If you’re one of the over 627,000 new small businesses to enter the market this year, you know there is a lot to think about to get your company seen by prospective clients. While there are many different options to consider when it comes to marketing tactics, one media that most marketers agree on is having a presence on social media. But where to start? Here are some social media tips for new small business owners.

Choose your social platforms wisely

advertising on social channelsWhile the allure of some of the newer, trendy platforms might be alluring, savvy small business marketers know that not all social media platforms make sense for small businesses. Instead of trying to be everywhere, try to choose the platforms where your customers are. LinkedIn leans more towards business-to-business communications, while Facebook serves both. Instagram is more visual, while Twitter communicates in short snippets. If you’re appealing to the younger crowd, Facebook may not be the primary platform for you. Take the time to understand each platform, who resides on those platforms, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. The best way to understand where your audience resides is first to understand WHO your audience is. It’s a very good idea to start with a small business marketing strategy; even a more streamlined strategy will help you understand who you’re trying to reach and where they go to consume information. If you know who your competitors are (and if you don’t, a strategy will help with that too!) look to see what social media platforms they’re currently are and what kind of engagement they’re getting.

Determine how you measure success on social media

measure successThere are several ways to measure success on social channels, but not all translate to sales. While newbie marketers get caught up in likes, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll increase revenue. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish on social media and how you’re going to measure it. Sprout Social said it best when they wrote that the most common and often important metrics to pay attention to are engagement, impressions, and reach, share of voice, referrals, and conversions, and response rate and time. These combined will give you a 360º view of your social media performance. Digging a bit deeper, think specifically about revenue. Are you looking to drive people to your website? Engage with you only on social media? Pick up the phone? Sign up for an email blast? Depending on your goals, some platforms are better for some of these results than others. On Facebook, for example, visitors can engage with your company and even go so far as complete a purchase without ever visiting your website if you’ve set up a store. Not all social platforms offer that.

Consider how much time you must dedicate to social media marketing

action plan timeAs with any marketing, the more you put in, the more you get out. If you spread yourself too thin across too many platforms, chances are you’ll be mediocre results on all your channels. Some social channels demand more interaction while others not so much. Effective efforts on Facebook require someone stays on top of comments and messages. Instagram is similar. Twitter can nurture entire online conversation strings. Do you have the resources to dedicate to these efforts to make them successful? If not, less is more; put a solid effort into a few key platforms instead of spreading yourself thin.

Take advantage of professionals who specialize in small business marketing

social media expertWhile new small business owners feel they simply can’t dedicate the funds to paying someone to manage their social media, there are resources that can assist you in managing your platforms effectively while generating leads. Chances are when you’re first starting a business, you don’t have time to post, monitor, and interact with various social platforms. A small business social media specialist can do that on your behalf as well as provide social media tips you can try. Most will start with a basic social media plan, so you know exactly which platforms to be on, how often to post and what to post. For example, many businesses that are new to social media tend to talk about themselves, but that will quickly discourage engagement on your platforms. Savvy marketers know that 80% of social media posts should be useful to your audience — meaning, it educates, entertains, or offers a solution to their problems — and only 20% should explicitly promote your business. That’s just one example of how small business marketing expertise can benefit your social media efforts.

If you’re a small business owner just starting to consider social media as a marketing tactic, consider the social media tips and suggestions provided to help make your efforts a success. Not sure where to start? Contact Strategic Marketing Services to learn how we can help!

Patty Hughes
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