by Nadyja Von Ebers
It’s no secret that big businesses absolutely rely on their social media presence to gain visibility and sustain massive profits, but how should brand new, very small business utilize social media to best hit the ground running and establish themselves? Teeny companies frequently tank in their nascent stages for many reasons, but a strong social media strategy will help diminish the chances of this happening. For the sake of clarity, let’s call a “very small, very new company” one with ten or less employees (with an average of five) and one that has existed six or less months. We’ll dedicate another piece entirely the analytics of social media marketing and boosting site traffic and profit conversions, but below are a few key things to keep in mind to up your social media game as you’re just starting out.
Facebook is King
All of the social media platforms can be very useful for growing your business (more on this later) but Facebook still reigns supreme for boosting overall visibility and brand awareness and for increasing site traffic. This is because of Facebook’s multidimensional platform and diverse functions, and because quite simply, everyone is on it. If you only have time to cultivate one social media outlet, is absolutely must be Facebook. In fact, have an attractive and functional Facebook page up and ready before your business launches so that you’re ready to use it once you’re in the thick of things, and so that you can formally announce your business launch.
It’s Going to Take Time
This piece of wisdom operates on two levels. First, the reality is, that when your business is starting out, you’re going to need to spend a lot of time updating and building your social media presence. Different business owners cite different numbers when it comes to hours a week spent engaging in social media marketing, but most agree that at least five dedicated hours are crucial to developing an enticing and interactive social media brand. Second, remember that it will take time to drive traffic and to build a true network. Be patient and be consistent; businesses with recent social media activity are more likely to be patronized and frequented than ones without. You know the famous adage from Field of Dreams “if you build it they will come?” Keep building your presence and customers will show up.
Differentiate Your Platforms
There is a wealth of social media platforms that can be invaluable to small businesses but the trick is to avoid redundancies across them. Customers will quickly grow tired of being bombarded with the same content flashing in their faces on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. While it is critical to remain consistent in your aesthetic, tone, and posting frequency, each platform should serve a markedly different purpose. For example, Facebook can be used to for general updates, blog posts, events, and reviews, while Twitter can be used to plug promotions and Instagram to boast new items or services through photos.
Participation is Key
Even the most curated and manicured social media outlets will remain virtually useless in growing business if you do not engage with your customers (both loyal and potential) through them. Like it or not, you have to communicate with customers this way. You have to respond to comments, messages, and tweets, and you should even get in the habit of sharing others’ posts as well as re-tweeting and re-graming content from affiliated friends and businesses; this is how you will get the favor returned to you. When customers leave reviews–however positive or negative–you have to reply quickly, politely, and eloquently. N new businesses often try to retain new but less-than-satisfied customers by promising refunds or freebies in response to complaints, but resist the urge to do so! When this tendency is made known publicly, you run the risk of being exploited and losing profit.
Delegation is Paramount
Very small companies often only have one social media/community manager, and that’s okay! While this job requires a lot of work from the outset, the perk is consistency in voice and tone, and in turn, unified branding. Because social media will often serve as a customer’s first introduction to you (even prior to visiting your website), it is crucial that this position is in the hands of someone who can work quickly and creatively––but also articulately! A social media page rife with spelling and grammar errors, for example, is a massive stain on your new business. Now, if your business is big enough to have multiple employees tackling social media management, the key is to delegate efficiently. Will one person be in charge of each platform? Who is best suited for which, and why? Will different employees work across platforms but on different types of marketing executions (e.g someone answers all customer correspondence while someone else pushes deals)? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you might imagine to get your wires crossed here, resulting in redundant or under-posting, inconsistent voice and tone use, the sharing of misinformation, etc. Decide early on who will be in charge of what and stick to it.
Here at MtM. Inc., we love helping with social media management. Contact us today and we’ll help you get your business visible to the rest of the world!