Social Media for Small Businesses

Cara Schoettes, Marketing Director 

We are often asked about the role social media plays for small businesses. Rarely are we heading to social media to see what our insurance agent has recently posted, so should they spend the time posting? Many of us use social media in our personal lives to connect with friends and family, celebrate together, stay connected over space and time, share news and events, and so much more– so why should our favorite businesses be any different? 

That sounds good and well, but with all of the things on your to-do list, it can be hard to dedicate time to something without knowing the benefits of it. Your time and your employees’ time is precious, so you have to be sure social media makes sense before devoting resources to it. 

Let’s dive into what it takes to execute a successful social media strategy and what benefit it can bring to your company. 

What should my social media strategy consist of? 

There are a few key things to focus on when thinking about your social media. Posting consistently is important. You don’t have to post every day, but there shouldn’t be months of silence in between posts either. I recommend using a scheduling platform to help stay on top of posting. Schedule your basic posts for the month ahead to maintain that consistency with testimonials, product highlights, and staff introductions, and then week-to-week sprinkle in some real-time content.

When you are thinking about what to post, always be asking yourself, “what do my followers want to see?” If you’re not sure, you can always ask them! I also always look back on past posts to see what has the highest engagement metrics and try to repeat that style. 

For a small business, high engagement usually comes from content that feels really original–employees at an office potluck, an event you are sponsoring, before and after photos of a client’s haircut, a short video responding to your commonly asked questions– get creative, but don’t forget to simply share what is already going on around your business, that “peek behind the curtain” goes a long way.

Build a community with your followers, engage in conversation with your network. It is important to always reply to comments from users, but I also recommend posts and comments that ask questions and share helpful information. 

Finally, always be growing! Be sure you are working to grow your social network by asking existing customers to like your pages, and for people to share and comment on posts. All of this expands the number of people seeing each post, furthering your reach.

How can social media benefit my business? 

Social media still has tons of benefits, no matter what industry you are in. Below I lay out a few, but it is certainly not all of them! 

Brand Awareness: Your brand is coming up in front of more eyes, more often which is always a good thing. Whether they are people who like your page, people who see comments their friends are making on your page, or an advertisement that is served through your social media, more engagement means more people are seeing your logo and hearing your message.

Business Legitimacy: In this day and age if you aren’t on social media it can be hard to convince buyers that you are a legitimate business. Your profile page acts like another digital storefront in addition to your website. It is a way to show you are active, the personality of your business, and details about your goods and services. Buyers are looking for a seamless online experience more and more, if you don’t have active accounts, it can communicate that you don’t dedicate time and attention to your digital experience. 

Cross-Selling Opportunities: If your existing customers are following along with your page, posting about your various offerings will bring awareness to your client base. Imagine that a company you bought tennis shoes from also sells jackets. You love the quality of your shoes from them, but they aren’t as well known for their other products. If you see a photo and a sale on social media about their jackets, you are likely to try one out because you already like the brand. 

Industry Expertise: Social media is a great platform to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Let’s say you sell insurance. These platforms are a great way to offer explanations of confusing concepts, break down industry trends, and so much more. Imagine the advice you wished your mom, best friend, or son would get from a trusted source–then become that trusted source.

Lead Generation: I hesitate to even mention this one because it really should not be your main focus when it comes to social media, but alas, I can’t ignore it. There are ways to find new customers on these platforms, whether that is through boosted posts, paid advertisements, or giveaways on your page. When you are thinking about these possibilities, remember that users will end up back on your page to learn more about your business, so if you haven’t executed the advice above, your success rate will decrease. Think of lead generation as the beginning of your conversation. Maybe someone follows you for your expert advice, design examples, or weekly jokes; if you are using your platform to create a community, they will eventually turn into a customer. 

Let’s recap. Is social media worth your time and resources as a small business? YES. 

No matter what industry you find yourself in, engage with your customers as people. If you don’t know where to start, follow your competitors and those who you admire. Find what you like about their social media strategy and what you dislike about it. Take small steps and learn as you go. Never forget, there is no “right way” to run your social media. It should be as unique as your business is. And more than anything, remember to have fun with it! 

Want help with your social media needs? Your friends at Code & Color offer a social media package. Learn more here.