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Running a small business is hard work. Especially if you are just starting out, you will often be taking on multiple roles, and doing much more work than your larger counterparts. In the midst of all of this, social media is often the last thing on your mind! How can you spend time posting when you have a business to run? It may feel almost pointless.
However, social media is an incredibly useful tool to help build your small business. Especially in 2021, it has become a well-established and reliable way to promote your brand and reach your target audience. If you are able to find a method that works for you it will become an irreplaceable asset to your business.
Though it can seem daunting at first, with these five simple tips you will soon feel like a social media expert- and maybe even find yourself enjoying it.
Why is social media so important for small businesses?
In 2021, social media has become a fact of life for any business. In the minds of some users, if you don’t have a social media presence for your brand, you may as well not exist. While this may seem extreme, social media is the way that many people find new brands and services, and helps inform their purchasing decisions.
For small businesses, social media is even more important than that. It is a way to establish your brand voice, to reinforce your ethos and purpose, and to create genuine connections with your customer base. Think of your social media page as the new storefront. You use it to attract more customers in a way that reflects accurately what your business is all about. Social media is so valuable because it gives you a way to interact with more people than you would otherwise on a day to day basis, all the while further reinforcing your brand identity to your audience and potential customers.
How to approach social media as a small business
Understanding the value that social media has for small businesses is the first step to using it confidently as a business tool. You know it is a way to genuinely connect to your ideal audience and customer base, but you don’t know where to start in reaching them! Here are five tips to help make approaching social media for a small business far more simple:
1. Decide what matters most to you
Metrics and analytics can be the most daunting part of running a social media account. You may be tempted to measure your success with social media based on the amount of followers you have, or the number of likes your posts get in the first hour. However these figures may not be what serves your company best.
Take a step back and think about what you are hoping to achieve with your social media account.
If your answer is to connect and build relationships with your clients, then having a huge following shouldn’t matter to you. Instead focus on building a small, connected community. Tailor your posts in a way that gives more behind the scene insight, and try different methods to increase interaction in comments or messages.
You may be primarily concerned with protecting your ideal brand image to attract desired customers. In that case, carefully considering content and layout will be more beneficial than mass reach.
Remember that social media is a tool for you to use in a way that works best, your success on social media won’t look the same as everyone else- all that matters is that you find a way to make it work for you.
2. Analyse what is working and what isn’t
You may be trying too hard in the wrong areas on social media. There’s no use posting ten Instagram stories a day if it’s not giving you any results. Instead of pushing along with what you think will give you results, have a proper look into what is giving you’re the results you want.
This is the time to delve into the insights tab and have a good look at the information there. Consider things such as type of content, amount, and time of day posted. You may find that your most successful strategy is something you wouldn’t expect. You might be spending time curating polished posts, while your audience loves your casual posts sharing personal stories or quirks of your business. Maybe you notice significantly more shares on shorter video content than photos.
Compare against platforms too, if one is booming while others suffer, consider shifting your focus to that and encouraging your audience to follow your other social media platforms too.
Knowing what is working for you and what isn’t will give you an opportunity to clarify what to focus on, making planning how to approach social media much more simple!
3. Build your authentic brand identity
It’s 2021, social media has been around for over a decade. Audiences can pick up on tone easily and have a radar for brand accounts that are ingenuine or pandering to a certain group. More than ever, it is vital to build your brand identity in an authentic way on social media.
That’s not to say you can’t streamline your brand ‘personality’ in a way that assist you in building your social media presence. When creating a social media voice, ensure that you are reflecting the core values of your company. The tone and approach you take can depend on how you wish to present.
For example, it would make sense for you to adopt a light hearted, bubbly voice in your social media captions and posts if you have a custom cupcake business, or a more calm and serene tone if you sell spa products. There is nothing wrong with adjusting the tone you use to suit your product.
It is important however to keep the content you post and share authentic to your brand. Don’t jump on to trends just because they’re popular if they don’t reflect your brand identity honestly. If you are stressed about how to decide on the tone your small business should adopt, remember it should feel easy- do what comes naturally to you and it will be authentic!
4. Don’t forget customer service
Running social media as any small business will present countless opportunities to show off your dedication to customer service. Customer queries and complaints are often viewable by the public when directed to you on social media. This may frighten you, but remember that other customers seeing you deal in a professional and friendly manner will reflect well on your business. As such, make sure you reply to customer issues or concerns as quickly as you can. Answering questions and giving helpful advice may end up being a bit of work, but remember you wouldn’t just ignore a client if they were with you in person!
By doing this, you will gain the trust and respect of your social media community, and further build support for your small business.
5. Stay consistent
While you don’t need to overload your social media with constant content, it is important to stay consistent with posting. Decide how much you are able to manage and stick to that instead of aiming impossibly high. Of course, posting too much could end up driving your audience away! Strike the balance that is right for you, and most importantly- stick with it. By remaining consistent with how often you post throughout the week, your audience will become more familiar with your small business, and begin to look forward to your social media content.
The more familiar your customers are with your presence, the more engagement you will begin to garner. This is where the fun really begins for you, you are building a loyal community for your small business. Engage with this community with and on your posts, this connection is incredibly valuable to a small business.
Social media is a useful tool to increase the growth of your small business. As you establish and expand your business, you may go through stages where you need to consider the future of your business. This may mean changes in direction, bringing on a partner, or the possibility of sale. In these cases it is important to get a professional business valuation to determine the accurate overall value of your business.
An independent business valuer will investigate your business by analysing its financial records, the current state of the industry including your position in relation to competitors, and other consistent and inconsistent variables which can influence the value.
By seeking a business valuation conducted by an experienced expert, you will be able make any decisions on the future direction of your business with thorough knowledge of its value and standing within the current market. Meanwhile, taking steps to grow your customer base and create a clear brand image will assist in strengthening the overall value of your business, and allow for future growth.
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