Social media has become a permanent part of our daily lives. From its humble beginnings with Myspace, social media has grown to become a multi-billion dollar industry. With big social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tiktok, and the rest, billions of people log on to social media sites on a daily basis to connect with family, friends, acquaintances, and businesses. But do you know that small businesses can hack social media to grow their businesses? Do you know that there are some actionable tips that if you employ right now can start affecting your business growth almost immediately?
In this post, I’d be sharing with you 10 actionable tips with which you can use social media to grow your small business. Are you ready for the ride? Let’s dive in!
Choose The Right Social Media Channels
One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make when starting out with social media is that they open social media accounts on all social media platforms just because they can! Other small businesses opt for some specific social media channels because they see other businesses on those platforms. Doing that is one of the biggest mistakes that you can commit on social media.
To use social media effectively, you need to decide on the social media platforms that are best for you as a business. The easiest way to do that is by understanding your target audience and their preferred social media platforms, then matching that by opening accounts on those same channels!
Let me give you an example; if your small business is a software startup that is targetting young professionals, chances are that your target audience will be more on LinkedIn, with some of your target audience on Instagram and maybe Facebook. It will therefore be tomfoolery for you to go ahead and open a TikTok account or Reddit account for your business.
But how do you get to know which social media channels your target audience will prefer? I will explain that in the next subtopic.
Use A Social Media Persona!
So, as I was concluding the last subtopic, I asked the question; how do you know which social media channels your target audience prefers? The answer to that ladies and gentlemen is a social media persona.
A social media persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. I say semi-fictional because the representation is typically made of some facts and data, as well as some educated guesses.
Before you set out to start your small business, you research and find out the segment of the market that you are looking to serve. Additionally, as you start to build and expand your customer base, you begin to have a clearer picture of the people that typically patronize your small business. Representing that detail in a semi-fictional diagram to use for social media marketing is what is called a social media persona.
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According to Sprout Social, social media personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. Taking into account factors such as demographics, desires, and pain points, personas paint a picture of the individuals you’re trying to sell to. In other words, a profile of your perfect customer.
Share What Is Valuable To Your Customers
With your new social media persona, you should have a strong idea of who your target customer is, their preferred social media platform, and consequently their preferred type and form of content. Armed with that knowledge, it is integral that you share what is valuable to your customers and not what you think is the best for them.
There are a few ways to know what your customers prefer to see on your social media platforms. The first way is by sending out a survey to ask your audience what they prefer to see on your social media channels. Another way to know what your customers prefer to see on social media is by studying the kind of content that performs best on your social media channels.
But ordinarily, you should be able to make an educated guess on the type of content that your audience will like by studying your social media persona.
Be Social! It Is Called Social Media For A Reason!
A common mistake that small businesses make on social media is that they allow themselves to be sucked into sounding too official. Businesses that use that approach may find it rather difficult to connect with their audience, and even see a decline in their followership as time goes on.
The truth is that the medium is called social media for a reason! It is a platform where you can let your figurative hair down, and connect with your target audience on a more personal level. Obviously, if you are on a platform like LinkedIn, it is sensible to maintain a professional attitude, but for platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and even Facebook, you should experiment with being a little personal and maybe playful depending on your brand voice.
Spy On Your Competitors. The Right Way.
When it comes to using social media to grow small businesses, there is a foolproof way of getting results. That method is by spying on your competitors. Yes, you read that right the first time- spying on your competitors.
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There are things that your competitors are already doing the right way- maybe they have already figured out the best social media voice, or maybe they have found out the type of videos that works better in your industry than text and images. Whatever they are doing right, spying on them and borrowing a leaf (or leaves) from their book will help you achieve success faster. Obviously, it is not ethical to copy your competitors’ hook, line, and sinker, but the idea is to see what they are doing right and adapting that to your own business.
Advertise, It Is Important
You have to complement your organic social media marketing results with some advertising push if you want to quickly see results as a small business on social media. As you start your journey on social media, you will only have the eyes and ears of a small fraction of people on social media. But if you advertise, you will be exposing your brand and content to a new audience who might end up patronizing your business and connecting with you on social media. Basically, social media advertising for small businesses is a win-win if done properly.
Use Social Media Management Tools
A great way to use social media to grow your small business is by embracing social media management tools. Social media management tools are typically online software and apps that allow you to manage multiple social media channels from a single dashboard. They also allow you do other things like automating your social media posting, responding to your messages and mentions from a singular dashboard as well as monitoring trends and happenings in your industry.
Social media management tools are great for growth because they help you track what is working and what is not, and allow you to respond to queries and comments in a timely manner. Also, they help you track your growth in followership as well as other important metrics like profile visits, engagements, and clicks to your website.
I personally recommend Zoho Social, Hootsuite, and Buffer if you are looking for social media management tools to start with. They all have free versions but charge a fee if you need more options.
Consider A Social Media Calendar
Some small businesses and entrepreneurs make the mistake of creating their social media posts daily. I think it is a recipe for disaster, and it has been shown to prevent growth!
The best practice is to plan your social media posts ahead of time. You can then automate the content posting with the help of a social media management tool.
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You can plan your social media posts weekly, fortnightly, or better yet, on a monthly basis. Planning your social media posts ahead of time helps you to be orderly and consistent. It also gives you more time to focus on things that are more important to your business.
To plan your social media posts ahead of time, you need a tool called a social media content calendar. A social media calendar is simply a document that documents your future social media posts, the days you want to post them, and the time you plan to post them.
Creating a social media calendar is pretty easy; just create a calendar in a document, and input the posts that will be going out each day. However, you need to first decide whether you will be posting every single day, multiple times a day, or on certain days within the week. Whatever you decide to do, remember that consistency is the name of the game.
Customize Content For Each Channel
A huge mistake that small businesses make is that they write content, create a design, then share it across all social media channels. This approach will not lead to significant growth for you.
The truth is that the various social media channels are built differently and different forms of content do well on these platforms as well. For example, Twitter is text-based but accepts only 240 characters, Facebook and Linkedin accept more long-form content with a few images, while Instagram prioritizes visual content over text. Other platforms like Youtube and Tiktok prioritize video while forums prioritize discussions. The trick is to make sure that the content you are sharing is suited to the social media channel that you are posting it on. For it is only in so doing that you will get maximum exposure.
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Pay Attention To Trends
While it might become harmful to your brand if you jump on every trend on social media, it does a lot of good when you pay attention to social media trends, and use trends that agree with your brand to engage with your target audience. There have been many examples of brands that use trends intelligently to increase their brand exposure and get more customers. The trick is to know the trends that are potentially valuable to you and to intelligently execute.
Social media is an amazing tool for small businesses to quickly scale their business and grow organically. However, many small businesses often find themselves confused when it comes to the right way to use social media to achieve business growth. With the actionable tips outlined in this post, small businesses and entrepreneurs should be able to use social media to achieve business growth.