Over the last few years, social media has evolved from a fun way to keep in touch with friends to a marketing phenomenon. Businesses of all sizes have benefited from social media marketing, and it has the advantage of being low cost, and easy to set up and continue updating. If you want to promote your small business online, here is a quick guide to the basics of how to get started with social media for small business.
Which platform is best?
Deciding which social media platforms to use can be confusing. The standard social media platforms are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more recently Google+. There are also a number of other social media platforms, including YouTube and Pinterest, which can be useful for businesses in certain industries, or who are aiming to reach a certain type of customer.
Determining the best platform for your business may take some research. You will need to define your target audience, and discover where they spend the most time to ensure you are getting the most out of your social media marketing.
Maintaining a social media presence on all the available social media platforms would probably take an unfeasible amount of time for most small business owners, so it is a good idea to select two or three of the most relevant and maintain a consistent presence there. You may also want to consider outsourcing your social media marketing to a professional firm.
How often should I post?
This is a topic which is under much debate among social media marketing experts. You need to update your social media pages and post consistently and regularly, or your audience will forget about you. Regularly posting to social media pages not only reminds people of your existence, it gives the impression that you are up-to-date, professional and well organised.
However, posting too frequently, just for the sake of it, can be irritating. It can lead people to stop following you, particularly if what you are posting is poor quality or irrelevant to their needs.
Whatever you decide, whether you post twice a week, once a week or even a couple of times a month, it is important to set a schedule and stick to it. Rather than just selling a product or service, make sure that what you do post is interesting, valuable and relevant to your target market.
What should I post?
It is important that your social media posts are relevant to your business, and that they are valuable or interesting to your readers.
Your social media pages can be a useful way to promote your blog for example – by posting a link to your new blog posts as they are published, you can effectively get your website in front of a larger audience and encourage more people to visit your site.
Social media marketing is a great way to engage with your customers, and by being active on your social media pages and participating in conversations, you can learn about what makes your customers tick and get valuable feedback on your business.
It is a good idea to monitor your social media activity closely to see if you are getting the results you want from your social media marketing. This can help you avoid wasting time on ineffective social media platforms, and let you know when you need to change your strategy.