Social Media Marketing Dos and
Don’ts for Small Businesses
Social media use is nearly universal in 2021. And while a recent social media behavior survey shows 36% of participants don’t use these platforms while at work, social networking sites play a crucial role in how you market your business.
Social media can provide ample opportunities for brands to connect with customers. But that doesn’t always mean you’ll be an expert at social media marketing.
Small business owners, in particular, are often tasked with handling their own social media management. If you’re taking on social media marketing in-house, you’ll want to keep these dos and don’ts in mind for a more successful strategy.
Establish Your Goals First
Before you ever start posting on social media for your small business, you need to identify your goals. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Improve website traffic? Raise sales conversions?
While you can work towards several key performance indicators (KPIs) at once, you’ll want to zero in on specific, realistic, and measurable goals for your social media marketing. Because many of these platforms include analytics features, this can make your progress that much easier to track.
Once you understand the goals you’ll be working toward, you can establish a strategy that will help you achieve your aims. But if you skip this step, you’ll have no real sense of direction – and that will hinder your progress.
Research Your Audience
After you determine your goals, you’ll need to figure out who you’re trying to reach. Who is your target audience? Which platforms do they use the most? And what kind of content do they respond to?
You’ll need to conduct some market research to ensure that your posts resonate with your ideal demographic. Be sure to choose and use the best hashtags for your posts, as well. Hint: it’s not always best to use the most popular options! If you run a local business, get more specific with your hashtag strategy to reach customers in your area or with more niche interests.
If you can truly understand your audience and what kinds of challenges they face, you’ll be in a better position to create meaningful connections with them.
In order for your strategy to be effective, consistency is key. Social media algorithms tend to reward accounts that post regularly, and customers usually respond well to companies that manage to keep their brands relevant.
That doesn’t mean you should post multiple times per day. Though that may be effective for some brands, it may drive followers away. Striking the right balance can be a challenge, but you should aim to post once a day or at least a few times a week in a fairly predictable manner. Depending on the platform, more frequent posts may be warranted.
Whatever schedule you decide to follow, you’ll want to stick to it and not wait too long between posts. You can usually schedule posts in advance to account for weekends, holidays, or vacations. This can also come in handy during busier seasons, so be sure to plan ahead if you suspect social media could easily fall by the wayside.
Forget to Provide Value
Posting consistently is important, but you should never post just for the sake of posting. If you know your audience hasn’t heard from you in a while, you shouldn’t scramble to find something to post at the last minute. This usually translates to lower engagement, which can be frustrating.
Instead, focus on the value you can provide. Often, that just means you’ll need to work smarter – not harder. There are hundreds of ways to recycle content you’ve already created. Finding new ways to utilize older images or concepts you’ve touched on in the past can help you get more out of your marketing budget. Best of all, you can put your creativity to good use.
Above all else, determine how you can improve your customers’ lives by solving their problems or connecting with them on a more personal level. It’s not about a hard sell. You should aim to educate or entertain. If your posts contain one of those elements, they’re going to be more valuable – and your followers will be more likely to interact with your posts, visit your website, and associate positive feelings with your brand.
Ignore Your Customers
Social media gives the chance for you to build relationships. Don’t squander the opportunity to connect with people who already love your brand!
That means you should always respond to comments, private messages, and any other communications that take place on these social media platforms. And that means more than “liking” a comment or replying with an emoji.
You must take the time to respond to their questions, comments, and concerns. In many ways, social media management involves more than mere promotion; it’s also about customer service and public relations.
If you ignore attempts to contact your brand through social media, you could damage your business’s reputation. To improve your brand perception and support your marketing efforts, you need to make your customers a priority.
Sweep Problems Under the Rug
Brand controversies aren’t exactly uncommon in the digital age. It’s easier than ever for followers to share their experiences, both good and bad.
That’s why you need to make sure you’re transparent and that you lead with integrity. As a rule, you shouldn’t delete comments unless they’re truly offensive. Disabling comments or messaging features won’t do your brand any favors, either.
Instead, tackle any crises that arise with compassion and honesty. While you shouldn’t delve into the nitty gritty details for everyone to read, you should be accountable for your actions and demonstrate how you’ll improve in the future. (This means you shouldn’t blame the “intern” for a social media faux pas!)
With social media, you can’t really sweep problems under the rug. Even if you manage to stop the comments and the messages, the fallout will still occur. It’s better to tackle problems early on and establish a plan in the event that something goes awry. That way, you can present a united front and come up with solutions quickly.
You Can’t Avoid Social Media, But You Can Prevent Problems
As a small business owner, you can’t stay off social media entirely. If you expect to compete, you need to have a presence on these platforms. To avoid issues and to get the most possible out of your strategy, refer back to these dos and don’ts.