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Social Media for Small Businesses – A Beginners Guide

HostPapa Blog / Social Media  / Social Media for Small Businesses – A Beginners Guide
2 Mar

Social Media for Small Businesses – A Beginners Guide

Social media can be an intimidating place, especially if you’re a small business trying to get your voice heard. The good news is that most social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, are quite easy to use and understand. All you have to do is get started.

Why is publishing content on social media important? Most people aren’t constantly checking your store or website for updates and promotions, but people are constantly checking social media for the latest news. Studies have shown that the average person spends nearly 2 hours on social media a day across about 5 accounts. Not only are people checking their various social media accounts constantly, but there is also a massive audience available for you to discuss your business with. Reports show that social media users reached about 1.96 billion users and that number is expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2018.

As you can see, social media serves as a wonderful customer service outlet, along with a way to connect with your customers and distribute customers. Now, how about we show you how to get started with some social media profiles for your business.

 

1. Figure Out Which Platforms Are Right for Your Business

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You’ll need to do some research to figure out which social media platform is best for your business.

The appeal of Social media is that it is open for anybody to use. However, from a business point of view, certain platforms work better than others, depending on which industry you are involved with. It’s a good idea to eventually have an account on all of the big platforms, but when you are just starting out research which platforms perform best for your business.

For example, fashion, clothing and home repair companies have been shown to perform well on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Retailers in general, love Instagram, but Twitter has been known as a good way to connect with customers as well. LinkedIn is primarily for finding people to work for your company.

Pick one or two social media platforms that you think would work well for your business and commit to those first.There’s nothing worse than spreading yourself too thin then realizing that you’ve neglected all four of the social platforms you committed to. Take baby steps into the social media world and make sure that you are posting good, informative content on a consistent basis.

 

2. Take From Businesses With Creative Social Ideas

One of the best ways to learn is to study from those who do it best. Take a look at some of the most popular business social media accounts and their content to get an idea of what you should be posting. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a book called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” and it’s the perfect little resource for seeing examples of how successful small businesses take advantage of the wide variety of social networks. He provides screenshots of some of his favorite Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram accounts. It’s easy to get hundreds of suggestions on what to share with this book.

Follow the accounts you look up to and keep an eye on what they tend to share. This way you will constantly be inundated with possibilities for your own company. A brilliant contest, promotion, design or raffle could be waiting for you to restructure and send out to your own customers.

 

3. Integrate Your Accounts With Your Other Platforms

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Make sure you give your audience the chance to share your work with social media integration.

Once you get started on social media you’ll want to integrate those accounts with your website. What this means is that when you post content on your website it will be also posted on your social media accounts and your social media accounts will be seen on your website.

There are several ways that you can accomplish this and many online services specialize in this type of integration. For example, MailChimp has an app that shares newsletters to Twitter and Facebook, while WordPress has an onslaught of plugins with automated blog post sharing. You can also place sharing buttons on your product pages, blog posts and homepage so that others can share your content on their social media accounts.

 

4. Establish a Content Plan and Stick to It

Having a social media calendar can help you keep your content organized. Do you know how often you’re going to post every week? What you’re going to post? On which platform your content is going to appear? In the social media world, people expect good, reliable content, on a regular basis from the accounts that they choose to follow. If you’re not prepared, there is a good chance that your social media endeavor might end in failure.

Start by deciding on how many days a week you want to post. 3 days a week is a good number to start with and you can work your way up if you don’t find yourself overwhelmed. Once you know how many days you want to post, you need to decide what you are going to post on those days.

For example:

Mondays: A new blog post link
Wednesdays: Fun fact in history that happened on that day
Fridays: Promotion for the weekend

With a reliable schedule, your users will know when you are going to post and will get to look forward to your content throughout the week.

 

5. Document What Works and What Doesn’t

Simply posting content is not enough on social media. You need to divert some of your efforts into researching what posts are receiving a good response from your audience and which ones aren’t. Once you start posting, take a look at and log the likes, shares, favorites, comments and every other interaction that occurs to each social media post. Some platforms like Facebook let you export the information in an Excel sheet which makes it easier. Move past posts that don’t get a good response from your audience and post similar content to the posts that did well.

 

6. When Something Does Work, Use Advertising

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Instagram’s Carousel Ads offers a great way to advertise to the networks 600 million monthly active users.

If posts do well with the audience that you’ve already built, chances are they will do well with others in the same demographic. That’s where advertising comes into play. Many of the biggest social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others, give you the option to advertise to other people on their platform. These ads, for the most part, are relatively inexpensive and many of them allow you to advertise to a specific demographic, making it more likely for the advertisements to stick. Facebook will even let you know if a certain post is performing better than usual. In this case, you’ll already have an idea of a post that is worth sharing through advertisements.

We recommend advertising posts that have a clear funnel to your products or services. You don’t want to spend money on an ad that’s a fun fact about your industry and might not translate into something beneficial for your business.

 

Are You Ready for the Social Media World?

Social media has become a gigantic place, but don’t be intimidated by it. If anything you should have fun with social media and use it to get your business seen by the masses. If you have any questions about this beginners guide to social media for small businesses give us a comment in the section below.

 

Further Reading:

How to Use Instagram to Improve Your Company’s Marketing
The 5 Best Tools to Measure Social Media Success
Top Business Tips for Small Business SEO
Snapchat: Why Your Small Business Better be Marketing With it

Brenda Stokes

Brenda Barron is a writer and WordPress enthusiast from southern California. Her work has appeared at WPMU DEV and Tuts+ and she blogs at Digital Inkwell.


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