September 23, 2022

Steps for Small Businesses to Utilize Social Media and Grow their Brand

Within the past five years, the amount of social media members has almost doubled. Out of those 4.2 billion active social media users, they spend an average of approximately two and a half hours a day on various platforms. These statistics should speak for themselves in terms of how powerful social media can be if your business uses it correctly. Here are a few pointers on how your small business can grow their social media following. 

Start with a plan of attack

Social media is such a common thing in one’s personal life, so there’s certainly a level of comfort that comes along with it. Anyone can start an account for their business, but if no plan is in place, nothing will come of it. You can use the free tools that come along with the platform, but even those take time and a level of investment into your business. No end goal means no way of gaining that return on your investment. Don’t let all that time go to waste. Set goals from the start to work towards. A great guide to follow is the S.M.A.R.T framework. It will ensure your social media efforts are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Goals of this nature will produce real results  for your business. 

Look into what competition is doing.

It’s easy to research how other companies in your vertical are utilizing certain social media platforms. Although you don’t want to copy their exact strategy, it is a great way to get your footing in the space.  Find what similar brands strengths and weaknesses are and how they compare to yours. Don’t repeat the same mistakes they already have and odds are what’s working for them will work for you. From there, you can conduct a social media audit on what content you’ve already put out. Take a step back, re-evaluate, make the necessary adjustments based on the competitive analysis, then move forward. 

Know your audience. 

I’m sure you already have a good idea of the demographic your brand attracts, but identifying this is essential to determining what social media platforms you use. This choice does not need to be decided with an all or nothing approach. You can use a variety of social channels at first to see what works. But, don’t make assumptions on where your audience spends their time most. 

For example, a big social media stereotype is that Facebook is most widely used by Baby Boomers, but nearly a quarter of their users are  18 to 24 years old. Therefore, if your brand’s current demographic is Gen Z, that doesn’t mean you should be too quick to eliminate Facebook as a social platform option. Use analytics on current social media traffic to gauge where your target audience has the greatest online presence. Additionally, audience insights can assist you in developing a posting style. Meaning, it will open up further details for popular hashtags, trends, referral sites, and social influencers in your vertical that would be smart to take advantage of. 

Expand your following and build relationships

Once you’ve done the hard work with research, analysis, and implementation, it’s time to grow. After becoming familiar with your brand’s social media realm and getting into a routine it is important to not become complacent. Engaging with your audience is equally important as the content itself. There’s a number of ways to do this such as commenting on posts, participating in conversations, answering questions, posting polls with follow up results, sharing user generated content, addressing complaints, and demonstrating appreciation for customers. Engagement in any form will help your accounts rise in the social algorithms leading to fresh, free exposure. On the other hand, the main piece of content creation to focus on is making relevant, visually appealing posts because no one is going to take a second glance at your spin on a meme that was trending three months ago. Overall, the key is to be consistent with your interactions and posting in order to gain the trust of your followers.

Track your analytics and revisit your content calendar

Even if things are going better than expected, it’s highly recommended to circle back to your plan and goals in case something comes up in the future. Use necessary tools to stay up to date with your social efforts and be conscious of what metrics are most useful for your business. Take the time to fine tune your strategy. Even the smallest of changes will be beneficial in the long term. 

Social media can be overlooked in the business world, especially by older generations. In reality, it can act as a massive tool for your small business when used properly. These simple tips will set your business up for success.