Why Social Media? The beginners guide for small business.

We get it, there are a million things to do in a day, who has the time, to think about social media? If you are running a small business, it is essential to have a social media base to expand. Social media is the cheapest, furthest reaching and most engaging way of gaining customer support, loyalty and boosting business visibility.

If your business has little to no social media presence, 2021 is the time to change that. Everything you need to run your social media effectively now fits into your pocket. If the pandemic changed anything in consumer behavior, it has presented an upward trend of shopping local. Small business has a time to shine and it is time to take up that opportunity. Social media is an important part of your marketing toolkit and should not be overlooked.

If you are new to Social Media, here are some simple steps to boost your social media game.

Choosing your Platforms
Firstly, let us talk about which social media platforms to use. There are a number around, but which are worth your while? Let us talk about which to use for maximum results with the lowest effort. It is always good to consider the age of your customers and your location as you develop your presence.  

  1. Facebook. For the broadest demographic, and greatest reach, Facebook is your go-to platform. It is user friendly and is an easy addition to your business toolkit. Facebook boasts the strongest uptake of the baby boomer generation, and the highest reported use in rural and suburban usage compared to other platforms.
  2. Instagram. If you are not on Instagram, you are neglecting the biggest emerging social media demographic, 13-17 and 18-29-year-olds. Instagram has a huge range of abilities all based around images and video. Due to its broad range of functions, you can be as formal or casual with your content as you would like. Setting up a business account is easy, and it integrates seamlessly with Facebook, meaning you can manage both pages from one place.
  3. Twitter. Twitter was once considered one of the 3 most popular social platforms. However, over recent years we have seen a considerable downward trend in the use of the platform. Nevertheless, Twitter remains the premier platform to use to easily expand your network and maximize your message reach, even with a small number of followers thanks to their algorithm.
  4. LinkedIn. The numbers for LinkedIn should be analyzed with some thought about the audience it caters to. There is still a place for LinkedIn if your business is often engaged in business-to-business (B2B) activity, corporate networking or in a profession where you offer or engage with professional services. However, if you use LinkedIn with the intent of engaging customers, it is simply not worth your time. If you are engaging in corporate communications, this is exactly what the network is designed to do.
  5. TikTok. TikTok has taken off over the span of the pandemic. There is a huge uptake in the Millennial and Gen Z audience, so if this is your key demographic, it is worth considering. However, there are a few things to keep in mind with TikTok. Firstly, your content must be short video based. This means stock images, text and low-tech production is off the table. Also, the media has shed light upon the platform’s security. As a result, many individuals have opted against using the platform, opting instead for Instagram Reels to substitute this functionality.

Generating Content
If you are worried or are short on time, elect a member of staff to be your Social Media Champion. If you have not the time to manage your business’ social media, why not give the responsibility to someone else? Empower your Social Media-savvy staff and pass the responsibility to them! They may just surprise you with what they come up with. A simple social media policy, if you do not have one already, will be all you need to set the expectations and to begin posting.

The content you post should begin with some content on your store, location, promotions, partnerships, or an event. Increase your follower’s ability to identify your store as they pass it, especially if you are a small business. Try to highlight your team’s achievements. This promotes a community-centric focus for your business and can lead to consumer connection, loyalty, and trust.

If you’re short on time, you may also consider some software to assist in content generation. A Social Media Management tool such as Hootsuite, MeetEdgar or Buffer can work to overcome some of the ground work involved in generating your content, just ensure the platforms you’re using are compatible. If you just have Facebook and/or Instagram, check out Facebook’s Creator Studio for a free social media management tool to help you design and post content to these two platforms synchronously.

Establish an Audience
There is little point to putting in effort into these platforms if no one sees it, so prompt your audience to follow your page. There are a few ways to do this, but here are some simple tips to start.

Right now, fluency in the use of QR Codes is rising, so a simple QR code pointing to your Social Media page can make all the difference. Simply generate a QR code on a QR generator website, and hang it in your shop window, or near a dispensary, for customers to scan as they wait for their scripts.

Further, you can run a promotion based around social media use, have your staff encourage people to follow your business or offer a coupon code if you have an online shop presence.

The three first steps
To sum up, I recommend the following 3 steps to revolutionise your business’ social media presence.

  1. Choose your platforms carefully. Do not overcommit at the start to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  2. Create a sustainable system for content production, either by outsourcing the job or considering the kinds of content you wish to create.
  3. Establish your audience and get creative! Think of ways to get people engaged in your content, whether it is through a promotion or a by using a simple QR Code.

Written by Samantha Junor