Social media tips for SMEs

  1. Jas Sensi

    Jas Sensi UKBF Newcomer

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    You’ve set up a social media account for your business, filled out the basic information and uploaded your company's logo… Now what?

    As a business owner, it is vital to engage with social media in today's society. After all, there are more than three billion active users across various social media platforms.

    That means we’ve gone past the days where posting a few Facebook statuses a week, inviting your friends and family to like your company page and posting product imagery on Instagram with the sepia filter was enough.

    With time, social media has fundamentally changed the way we think about business and an active social media presence can make or break a firm. 

    Here are some tips for business owners on how to successfully build a successful presence on social media.

    Start with a strategy

    Although it might be tempting to dive in blind and just start posting content on your businesses social channels, just as with your business plan, having a strategy is key. 

    Without a social media strategy, you have no clear goal on what you are trying to achieve, no time frame, and no way to measure your success.

    Before doing anything, take time to create a plan and make sure to include the following.

    • Goals and objectives

    When creating your social media strategy, set goals and objectives to monitor your progress or lack of progress. When setting these objectives, make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

    For example, you might want to aim for 0.5% increase in engagement in the next month. To do that, rather than simply racking up likes, you might share other relevant content, reply to comments and talk to your audience via direct message.

    • Research your competitors

    How are your competitors using their social media platform?

    While you don’t want to copy them, you can learn more about how they are using the platform, how many times they are posting, what content gets the most engagement and what theme they have presented.

    You will be able to figure out what is working for them and what might or might not work for your business.

    • Create a social media calendar

    A social media calendar will help you plan what content you would like to post at a certain time, while also giving your audience a timeframe for when they can expect  their favourite content to go live.

    When you create your social media calendar, choose what days you are going to post on to promote your business, educate your audience and repost your audience's content.

    What platform is right for me?

    What platform you use depends on your audience and their demographics. For example, there is no point setting up a TikTok account when your audience is aged 45+, as only 5% of 45-54-year-olds used the app in 2019 in the UK, compared to 26% of 25-34-year-olds.

    Keep up with trends

    With social media still being seen as the “new media” by many, algorithms, features and trends change constantly so what works for you now might not work for you in a few months' time. 

    With that mind, keep your plan flexible and keep an eye on what’s hot and what’s not.

    Having a backlog of content to be scheduled is good practice, but you should aim for a mix of evergreen content, which revolves around a topic that is always relevant to your audience, and time-sensitive content, which is only valuable for an audience for a short period of time.

    Automating your posting

    You might have a million other things to juggle and posting a tweet may not be high on your list of priorities, but there are several products and services available to help manage several social media platforms at once.

    Consider tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, for example.

    These platforms allow you to schedule content for all your platforms and create a personalised posting schedule. You even have the opportunity to schedule multiple posts at once so you can make managing social media a weekly one-off task.

    Interact and engage

    Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become the first places individuals go for quick product information, customer support, and to leave reviews.

    Interaction means building a two-way communication between your brand and your audience, talking to your followers on social media to create a relationship with the consumer.

    Engaging with your audience doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can include liking their tweet, reposting their content on your businesses social media platform or even sending them a direct message to thank them for their support.

    When you repost content from your audience's social media accounts, you’re doing them a big favour, potentially triggering a new wave of social shares, follows and potential backlinks.

    The more of other people’s content you share, the more likely it is they’ll share yours, boosting your profile and potentially improving your search engine rankings.

    The use of shared hashtags such as #tbt (throwback Thursday) and adding locations to your posts will also help your content to reach a wider audience.

    Invest your time

    As the famous saying goes, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and the same applies to social media.

    Gaining attraction will take time for an SME compared to a multinational, multi-million-pound company which already has a following offline.

    Be patient, stick at it, and keep an eye on those engagement statistics. It might not feel like much in the moment but after a year, if you keep posting, you can expect to see more likes, more shares and more followers.

    That's all for now! Don't forget to check us out on Twitter @UKbizforums to keep updated.