Social Media for Small Biz –
More Than Just Being Present

Social Media for Small Biz – More Than Just Being Present
By Alfredo Ramos

 

Social media has rapidly become an integral component of any business’ marketing plan. Large or small, businesses around the world are taking advantage of social as an inexpensive way to get their brand message to the masses. But simply creating a social presence for your brand is only one piece of the puzzle, and that’s where small business owners may be falling short.

 

 

The key to effective social media for any small business is engagement. Although carving out a place for your business in the social arena is an important first step, generally that won’t be enough to achieve the desired results.The following best practices can help small businesses earn true engagement, not only with their current audience but also with potential customers that are active participants in the social sphere:

Get the most bang for your buck – or post. Spread your small business’ message across multiple social media networks for the greatest impact. Some of your potential customers may be looking exclusively to Facebook before making a purchasing decision, while others prefer to be reached through Twitter or Instagram. Utilizing different social platforms and cross-networking your social efforts will help you to reach the largest segment of your desired audience possible.

Don’t overlook what’s in your own backyard. According to comScore, more than 50% of local searches result in a purchase. And although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear ‘social media,’ connecting with your audience through local listing sites like Yelp, YP.com (Yellow Pages), Google Maps, even Facebook’s local search, can make a huge impact on your small business’ direct sales.

Bring attention to your content with visuals. More than any other group of consumers, social media users love images. In fact, Facebook users alone upload roughly 350 million photos each and every day. Take advantage of their affinity by sharing photos to drive engagement – and invite your customers to do the same. Asking customers to share their own photos of your product or service is a great way to engage with people who love your brand. Added bonus: word of mouth is always the best form of promotion, so allow your customers to do the talking through their pictures.

Harness the power of the #hashtag. Encouraging customers to use predetermined brand hashtags can help you to not only monitor what is being said about your business via social analytic tools, it also gives you an opportunity to insert yourself into and facilitate conversations as they happen. Hashtags can also be particularly useful for photo sharing apps like Instagram. Encourage your followers to employ your hashtag when posting photos of your product and ‘regram’ your favorites to spotlight loyal fans.

Keep it short and sweet. Whether it’s 140 characters on Twitter or 6 seconds on Vine, social media users have come to expect the information they’re looking for in short, concise snippets. Because of this standard, users will often scroll past long, overwhelming blocks of text. To ensure that your audience doesn’t bypass your business’ social posts, keep them quick and to the point, even on outlets without restrictions.

When it comes to running social media for your business, success is achieved through more than a simple online presence. Keeping these best practices top of mind when creating a social media plan will help your business do more than just register for an account: it will provide your small business with the true fan engagement necessary to generate leads through social media and make an impact among current and potential customers alike.

Alfredo Ramos is the director of social products for Webs. He leads day-to-day operations, product development, and technology strategy for all social services, including Pagemodo, a popular social marketing suite for small businesses. Prior to Webs, Alfredo was head of product development at InQuent Technologies, a Toronto-based wholesale web and email hosting platform that was acquired by Network Solutions in 2005. During his tenure at Network Solutions, Alfredo launched the company’s hosting platform, eventually scaling it from a new product into Network Solution’s second largest product line. Alfredo was also responsible for leading Network Solutions’ websites, email, and mobile products.