Big Impact

April 15, 2014 Stephanie Jones

I’m going to pull the rug out from under you right quick: There is no magic hat trick for making your small business successful on social media. Does that make you nervous? It shouldn’t. Recent studies show that an increasing number of small businesses are profiting from social media marketing.

Mediabistro found that 82 percent of small businesses are registered on Facebook and 71 percent of social media users purchase products from the brands they follow online. Need more? According to Swiftpage, 50 percent of small businesses increased time spent on social media compared to last year and reported gaining new customers and better business.

Whether it’s a lack of time, budget or know-how, keeping your small business off of social media might just be the missing puzzle piece to a profitable year. It’s time to fix it! Here are 5 actionable ways small businesses can make a big impact on social media.

Be Consistent
If I could give just one piece of advice to anyone new to social media marketing would be consistency. The aforementioned stats were seen by businesses that, more than likely, increased the amount of time they spent on social media and posted regularly.

What does posting regularly look like? Depending on whom you talk to, that number ranges from 0.5 posts per day on Facebook to every 30 minutes on Twitter. I don’t know what a half of a post looks like, but a good rule of thumb is 1 to 2 posts per day on Facebook and at least 4 Twitter posts. It’s also important to post when your followers are most active. This raises your chances of your posts being seen; the more engagement, the greater the likelihood of getting more followers.

Plan Ahead
When constantly trying to create engaging posts on the fly, your interest in building a following can fizzle pretty quickly. The best solution is to take the time to plan posts in advance. You can plan them out by the week or the month, and then house them in an Excel document or even on a piece of notebook paper. Having post ideas at the ready will save you time and energy.

Provide Helpful Content
People are no longer interested in one-sided conversations with businesses and care more about connecting with the brands they like in a meaningful way. An easy way to accomplish this is by providing quality content that is helpful to your customer. Writing blog posts is an actionable way to create information for your followers and will help you be seen as an expert in your field. Blog posts are also really easy to share on social media. According to Mediabistro, users share 2.5 billion pieces of content each day. Those odds are worth it!

Log-in Often and Listen
It isn’t always possible to be on social media when your followers are, so scheduling posts in advance is a great solution. What that doesn’t mean is that you can set it and forget it. The inherent nature of social media is to be, well, social. It is extremely important to log into your accounts daily, respond to questions or comments or shares, and to see what your followers are talking about. Keep your finger to the pulse, so to speak.

Choose the Right Channels
When getting your small business started on social media, it can be so easy to start signing up on all the big social networks. The downside to this is that you could be wasting your time and efforts if your customers aren’t seeing your posts. And I’m pretty sure ineffective and inefficient are four letter words to small business owners. Make sure you know where your target audience spends the bulk of their time and hone your efforts there.

Just because you don’t have the budget of a giant corporation doesn’t mean you can’t make your business heard on social media. Many small businesses give up on social media marketing because of lack of results and if you’re looking for a magic pill, there isn’t one. But if you’re consistent and take the time to create well-crafted content to share with your followers, you will be well on your way to seeing the success for which you are looking.

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