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5 Practical Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

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I fell into the Social Media role at work by way of a happy accident.  As is the case with a lot of small businesses, no one had previously had the time to create and implement a Social Media strategy …

Until I piped up and said heeey 👋 I can help with that.

It is important to note that this is one of the many “hats” I wear at work so I understand how difficult it can be to manage your Social Media alongside more immediate day-to-day activities.

But it’s the 21st century and let’s face it, no one can deny how powerful a tool Social Media has become.

So let’s get right to it with some Social Media hacks that (in my humble opinion) are real game changers!

Social Media Tips

1)Map Out a Social Media Strategy

Start by establishing a clear plan – What do you want to gain from your Social Media activity?

This is a bit of a front ended process but it saves so much time later on and provides your content with meaning.

The best place to start is to identify your target audience, which in turn can narrow your field of vision and provide your business with a clear focus.

I know this seems a little counter productive, but think quality not quantity.  There will always be potential to widen your scope later down the line.

You will also need to think about hack number 2 from this list.  More on that later…errr a few short paragraphs away to be exact 🤔

Once your strategy has been set, stay consistent.  Remember even small steps towardsyour end game are better than NO steps.

This is not to say that your Social Media strategy will never again need to be reviewed, but the plan should include the key driving forces behind your brand and how you want to celebrate it with the world-wide web.

Social Media Tips

2)Pick your Social Media Platforms

Discover your favourites – different platforms offer different opportunities.  I have included a break down of the potential uses for each below.  Which one most suits the needs of your business?

If you don’t have time to keep on top of all of them – pick your preferred two and do them REALLY well.

For a further break down of platform demographics and stats check out this article from Sprout Social.  It is so important to know where you are most likely to connect with your target audience!

LinkedIn 

It tends to be easier to reach out to key decision makers here.  I believe the sales term is “by-pass the gate-keeper”?  But hey someone who knows more about sales can fill in the blanks on that one.

LinkedIn tends to have an older demographic, it’s not really the hip and happening Social Media hang out, unless you are a young professional and find it to be a necessity.

LinkedIn can be a little uppity for lack of a better term.  Some folks get angry about “Facebook style” updates.  So maybe if you own a small coffee shop, pick a personal profile over a business one.

I do however really love the Article feature within LinkedIn, you can reach a whole new audience by creating killer content and publishing it there.

💡 Don’t be shy … use hashtags within LinkedIn articles!

Instagram

I love Instagram!  Being quite a visual person I love looking through pictures shared here and it’s well-known that people are more likely to engage with visuals (across all Social Media platforms.)

According to the latest Instagram stats there are currently more than 800 million monthly active users.  Sprout Social states that equates to more than double the monthly active users of Twitter and 80% of users follow a business page on Instagram!

So yeah Insta is a Social Media POWERHOUSE, and it is pretty fun to use too.   All in all, it is an informal and fun way to build a rapport with your audience/customers.

💡Make sure to check out the Instagram story feature!

Facebook

When I first took over the Social Media in the office this was the platform that I had the most prior experience with, and I think that can be said for most people?

Established in 2004 it has proved to be some what of a trailblazer and according to Facebook itself , 30 million UK users per day visit the site and that’s just on mobile alone 🤯 Mind Blown!

It’s hard to argue with the cold hard stats; engaging with Facebook as a business owner seems unavoidable.  But that’s not a bad thing, it is user-friendly and has multiple features that meet varying Business needs.

I really love the Insight feature within Facebook, which provides tips on how to engage more people with your content.

💡Videos do amazingly well on Facebook!

Twitter

Twitter is extremely fast paced which means you can get away with posting more frequently in order to hit different members of your audience through out the day.  Your Tweets should be concise (although Twitter is a great place to experiment with your posts) a good rule of thumb when constructing a Tweet is the following:

It can be quite tempting to go into over kill with the hashtags but aim to use 3 at the very most.  Tweets with between 1-2 hashtags do better in terms of audience engagement.

💡Try narrowing down key search terms relative to your business via Twitter or Tweetdeck to get your brand into the right conversations.

Pinterest / YouTube

**A quick disclaimer**

 I have heard really great things about both Pinterest / YouTube for business purposes, but having not used these extensively myself I don’t feel qualified to offer advice.  Have you had any good experiences?

So…

If tech aint your thing, you want to make this as easy on yourself as possible.  Have fun and pick the platforms, that a) you gravitate towards and b) are most suited to your business needs.  Sometimes less is more.

Unless you’re celebrating New Years with your cat…then I think we can all agree that “extra” is acceptable.  💁‍♀️

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3)Implement an Editorial Calendar

Create an editorial calendar in to make a note of content in advance that is informed by your chosen Social Media strategy and platforms.  I have created mine through Outlook calendars which means I can easily share this with other team members when relevant.

This calendar prompts me to post when there are important awareness days / when blogs are scheduled to go live on the website and I’ve added some relevant Twitter hours on there too.  Shout out to #HullHour !

4)Choose a Content Management System

Buffer

I LIVE for Buffer !  The free plan is amazing, you can manage up to 3 of your Social Media platforms in one place, and by manage I mean preschedule up to 10 posts PER platform.

It is so time-saving; you can set aside a little time at the beginning of your working week (however that may fall) to preschedule your posts and then sit back and wait for them to go live 😎

I have also recently discovered that Buffer can generate a weekly analytics report on the free plan too, which means you can check the analytics of up to 3 of your SM platforms all in one place to discover which posts have performed best that week.

It also automatically shortens any web links included in your posts!

I personally use Buffer to schedule LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook content.

Tweetdeck

For Twitter I use Tweetdeck (which is also amazing) to preschedule content.  You can  choose how you arrange the other columns within Tweetdeck.  I have a column set aside for each of the following:

  • Key word or search term – to monitor industry conversations in real-time.
  • Newsfeed – to see what’s happening in the world of Twitter
  • Notifications – to keep up with the interaction occurring on the business page
  • Private messages – to respond to queries
  • Prescheduled content – In order to review scheduled Tweets

You can keep on top of all of the above simultaneously without having to leave Tweetdeck.  This makes it so easy to have an overview of all aspects of your Twitter game in one place!

💡Want content to go live during the weekend … don’t be a sap, plan ahead during office hours 🙃

Social Media Tips

5)Keep up the Engagement 

A great rule of thumb is the 80:20 ratio.

Basically when you are coming up with content don’t deliver an ENDLESS sales pitch, that angle is TIRED!

Think about your audience and what they require.

Remember to engage with your followers/audience regularly via your Social Media.

If someone retweets you, thank them, if someone follows you, follow them back and reply to comments…It’s just good manners!

In Conclusion

I hope all of this information has been helpful and not too overwhelming.  Upping your Social Media game doesn’t have to be scary or extremely time-consuming; it can actually be quite fun!

If you have any questions, don’t be shy leave a comment 🤓

If you would like to chat about my social media management services please email me at:

rachael.h.nicholson@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. Alan Stevens

    March 25, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Good content Rachael. Easily read and useful. You’ve got me thinking about Instagram now. I want to drive people to my website and I think that might be a good vehicle. Pardon the pun.

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