The value of social media to small business
It can be hard to consistently create content that is genuinely interesting to your followers, especially if you are a service based business. If you are a window cleaning company, it may be difficult to produce new and engaging content regularly. Window related posts could get samey very quickly. Coming up with sharable content is time consuming and outsourcing this can be really expensive.
Social media is a free way to market your business and add a personal touch to your brand. You can find a way to use platforms that suits you and your business. Some may choose to solely use it for customer support purposes. For example, you can encourage people to like your Facebook to connect with you and ask questions about your services and/or products. Alternatively you can treat your social feed as a sort of dynamic news ticker, updating your customers on what you’re doing and any developments in the wider industry – making sure not just to treat it as a place to advertise new products as this can look very insincere.
Social media can be really worthwhile for small businesses but most are not taking full advantage of the platforms available. Twitter, YouTube and Instagram can be really useful for marketing your brand as well as the less commonly used channels such as LinkedIn and Snapchat. Making profiles for these media channels is only half the challenge, it is important that you first understand your target market.
If you do choose to use social media to market your business, it is important to measure and manage it properly. At Freshpath, we can help you manage your social media with affordable and sustainable plans aimed at small businesses. Understanding, firstly, the frequency with which to post and, secondly, the optimal times of day at which to post on the various channels can have a large impact on the reach of individual posts.
Picking a Social Media Platform for your Business
Several factors are relevant in choosing which social media platforms to use for your business. An important point to note first up is that, unless you have plenty of resources and are able to manage them all at once, it is likely a mistake to simply get onto every platform available – far better to focus your limited energy on two or three channels.
Your target market will largely direct your choice of social channel because, and this might sound like an obvious point, but there’s no point being on e.g. Twitter if your target demographic doesn’t use Twitter, perhaps because they’re a younger audience. As a business, you should have a clear picture of your primary and secondary users or customers – really think about where these people are likely to spend their time online, and make sure you’re there.
Another key factor is the type of business you are and the impression you want to give. If you are a brand that is heavy on visuals like a photography studio then Instagram is likely a hugely important channel, and a great way for you to showcase your brand. If the sharing of opinions and ideas is an important dimension of your business, perhaps you should focus your energy on building a strong Twitter following and joining the relevant debates in your industry there, whilst LinkedIn might be a great resource in reaching out to other leading organisations in your field.
Using social media to interact with your audience
Social media channels are not simply a way for customers to hear about your product or service, but are much deeper and more powerful. They are a way for your customers to get immersed in your brand, really feeling part of it. They can post comments directly to you, start conversations about you using your hashtag and there are a whole host of other ways to encourage this interaction.
For example, you can get customers to vote between new product ideas – if you’re a drinks brand, you might get them to vote between three different flavour ideas for your new beverage. Another idea could involve photo competitions – whoever can take the best photo of your brand gets a year’s supply of your product.