The fact that social media continues to change the way people communicate isn’t new information. The statistics and information that support the way people use social media continues to roll in.
Just last week, Social Media Today cited 50 percent of most major brands use Instagram but it’s expected to rise to 71 percent by 2018.
Customers often research purchases online and seek recommendations from friends and family. This research and recommendations from connections reaches a crossroads with social media.
This means social media is an increasingly important tool for small businesses. Friends and family are there, reviews of a product are there, and your brand should be there too.
A brand’s return on investment can be huge. From building awareness with new customers to maintaining relationships with existing clients, social media is a great platform for a brand to grow.
While all of this sounds great, it doesn’t change the fact that the world of social media can be overwhelming. Adding the fact that your business may be strapped for funds, time, and/or manpower means entering the social media world with a game plan is hugely important.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Let’s start with the importance of quality.
Social media is an important space to engage first and market second. Focusing on a handful of quality posts that carry value, relevance and importance for your audience is a better strategy than quantity. Clicking and posting rapidly might check the box of social media presence but it likely won’t produce very much engagement.
Next, focus on community.
Companies don’t build communities, people do and as business it is important to foster community. That means continuously listening, improving and exceeding customer expectations.
As a small business, your audience is likely out in the same community and fostering that helps you become more relatable to your audience. Really it is about word of mouth, relationships, credibility, brand love and so many other things.
Consider advertising too.
You’ve spent the time to build a presence on social media and you are posting quality, engaging content for your audience, the natural next step might be spending some money. From Google Adwords to try and improve search engine optimization (SEO) for your website, to a lead-generating advertisement on Facebook, there are a plethora of opportunities that can be very targeted to your audience.
Just because social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are constantly rolling out new capabilities doesn’t mean you need to try to do and be all of them.
Focus on what works and only take on what you can handle. Then, if that process is working for you; repeat it. Growing and adopting more may come down the line but, just like with your business, focus on what you’re good at and maintain that.
There are plenty of tools and resources online to help your small business elevate and be present on social media, but most of all be patient while learning what works for your business on social media.
Brook Bentley is the social media and content manager for Sierra Nevada Media Group.