Regardless of what you’re selling, deep in your heart, you know that different crowds gravitate to different social media platforms. If you want to get your small business noticed on social media, you need to understand where your customers are spending time online.
If you want to get your small business noticed online by using social media, you need to be strategic.
Facebook doesn’t make sense for everyone; neither does LinkedIn.
At a minimum, claim the vanity handles on all major social platforms and fill in the basics of your business profile. Focus on the contact info, business overview, and operating hours.
Social platforms have powerful SEO, and your profile(s) will show up when people google the name of your business.
Here are the five leading social media platforms you should be looking at:
The last two on the list, Google My Business & Linkedin, tend to be the least popular of the top five. But from where I stand, they have the potential to bring you the most value.Christine Johnson, Director of 250Marketing
Will I generate more business once I get this up and running?
No. Setting up these accounts does not guarantee that it will help you generate business…but, you knew that already.
Why do it?
Because if people don’t know who you are or how to reach you, then they’re not going to think of your business as a solution to a problem they’ve been challenged with.
This is why your business needs to be social.
Okay, what’s next?
There are a few more steps you need to take before you invite everyone to ‘like’ the page.
You need to prep the first few posts you want to share. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but I recommend having at least 3-5 relevant posts already set up before launching the account.
Stuck on ideas? Try showcasing your workspace, share a bit about your product, or talk about your vision for your business.
It’s time to get social and invite people to your page. Use this as a way to distribute your marketing material. Encourage your friends and employees to check it and share it with their networks.
The best way to make real connections is through word of mouth, aka referrals.
Phase I: Finding your groove
You don’t need to know every platform inside out before you can get started posting. Here are three basic steps on how to get your small business noticed online when you’re first starting out:
1) Step one
If one customer helps you bring in your next ten customers, it’s worth being generous.
If you can, offer an incentive to existing customers. It doesn’t have to be a contest or discount code. Try to think of something that you can give people that will provide value. It could be an introduction or a freebie.
2) Step two
Don’t abandon your accounts after a few posts. Plan a posting schedule and try to ‘make an appearance’ 1-2 times per week.
You want to leverage the power of social by connecting with different communities. Spend time researching different groups. It can take a bit of trial and error, but this is what will help you get in front of more people.
3) Step three
Once you find online communities that align with what you offer, the next step is to participate. A lot of people lurk on social media, but that’s not what will help your business.
Ask questions, solicit feedback, make friends.
Phase I Recap
1) Be generous–reward people who help refer your business.
2) Network–Connect with other companies & find online communities.
3) Participate–Lurking won’t help you get attention online. Use your voice.
Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect right away. I promise you will get better (and feel more confident) over time. Get creative and keep going, this is key to finding your grove.
Phase II: Setting goals
The main ingredient in any marketing campaign is having a strategy in place. Posting for the sake of posting might be fun, but it isn’t what’s going to help your small business get noticed on social media. In order to understand what you should be posting, you need to define why you’re posting.
Every business is different, but generally speaking, most have common goals when it comes to social media.
You might be trying to achieve one of the following goals:
- Get people to know who you are (increase brand awareness)
- Convince people to give you their contact info (generate new leads)
- Close sales (grow revenue)
- Chat with people (boost brand engagement)
- Help customers who bought from you (provide customer support)
- Encourage people to learn more about what you offer (drive traffic to your website)
Many brands use social media for a variety of reasons. Different social media platforms may serve different purposes from a business perspective.
If you’re running a bigger brand, you may even have different teams dedicated to supporting different goals. For example, at a larger company the Customer Support team would help customers by replying to questions and listening for brand mentions, the Marketing Team would use social to promote the content on different Instagram, and the Sales team would network with prospects via Linkedin.
Without a strategy, you might be posting on social media platforms for the sake of posting. Without understanding what your goals are, who your target audience is, and what they want, it’ll be hard to achieve results on social media.Alfred Lua, Buffer Product Marketing
Pick out three business goals for your social media accounts. Write them down somewhere.
These are what will help guide you when you’re feeling like you’re wheels are spinning and it’s going nowhere. Stay the course.
Phase III: Deciding where to post
Marketing strategy is probably one of the hardest things to do because it requires you to step back, shift your mindset away from daily tasks, and think big picture. You need to have your head wrapped around this before you can decide where you’re going to post on social.
If you’re not sure why you’re doing something, then your probably doing it wrong. ⠀
Do you know why you want to run a contest through Facebook or an email campaign through MailChimp? No? Then you missed a few steps. ⠀
When you don’t have a clearly defined path, you can end up looking back a lot and wondering what the heck happened. You won’t be able to repeat the same thing again and the momentum will get lost.
Before deciding where you’re going to post, you need to spend time building a foundation for your marketing campaigns. ⠀
How do you build that? ⠀
By creating a plan and a process.⠀
Because as you grow, you’ll need others to be able to follow (and later repeat) the process. We’ll break it down in three steps:⠀
1) Step one⠀
Doing your industry/competitor research is crucial. I can’t tell you how many business owners who have told me they have no competitors. 🤦🏻♀️⠀
If you think there’s no one in your arena that is offering the same product or a similar service, then you’ve overlooked something. ⠀
The competition can be tough. You need to be tougher. This doc will help you better understand your strengths and how to use them.
2) Step two
Who is your customer? If you haven’t spent a bit of time thinking about this, you need to. A lot of marketers will call these ‘personas’ or ‘avatars’. It’s a way to help you visualize who you’re trying to connect with before you publish something.
This resource will help you determine who your campaigns are designed for and will serve as a building block for the rest of your marketing.
Once you’ve developed customer personas, you’ll have a stronger inkling as to where this group might be spending time online and how you can reach them. This is the second clue that will help you decide on where to post.
3) Step three
Ever wondered how your product or service is perceived? This analysis doc will help you find unique selling points to formulate your product’s story/pitch.
You won’t be selling much on social media initially, but it’s a good exercise to complete for when a surprise prospect reaches out. Get crystal clear on how you’re different.
Phase III Recap
You’re not going to get better at something by thinking about it. You need to start doing it.
Maybe that means blogging or maybe that means promoting your business on LinkedIn. Before you decide where you going to start posting, you should do the following:
1) Analyze your competitors–you definitely have them.
2) Develop customer personas–it’s a building block you need.
3) Determine how your product or service is perceived–get clear on what makes you unique.
Once you’ve completed the three exercises outlined above you should have a better idea on which social media platforms will make sense for your business.
Knowing where to post on social media involves a bit of self-reflection, analyzing the competition, and framing out your ideal customer. Without setting this up, you’ll be doing a lot of guesswork.Tweet
Phase IV: Finding your brand voice
Brands can use social media to jump into people’s lives in an unexpected way with humour and creativity.
This connection is what will help you make sales and grow your business.
Today, we don’t have the same opportunity to connect in person. This is a big shift for many businesses and can be really challenging if you’re not doing the whole ‘marketing online’ thing.
One way to change this challenge into a new strength for your business is to develop a clear brand voice. By keeping consistent branding throughout all of your marketing, your audience will get a better sense of who you are and will be more likely to remember how you can help them.
Brand voice is what will help you achieve this.
The messages you want to deliver will have a different tone for different circumstances, but the voice you use needs to stay steady and distinct.
There’s a lot of ways to use your brand voice to help get your small business noticed on social media. Here are four free exercises and a thorough overview of how to get started.
Pase V: Creating a posting schedule
In the first four steps, we walked through the basics of setting up your social media accounts, setting goals and strategizing on where to post, and then using your brand voice to better leverage the new connections you’re making.
The final piece of the equation involves creating a posting schedule.
A social media calendar will save you time and allow you to track and test different strategies to see what resonates most with your audience.
This doesn’t need to be complicated at the beginning. Set some goals of how often you want to post and start thinking about what you want to share.
It’s a good idea to supplement your own brand’s content with curated posts related to your niche or industry.
Do this by sharing unique articles that your audience will enjoy.
Once you’re up and running, you’ll start to notice what gets more engagement (comments, likes, shares, etc.). Look for ways to leverage this and incorporate it into your social media posting schedule.
If you want to get your small business noticed on social media you need to start at the beginning.
Setting up the accounts for a business is a lot of work, but it’ll be a wasted effort if you don’t start using them.
The advantage of having them is that you’ll be able to get in front of a lot of people very quickly. The disadvantage is that they need a bit of time and attention to work; this is something most entrepreneurs are short on.
To make the most of your limited time, you should always start by setting goals. Decide where you’re going to post by analyzing your customers and competitors. Then, frame out how you’re going to say things by creating a brand voice.
Finally, after you’ve found your footings, create a schedule.
There’s still some work ahead, but you’re on the right path.