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How to Make Social Media Work for your Small Business

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Social media has become the centerpiece for small business marketing. Understanding how it can positively affect your brand and connect with your customers is important for your business to succeed. With social outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest always evolving, it can be a challenge to keep up. To help, we have put together some tips to make social media work best for you.

  1. Pick a platform that works for your business.

There are a lot of options when it comes to different social media outlets or platforms and not all outlets are a good fit for all businesses. Before launching a new outlet or deciding which to launch first, do some research about the capabilities of the outlet, optimal posting schedule and even if your customers are on it.

  1. Plan your content.

Your content should be a mix of engaging and entertaining content and posts that serve a purpose for your business. For example, if you only post about products or promotions, your followers could get bored of them and won’t interact or respond accordingly to your post. A good rule of thumb is the 80-20 rule. 80 percent of your posts should focus on engagement and 20 percent can be about your business. By planning out your week in advance, you will be able to see what kind of topics you have and can adjust accordingly.

  1. If your audience is engaged, talk back!

Customer service and social media go hand in hand. It can be daunting to think people can leave negative comments, but it’s also a great opportunity to engage with your customers. There are also those great moments when a customer leaves a positive comment and you can thank them for sharing their experience. When dealing with a customer service situation on social media, it is important to be prompt in your response. It will show your followers you are plugged into your customers and could prevent other displeased customers from also posting.

  1. Measure, measure, measure.

Whether you are new to social media or you’ve been posting for a while, creating a system for measuring your post engagement is important. Measuring your posts will show what kind of topics your customers interact with and the posts that don’t get as much. The more information you gather, the more you can tweak your strategy. Some things to measure include, number of post likes (or favorites, repins etc.) increase of followers (measure monthly), number of customer posts and overall post reach. If you intend to use social media has a major part of your marketing strategy, you should consider investing in an analytics platform. If you’re just starting out, then use what’s available through the outlet. Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have analytics available for free.

  1. Have fun!

Social media gives businesses a unique opportunity to put a face and a personality with the company. Give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company by sharing pictures of team events or volunteering opportunities. Engage in relevant conversations and push your brand out to potential new customers.

Social media can seem like a big undertaking because of so many options. However, by doing your research and excelling at one outlet, it’ll be no time before you’ll be cross promoting between outlets and brainstorming ideas of how you can grow your followers.

For more information about how social media can work for your business, here are some resources from the Small Business Administration:

Don’t Be a Social Media Marketing Skeptic – Learn Where and How to Start

How to Make a Social Media Plan for Your Business

Finding Time for Social Media

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