Social media has become a normal part of our everyday lives. It feels like everyone, young and old, is on social, finding new recipes from that influencer on Instagram or posting photos of their child on Facebook because their mom said their grandma and aunts want to see more. If both of my grandmothers, who are in their 80s, are on Facebook and social media channels, shouldn’t small businesses as well?
As our Deluxe team traveled across the country as part of our Small Business Revolution – Main Street Season 4 Top 10 tour, we spoke to small businesses about social media. Every single business owner recognized social media as imperative to their business. Some businesses, like The Pink Door Boutique in Durant, Oklahoma, are owning the social game with more than 37,000 followers on Instagram. Others realize they need to be doing more, but don’t feel like they have the time to dedicate to social. Because keeping up with your customers on social media is basically a full-time job.
Managing a small business’ social media channels is time consuming. To help we offer these tips to make it easier, and more successful:
- Select the channels your audience is using
Sometimes, small business owners can fall in the trap of just being on social media without meeting their customers on the channels they use most. As a small business, it’s important to consider how your target customer uses social media and what makes sense for the industry you’re in. With more than 2.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the strongest platform that every business should utilize, no matter the industry. With age 50 and older being the fastest growing audience, Facebook is easily the medium where you can reach the largest audience, especially those who may likely turn into customers.
For visual businesses, like restaurants and retail, Instagram can help increase traffic. Post great photos of your food or new inventory; share updates to the business or items you want to sell fast. PEARL eatery and drinkery in Menominee, Michigan, does a great job of posting amazing photos of their food on Instagram, enticing people to visit if they’re in the area.
- Create compelling content
Creating a successful content strategy hinges upon who you are as a business and who your customers are on social media. The goal is to find the points of connection. As you develop your content strategy, take the time to consider what you represent and match it up against what is expected both from the business and from the channel. Focus on finding those connections, and you’ll find success.
For example: If you own a restaurant, you’d list out the type of restaurant, what you serve and what makes you unique. If you offer made-from-scratch menu items, that’s something to put on your list. Then, think about what restaurant-goers expect, which can be anything from seeing the food and menu before they head to the restaurant, specials, deals or events. Show the people who work there and some pictures from behind the scenes. When you see the crossover between the two, you can begin to develop a strategy that celebrates what you do as a unique business, with visual representations of both your food and what goes on at your restaurant.
- Consider a paid social media strategy
Pay-to-play is increasingly becoming the new normal for social media. Facebook has made unpaid posts by businesses harder to see in users’ feeds. Paying a relatively small amount of money will increase your presence in their feeds, maximizing your impact. Even though paid social is an investment, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and we suggest small businesses experiment to see what works best.
On Facebook, paid social takes two forms: boosted posts and ads. Boosted posts are the most basic way to advertise and will help introduce your business to a new audience. The best way to determine a post to boost, is to consider ones that have already had high engagement, because if they did well with your current followers, then it’s likely to be compelling to a new audience. It’s also a good idea to consider posts that drive an action, like taking people to your website. Facebook ads are the more advanced option but are customizable and let you choose your ad placement, format of your campaign and overall objective.
Boosting is a quick way to increase engagement and visibility, while ads give you more control over paid campaigns. The key is to experiment to find what the right mix of paid social works for your business.