Our next installment of the Digital Dialtone series focuses on Social Media. This is the topic small business owners love to hate. Social media needs to be a consistent part of an outreach and engagement strategy, but nearly all small business owners feel inadequate. Which social media platforms should be used? How often should posts be created?
Every business is different, so here are some easy tips to help you think about what works best for you. First, let’s review the “must have” social networks that you should start with at a minimum.
- Facebook – Facebook is used by the majority of small business owners and is by far the most popular. As a small business, you can create your own business Page, share it with your friends and start posting content.Here’s the problem with Facebook – in many cases, it tends to be the only social media platform used by many businesses. This is a mistake for two reasons. First, the organic reach on Facebook (the number of people you can reach using free posts and likes) is approaching zero. Facebook themselves have announced this, and are pushing advertising for small businesses. Second, by relying on just one network you are limiting yourself to a small subset of your following. There is an incorrect belief that anybody that “Likes” your business sees all your posts and conversation. In reality, it’s less than 5% of your “like” followers that are paying attention to what you post.
- Google+ – this social network confuses everybody, and for good reason. It’s not really a social network. Google evolves their engagement strategy on a regular basis, and they have moved away from creating a “Facebook killer”. However, Google+ may well be the most important place for you to be as a small business owner. Google My Business is a must if you want to show up in Local Search – so you should “claim” your business on Google. Also, any posts on your business Google+ will help your Search Engine Optimization – so people organically searching for you on Google will have a better chance of finding you. Google continues to add more good reasons to engage your audience on the set of Google platforms, even if nobody actually sees them when you post them!
- Twitter – this is not a strong player in the small business market. It’s used by larger brands as a Customer Service tool, and also a way to consume content to measure intent and opinion. Generally speaking, people aren’t going to be talking about your small business on Twitter.However, sometimes the best strategy on social media is to be someplace more intimate where there isn’t as much noise. Creating your own Twitter channel might actually open up communication to your younger customers and allow you to touch them more regularly and effectively than any other possibility. Something to consider – because once you go someplace that’s already popular, how do you stand out?
- LinkedIn – since this is considered more of a business network, it’s probably not the best place to engage customers. But it’s an excellent place to engage fellow business owners – to ask questions, join local networking groups, learn new insights and generally keep up to date with the latest business trends. If you happen to be a blogger, it’s also a fantastic place to share your content.
I’m guessing your head is already swimming and the concern is that you can spend hours a day on this. But why not start small and work your way up? Based on this infographic, here are some suggestions on how to start:
- Respond to customer questions and feedback – the easiest thing to do online
- Don’t rely on a single social network
- Use a social publishing tool to push content out to all social networks at once
- Create regular and compelling content – whether you create it yourself, outsource it, or get your customers to assist (in the form of feedback and questions)
We’d love to help you get started – contact us to get this very important part of your digital marketing strategy into the fast lane!