Getting Started with Social Media for Your Small Business
Amplify Your Brand
Boost your brand in the digital abyss
Take it from us - we know what it is like to be proud of your brand (we are small business owners, too!). You’ve put so much hard work into it and the world should know about the amazing-ness that is your business. The most efficient way to do that is utilizing the digital world to spread the word. If you are unsure about digital marketing, check out our past blogs on the importance of digital marketing and an explanation of the basics so you know what you’re getting into (we promise it's not that bad!).
We want to make it as easy as we can for you to amplify your brand, so below are some steps we recommend your business take to stand out in the digital abyss:
Choose social media platforms for your small business
There are quite a few social media platforms to engage on as a business. While it is tempting to try and spread your brand across social media platforms, we recommend choosing two or three to focus on as you are growing (especially if you are a one-person show). Our favorite rule is quality over quantity, and this applies to your social media platforms as well. Check out the following social media platforms (not a comprehensive list) and decide which sound like they would display your brand the best:
I know that I said to choose, but Facebook is a must-have these days. 69% of adults in the US use Facebook which is a huge audience for your business to engage with. There is a common misconception that only older users engage on Facebook, but actually many users are between 18 and 44, with the remainder spread fairly equally among the rest of the age groups. It is a simple platform to use that allows posts to include text, images, videos, links, and more. An added bonus: paid advertisements are affordable and effective on this platform, which is perfect for small businesses who are just starting out.
As the “new Facebook” (it is actually owned by Facebook), Instagram has caught a lot of momentum over the past few years to become a powerhouse of a social media. It is not quite as prominent as Facebook, however, with 37% of adults in the US on the platform. While Facebook covers a wide range of ages, Instagram is focused on younger users with 67% of their user-base between 18 and 29 years old. Instagram is a visually focused platform so this is perfect for brands that have visually-strong assets. Even if you don’t think that applies to you, chances are you can make your Instagram pop with stunning visuals (like this company that makes letter boards).
Twitter is used by 22% of adults in the US which puts it into the “small but mighty” category. This is a unique social media because it limits each post to 280 characters, which means Twitter is also in the “short and sweet” category. Beyond the character count, you can also post links, videos, and photos. According to Pew Research, Twitter users are more likely to be young, educated, and Democrats than the general public. If these sound like your target users, Twitter is a great place for your business.
I’ll be honest, YouTube is so integrated into the digital world I sometimes forget it stands alone as its own platform. Never again will I forget, though, because 73% of adults in the US use YouTube, making it the most-used platform in the US. As part of the Google suite of applications, it easily connects to your Google account and serves results on Google search. As mentioned, it easily integrates onto most other platforms, including your website. Because this is a video-only platform, it can be challenging to keep up with content creation for a small business.
If your business sells your products to other businesses, LinkedIn is a must-have. 27% of adults in the US use it, but 4 out of 5 of those users drive business decisions in their company. Most of LinkedIn’s users are wealthy and educated, as it is used for networking for professionals. This is a must-have for business-to-business companies.
As the new kid on the block, TikTok has a lot to prove. Between the question of privacy and potential ban in the US, it is standing on shaky ground right now. However, that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most talked about social media platforms of the year as the #1 downloaded app of 2020. 69% of users are between 13 and 24 years old, so the platform definitely skews towards the younger crowd. This video-only platform contains videos between 15 and 60 seconds that users can quickly scroll through. The use of hashtags on this platform are also very effective in creating trends, such as TikTok dances. This is for the bold businesses who are ready to pioneer on this platform and reach a young target audience.
This (often forgotten about) platform reaches 28% of adults in the US. Pinterest is a visual platform that allows users to “pin” images to boards. Women are three times more likely to use Pinterest than men, so it is great for visually-based brands that have women as their target markets. Additionally, Pinterest serves as a great platform for linking your website and/or merchandise directly to the posts to entice potential customers. An added bonus: Pinterest is also very affordable to advertise on, with a $4.30 return on every $1.00 spent on advertisements.
Last but not least, we have Snapchat. This platform allows users to send pictures, videos, and chats directly to friends, as well as post on stories that can be seen by all of their friends. 24% of adults in the US use Snapchat, but 82% of these users are younger than 34. While businesses are slow to enter onto this platform, Snapchat does have a business account option to meet all of your digital marketing needs to target younger users.
Create amazing content
You have your platforms (2-3 to start, remember?). Now it is time to crank out some awesome content for your users. People use social media for entertainment and delightful content, so you have to be the one to provide it to convince your followers that you are worth their time.
Content doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to be time consuming (though it can be if you make it). The key to good content is planning in advance and keeping it simple. Our social media guru Meredith Pack (Meridiem Marketing’s Content Director) swears by content calendars (we have a free template for you here!). They are a way to organize your content for each social media platform in a way that will keep all your ducks (a.k.a. social media accounts) in a row. We always say consistency is key, meaning it is important to post on a regular basis to your accounts. Having a content calendar will make sure you never scramble last-minute to get a post on your page.
(P.S. We can help you create your own content calendar. Just drop us a line!)
Simplicity is the other half of the content equation. If you over-commit to a content strategy that you and your team can’t keep up with, it will disappoint your followers. Having simple, striking images with clever captions is a great place to start. Deciding your unique brand voice will also go far in differentiating your business. Is your brand sassy? Sauve? A little clumsy? The unique way you speak to your followers will create a sense of relatability that will keep them coming back for more.
Bonus: The next step, after organizing and consistently posting clean and unique content, is to provide something of value, for free, to your followers. It seems counterintuitive to give away the goods before they are paying customers. But having some free resources, like a blog about tricks of the trade or a guide on successful small businesses, will create brand trust between you and your followers. This will make them want to buy from you, since you are trusting them with free content first.
Invest in paid media
If you have checked off the first two steps, the final step is paid media. This may seem like a horrifying process but 1) it is more accessible than you think and 2) it can really boost your brand out of the park.
Paid media is when you put money behind your posts on your social media platforms or Google Ads so your brand reaches people outside of your network. This is a great way to find more users who may be interested in your brand but just don’t know about it yet. Paid media investment should happen after you establish your brand on social media and create a user-friendly website so when new users go to your page, there is already a stable following and engagement with your accounts.
All of the above social media platforms have options for paid promotion, so I would recommend starting with those platforms, as well as Google Ads. Google Ads offers both search and display campaigns that utilize Google’s powerful algorithm to target consumers. Each platform has great guides to walk you through how to get started. If you are interested in further support, we can help you create a kick-butt strategy to amplify your brand.
Report on your analytics
The often forgotten part of digital marketing are the numbers. Just like anything else, the only way to know if your strategies are working is to compare your growth from the beginning to the end. Google Analytics is the industry-standard for tracking and reporting website traffic. For your social media platforms, each platform has an analytics aspect that allows you to see engagement, impressions, and more on your posts. The only way to know if things are working is to get a little nerdy and dive into those numbers!
Ready to amplify your brand?
This may seem like a lot, but spending a little time on your digital presence will go a long way, especially since our connection is almost exclusively digital in quarantine. If you are excited to amplify your brand but aren’t sure where to start, we are here to help! Let us know your questions and we are happy to schedule a free consultation for you and your business.