Social media provides free and affordable marketing for small businesses. However, you'll need to pinpoint your audience before you sign up. While younger generations spend most of their time on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter, older generations may prefer Facebook and Pinterest. Focusing on a few platforms instead of signing up for them helps you produce tailored, high-quality content.
Once you've signed up and added your branding, you'll engage your audience with these social media tips for small businesses. As your follower count climbs into the hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands, you might be able to afford an entire social media team.
1. Mix Up Your Posts
Your audience reacts to your content in different ways. Discussion questions receive answers, videos earn views and photographs receive likes. If you post the same content every day, you'll notice high engagement rates in one area and low rates in others. Your follower count also plateaus or starts to drop, forcing you to rethink your strategy.
Diversifying your content reaches more people and boosts your engagement rates. When you host livestreams, you attract an audience who loves online entertainment. Discussion topics encourage your followers to stop scrolling and comment on your posts. Graphs and charts appeal to people who prefer factual data, while memes are practically guaranteed to earn likes.
Likewise, experimentation can break up a repetitive feed. Diverse, organized layouts are more visually appealing than a stream of product photos or imageless tweets. You can even plan an Instagram layout with a pattern instead of posting day-by-day.
Popular types of content include:
- Product photos
- Event announcements
- Motivational quotes
- Customer reviews
- Fun facts
- Instructional videos
Videos, slideshows and blog posts take more time to produce, so don't push yourself to upload three videos per week. Focus on quality over quantity so that viewers see you as a trusted resource.
2. Create a Content Calendar
You made a few Instagram graphics, so you decide to post them all today. The next day, you have time to make a few more. You're busy for the rest of the week and don't post anything. You have time to make one post on Monday, then fall behind and don't update your profile for two weeks. Followers disappear because you rarely post, and when you do, you drop everything in large batches.
Uneven posting is what happens when you don't make a content calendar. With a calendar, you'll space out your posts so that you share content on a regular schedule. Your calendar could look something like this:
- Monday: Inspirational quote
- Tuesday: New product reveal
- Wednesday: Five-star customer review
- Thursday: Behind-the-scenes peek
- Friday: Instructional video
- Saturday: Weekend sale announcement
- Sunday: Event livestream
You can review the entire year to plan for holiday-themed posts and major events, such as Cyber Monday sales. If you want to follow up on old content or avoid sharing the same post twice, your calendar has the record. Plan at least a few months ahead so that your content creators have a slideshow, blog post, video or illustration to share every day.
3. Incorporate Trends
Jumping on trends can give you a follower boost, but it's important to use a light touch. Some businesses are infamous for eye-rolling content that features outdated slang and corny memes. Utilizing trends doesn't mean talking down to your audience--instead, it means researching trending content, then adding these elements to your calendar.
For example, autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) videos have blown up on social media. ASMR videos use triggers, such as whispering or rummaging sounds, to stimulate a relaxing tingling sensation. You could jump on the trend by sharing videos like these:
- Packaging items, highlighting the crinkling sound
- Rummaging through small parts
- Whispering into a microphone as you complete tasks
- Showing viewers how to use your product with an emphasis on personal attention
- Turning pages in a relevant book or manual
- Chewing gum while talking about new releases
- Mixing paint, makeup or other ingredients
People who don't follow your business will watch these clips anyway because they enjoy the ASMR triggers. As the views increase, your videos may appear on YouTube or Instagram's trending pages. You'll gain followers who want to see more clips--and while they're at it, they might check out your website.
However, ASMR videos aren't always trending, so browse your platform to see what's popular. Since social media sites customize your feed according to your previous searches, you might have to branch out to see what's objectively trendy. You may find pet videos, livestreams, challenges, reviews, artwork, animated clips or music.
Once you see what's popular, share your own take on the subject and see how your audience responds. Keep in mind that trends change quickly, so don't base your entire calendar on a single topic.
4. Build Connections
Social media profiles without follower interactions come across as a little cold and distant. If you reply to someone's tweet and they don't respond, they seem detached, maybe even like they feel superior to you. Whether this is true or not, you're less likely to interact with them in the future.
A friendly response encourages you to interact again. Over time, you build a relationship with the person, interacting with their posts and turning to their business whenever you need their services. You connect with other followers and look forward to new content every day.
Interacting with followers builds a community around your brand. When you ask discussion questions, provide advice, listen to complaints, host events and engage through livestreams, you create human connections that make people attached to your company. Customer loyalty increases as they start seeing your brand as an extension of themselves.
However, in the wake of scandals from creators getting too close to their fans, you'll need to maintain a professional distance. Here's how to stay respectful:
- Don't interact with them on your personal account.
- Never talk about your personal life besides surface-level updates, such as what you're working on today.
- Avoid messaging your followers on their profiles unless you're running a giveaway, providing customer services or engaging in the lead to close process.
- Don't give your favorite followers special privileges.
- Limit the time that you spend talking to your audience.
For more interaction, create a Facebook group where your fans can ask questions, share memes and view exclusive posts, such as sneak peeks on new product releases. Group members will do some of the work for you by interacting among themselves. Plus, you'll earn a reputation as someone who fosters loving communities.
5. Experiment with Formats
Once, Instagram hosted pictures and hashtags. Today, Instagram's offerings include Reels, Stories, broadcast channels, group chats and online shopping. As social media expands, companies receive more tools to promote their business--but you'll also have to keep track of updates to maintain your advantage.
When Instagram shifted its focus to short videos, businesses that started uploading clips attracted more followers than the ones limiting themselves to photos. Companies learned that experimenting with new features helps you stay in touch with your audience. Try out new features, and don't worry about getting everything right the first time. Analytics tools show you what works and what needs improvement.
6. Collaborate with Influencers
Buying one sponsored post could introduce your brand to thousands of followers. Small businesses tend to look at influencers with millions of followers and think "I could never afford to collaborate with them!" However, you don't need to work with Instagram's top influencers to advertise yourself. In fact, those collaborations might be less effective because they appeal to general audiences.
Micro-influencers provide an approachable, cost-effective solution. They might have 10,000 followers instead of a million, but they also market themselves to a niche audience. If you own a cookware company, who do you think would attract more customers--a generic Instagram model or a vegan chef? Micro-influencer collaborations target your demographic.
Search for influencers in your niche with 100,000 followers or less, then reach out to discuss a collaboration. Typically, this involves giving them free products or sponsoring their content in exchange for an advertisement. The influencer may promote you in one of their videos, write a glowing review on their blog or share pictures of themselves using your product.
For an ongoing collaboration, an influencer could become a brand ambassador. They regularly promote your product and give followers an exclusive discount code, providing another incentive to work with you--people will visit their profile to receive the deal.
7. Host Giveaways
Everyone jumps at the chance to get free products, and giving away one item for free could double or triple your investment. Simply ask followers to complete an easy task, such as sharing your post, following you or commenting on a post, then choose a winner and give them a shoutout with their permission. Giveaways quickly multiply your following, and even when the giveaway ends, followers will stay in the hopes that you offer another.
8. Include Calls to Action
These social media tips for small businesses can turn visitors into leads. You grabbed your audience's attention, but that doesn't always translate to a sale. Most people like the post and move on. You need calls to action to push the viewer into taking the next step: visiting your site and placing an order.
Coupon codes are a popular incentive. At the end of your post, remind followers that they can enter a code to get 10% off their next order. Other calls to action include "Comment to let us know what you think!", "Check out our site for a surprise reward" and "Follow us to get notified when our next video goes live." These requests drive engagement, and they require minimal effort from your customers.
Polish Your Social Media Strategy
E-Marketing Associates' tools and services help you utilize our social media tips for small businesses. Our e-marketing tools include content scheduling, lead generation, analytics, content libraries, royalty-free image searches and the ability to post on multiple sites from one dashboard. Reach out to discuss customized solutions for your business.