – social media CAN be easy, but only if you know what you’re doing, and you use your time effectively. It’s easy to think that simply shelling out for ads will solve your problems, but often you need a built-in audience if you want to be taken seriously by people who click them. If you feel like you’re pouring time and effort into your socials with little to no reward, we’ve put together a few simple hacks that will help you improve your game.
Know your channels
Is your business B2B or B2C? This is really the first question you should ask yourself when choosing which social media platforms to focus on.
A lot of businesses will simply set up accounts on every channel they can think of. This is a mistake, as it is simply too much content to try and keep up with, and certain platforms aren’t likely to contain the type of audience you’re looking for. For example, if your business is B2B, you should definitely be on LinkedIn, and also Twitter if you have the capacity. For B2C businesses, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all good places to start. Know who your audience is, and where they hang out, and you’ve already taken a big step forward.
This is the side of social media that spells doom for many an entrepreneurs’ social media aspirations. Even now, we see too many businesses posting ad-heavy content from the distant comfort of scheduling platforms like Hootsuite and Sprout Social, presumably never wondering why their analytics are a ghost town.
Learning WHEN to post is almost as important as WHAT to post. LinkedIn is pretty transparent about it’s peak times, Twitter is bristling with corporate hours – even Facebook has business groups that are active at certain times. Find out the best time for your post – send it out live, and be there to respond to any engagement. Better yet, engage with other businesses in the same hour or group – small businesses are all about community. If you show some love, it will be reciprocated!
Quality over quantity
Some LinkedIn coaches will hate us for saying this, but you don’t have to post every day!
Coming up with fresh content on a daily basis is a big ask for a business just starting out, and with a small, newly-formed audience, there is the potential for fatigue if you’re posting content just for the sake of posting.
Remember the golden rule – quality over quantity!
Make sure your content is relevant, adds value and aligns with what your audience likes to see. Even if you only write one post per week that fits this criteria, it’s still better than turning off your audience with useless memes and anecdotes. If you can post meaningful content every day then by all means, have at it! Until then, stick to what you can manage.
Say thank you
Credibility is key to showing your audience the humans behind the brand, and part of credibility that stems from your attitude towards those that follow and engage with your content.
Someone commented on your LinkedIn post? Reply, and thank them for their input. Got a mention from a fellow Twitter business? Show them gratitude! Same goes for reviews, testimonials, even kind words. Showing gratitude provides incentive for your audience to continue engaging. Often, users will see how you’ve praised or thanked someone else, and want to perform a similar action to bag some kudos for themselves. Goodwill on social media is always best reciprocated!
Don’t be afraid of failure
Undoubtedly, this is an issue that trips up a lot of entrepreneurs and budding social media managers. 90% of social media users are lurkers who don’t usually interact, so it can be quite daunting when the time comes to open up themselves or their business to the world.
We all know that social media can be a cesspit of trolls and contrarians in certain circles, and there’s always the fear that whatever you post will be met with ridicule or scorn.
The best piece of advice we can give here, and for social media in general, is to keep moving forward. Getting ahead with social media sometimes means you have to try something different, and that involves an element of risk-taking, even if that risk just involves posting that blog you’re not too confident about.
Your social channels are a great place to experiment, and as long as you stick to your company’s tone and don’t go out of your way to offend anyone, you’ll be fine! Some of the biggest companies in the world still manage to screw up on social media occasionally (Burger King, anyone?) but for a small business, the worst that usually happens is that your post will fall flat – in which case, learn from it and move on!
And there you have it…
Social media isn’t as easy as some marketers like to think, but it doesn’t have to be an uphill battle either. Make these rules part of your strategy, and it won’t be long before your engagement rate begins to creep up – and not a penny spent on ads, either.
It’s vital that you don’t give up with social media like so many other businesses – there are huge rewards waiting for those who stay the course. That said, if you need a helping hand with social media, we’re only a click or a call away!