Recent research by a media authority in Australia has shown that a surprising majority of small businesses do not have a presence on social media. Furthermore, businesses which do have a place on social media don’t necessarily engage with their customers in the right way. This means that many businesses are simply not using social media to further their business. In order to craft an effective and targeted social media strategy for your business, you must determine how you can tailor a social media strategy that will work best for you.
#1 Target Customers
Before you start a social media profile for your small business, think about your market. What sort of life do your customers lead? What about customers you wish to attract and engage with? Do some research into the specifics of your target market (age, income, social media engagement, computer savvy). Instead of splashing out across all forums with a “scattergun” approach, try out one website or venue at first. For instance, if you have a whole lot of customers who you want to engage with long term, you may be better off engaging with chatty customers on Facebook, where there are no character limits. If your customers are young and flighty, Instagram may do the trick. For example, a bookshop with a clientele scattered amongst age groups may do better with a blog or Facebook page, whereas a hairdresser targeting young busy people may be better off with Twitter or Instagram.
#2 How Do You Communicate With Your Customers?
Think about the way you already make contact with customers and potential customers. Do your business exchanges involve lengthy emails, or are you on the phone all day? Is your business spread by word of mouth, or have you previously relied on an ad in the newspaper classified advertisements? Who does most of the communication with customers, you or a co-worker? The answer to all of these questions should guide how you craft your social media strategy. If you already answer emails all day, for instance, it should be easy to carve out some time to answer Facebook posts as well. If you have an employee who handles customer service, you should consider allowing this person access to social media accounts, so that your message can stay consistent.
#3 Build a Brand
Is your brand or business associated with a certain lifestyle or target demographic? Do you pride yourself on being the cheapest option available, or the most prestigious one? For instance, if your café is all about the latest coffee-brewing methods and foods, consider an Instagram page with pictures and recipes. If your brand is about promoting fitness, you could consider posting motivational slogans or pictures to Twitter. You must be sure to remember that you are not only promoting a product, but a whole concept. Remember, your social media business should be there to convince people that you have passion and expertise, not just that you know how to open a Twitter account!
#4 Make Sure You Have the Time
Owning a small business means that you have to have a lot of balls in the air at once. Many small business owners make the mistake of signing up for a social media account without determining whether they have the time to monitor it. Nothing will discourage your clients more, for instance, than discovering that your Twitter account hasn’t been updated in six months. Before you start a social media account for your small business, make sure that you or one of your co-workers has the time to monitor the account – each and every day. Choosing the right platform is important at this point, too: Instagram is great to promote a fashion or hospitality business, but you must ensure that there is enough going on in your business to produce a steady stream of interesting content. If your business is less suited to a stream of visual images, try Facebook or Twitter.
#5 Promote Your Social Media Presence Amongst Customers
There is no point putting the effort into a social media presence for your business if nobody uses it! Think about the places where you will be able to promote your social media accounts: billboards, advertisements, business cards, leaflets, or even a small placard near the cash register. You should make sure that you promote social media in a prominent place, ensuring that as many people as possible connect with you in the most convenient manner possible. Above all, you must make sure that you are patient: customers will not flood into your small business overnight, but if you carefully craft a flexible social media strategy, you will soon see results: happy customers, improved communication, and a way of promoting yourself that is much more robust than relying on word of mouth.