Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a brand without a social media presence.
…but it’s also just as easy to find brands without an impactful one.
As a small business owner, social media can be an impactful way to further establish your brand’s online presence, connect with your audience and stay relevant in a competitive business climate.
But if you don’t have a plan, you won’t get very far.
At Collective Alternative, we know how busy small business owners are. Handling social media can feel like an additional full-time job on top of the other responsibilities that come with running a business. We often see small business owners inconsistently and sporadically posting on different social media platforms because they don’t know how to reach their target audience, don’t know what kind of content to post, don’t have time to create content and monitor activity, and sometimes, just don’t understand social media at all.
Social media continues to evolve and has proven itself to be a vital part of any marketing strategy. With over 4.2 billion active social media users spending an average of 2 and a half hours on different social media channels every day, we’ve experienced the pressure that’s put on small business owners who feel like they’re missing out on opportunities when they don’t use platforms correctly.
Don’t worry — you don’t need a hefty budget to achieve the social validity of bigger companies like Wendy’s and Spotify. By nailing down the basics and following our tips, you can effectively grow your social media presence and enjoy more business success.
Create a plan
Before you jump into the social media world and start pushing content, take a step back and ask yourself what the goals of your social media efforts are. How much of your content will be devoted to brand awareness and entertainment, and how much will be devoted to selling products? What are your competitors doing on social? What works for them and what doesn’t? How often do you plan on posting?
When these kinds of questions go unanswered, your social media efforts become ineffective very quickly. Just like any other marketing strategy, carefully assessing your current social media activity and then creating a strategy that best tells your story while reaching the right people and enhancing your overall presence is the best way to experience success.
Choose your platforms
Chances are, you don’t need to be on every platform. As a small business owner, you know your audience better than anyone. At Collective Alternative, we like to meet ideal clients where they are — including on their most used social media platforms. If you work mainly with an older audience, TikTok and Twitter probably won’t get you as far as Facebook would. Similarly, if your main audience is Gen Z, you may find yourself devoting more effort to platforms like Instagram. Make sure you research which platforms are most used by your audience so you don’t spend extra time creating content for a platform that isn’t giving you any return.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment, though. Your business may not have an audience that heavily uses TikTok, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try it out. More and more businesses are branching into different social media platforms to evaluate how people react to their content. Platforms like TikTok present users with easy opportunities to go “viral”, so it’s never a bad idea to try something new! One viral video could equal thousands of dollars in sales.
Tailor content towards your target audience
Part of the reason why social media is so effective is because you can use it to easily target your audience. With a clear audience, you can reach them in refreshing, creative ways that will draw in their attention. If you work with an older audience, interactive social content might turn them off, so keep things simple. If you have a younger target audience, keep your content relevant and fresh by taking advantage of trends and more advanced platform options.
Before you jump into tailoring your target, make sure your target audience Is well defined. If you think you may need to re-evaluate who you’re targeting, we can help! Check out our previous blog on defining target audience for more information on how to reach the right people.
A social media post with a picture is going to perform much better than a post that contains just words. Whenever you can, be sure to incorporate videos, infographics and photos. Regardless of platform, incorporating visual assets into your posts will dramatically increase your engagement. Live videos on platforms like Facebook and Instagram get six times more engagement than other content pieces, and videos and infographics on Twitter are shared more than text-only posts.
Even better? Being visual doesn’t have to be hard. When you work with a marketing agency to manage your social media, their creative team will handle the creation of any visual assets you may need for a post. If you prefer to handle social on your own, team photos, events, quote graphics and testimonials are easy ways to get visual without taking away from your valued time.
Stay active and be consistent
Inactive business social media accounts look extremely unprofessional. Social media is very much a game of visibility. With algorithms changing all the time, inconsistent activity will only push your content towards the bottom of your audience’s feeds and make it harder for them to see what you’re posting. Most small business owners start their social media presences off strong and then slowly dwindle down as the months go by, but sticking to a consistent posting schedule can keep you from falling into the same pattern.
At Collective Alternative, our social media efforts for small business owners don’t stop with consistent posting. We recommend actively monitoring your various social media channels and engaging with any comments, reviews or customer messages in a timely and professional manner so you stay relevant and appear in the loop.
Keep up with trends
At its core, social media is trend-based.
That doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to join in on every viral trend hitting TikTok, but it’s always important to pay attention to trends to see what people are focused on in the moment. Then, you can create content that better resonates with the current attitudes of your audience. There will be certain trends that your small business can definitely own, so don’t be afraid to try them out! Trendy posts can boost your brand awareness and even make you go viral, which will send more traffic your way.
If you aren’t quite sure if a certain trend is right for your business, go back to your social media strategy and overall marketing strategy. Does the trend align with your business goals? If it does, try it out. If it doesn’t, sit it out and wait for the next one. After all, a new trend will most likely start up within the next few hours.
Utilize new features
Part of staying relevant on social media is mastering all facets of each platform. Instagram users are no longer browsing the app to look at pictures — they’re spending large chunks of time on IGTV and Reels consuming content. If your small business isn’t posting on IGTV or Reels, you’re missing out on opportunities for increased visibility.
Social media platforms come out with new features quite often. Instead of being apprehensive, dive in and try them out! All other businesses are in the same boat as you when trying to master new features, so lead the pack and be an early adopter of different changes.
We understand that most small business owners do not have the time to sit down and learn new social media features. When you entrust a marketing agency like CA to handle your social media, we’ll lean heavily on our social media experts to monitor new social features and brainstorm ways to incorporate them into your strategy.
Monitor and track your activity
It may go without saying, but you’ll never know if your efforts are working if you do not monitor and track the data. All social media platforms come with built in analytics that can show you your top performing content and monthly breakdowns. There are also other third-party tools that can dive even deeper into the numbers and generate reports you can review.
At Collective Alternative, we gather monthly analytic reports to share social media results with our clients and continuously improve upon what we’re sharing for them. The numbers we present help us evaluate and, if needed, incorporate new tactics into social media strategies to better target our clients’ audiences.
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to a successful social media presence. However, the tips we outlined are common practices the most successful brands on social follow every day. By implementing these tips into your social media strategy, you will be ahead of the game and stand out against your competition.
If you feel like your social media needs more structure or planning, we can help! Since 2008, Collective Alternative has been Making Business Personal® by crafting custom marketing strategies for small business owners in a variety of industries that are as unique as their thumbprints. Part of each marketing strategy includes an effective social media plan. We’ve been front and center of every major social media change — as well as the creation of new platforms — and have experienced years of success growing the online presences of our clients. If you’re ready to reach your audience on their own online turf, contact us today to discuss how we can help you revamp your social media.