When social media platforms started coming on the scene over a decade ago, there was a novelty factor that caused marketers to get a bit overzealous. It didn’t hurt that most of the popular social networks were technically free (at least to join), and the idea of reaching the masses without having to sacrifice sacred budget made countless businesses jump on the bandwagon. But fast-forward a few years and there are new schools of thought about how to use social media to your brand’s best advantage. While it may have been the norm to spray the same content out through every social network you could, times have changed. Here are a few tips to bring you up to speed in the strategic social media era.
How to Use Social Media for Small Business
Flaunt your Best SideMore is not always better, and this goes for social media too. Just because a litany of social networks are available does not mean you need to be a part of each one. In fact, unless you have a need for more (and an entire social media department that can manage such a workload), it’s advisable to choose only two or three sites you can regularly maintain.
One of the best ways to decide which platforms should take precedence is by considering whether or not it has the potential to cast your brand in a favorable light. For example, identity theft protection company LifeLock uses Facebook as one of its primary social networks. Many Facebook users consider the network to be part of their daily lives, and LifeLock’s lifestyle and security messages are pertinent and meet them where they already are. By consistently offering relevant articles, practical tips and occasional related images, fans stay engaged and are given value in return.
Alter What You OfferOnce you decide which social media platforms are the best matches for your business, put yourself in your target audience’s shoes. What sorts of content do they want to engage with? For example, businesses in more serious subjects like accounting or law likely have clients who would seek practical and thoughtful content. This type of material performs especially well when published through LinkedIn, so they may want to focus their efforts there.
Alternately, businesses that are naturally prone to eye-catching images like photography or culinary arts can reach more visually-inclined customers on a platform like Instagram. Unreal Candy is a great example of a company that uses Instagram to share seasonal offerings and tantalize the tastebuds with creative photos of their candy. The key is to tailor your content based on the social media site and your target audience.
Be TimelyThere are some businesses in which connectivity to the world around is highly important. For instance, news networks only survive if they are tapped into information and events. CNN is a great example of a company that understands that its main appeal is delivering up-to-date, fresh news. As a result, the company tweets quickly anytime there is news to share. Its audience can receive bite-sized pieces of content that keeps them informed. Even if you don’t rely on timeliness in the same way, your business can benefit from taking a well-timed approach to social media. Increase the relevance of your posts by integrating popular hashtags where applicable and incorporate themes like the seasons into your content. These tips will help you get noticed in a better way than haphazardly shooting out posts.
When considering your approach to social media, remember that quality really does trump quantity. Be deliberate about being active on only a couple networks, and raising the bar in what you deliver to your target audience through those channels. You’ll see a steady improvement in the quality of your interactions and can be confident knowing you’re handling social media the right way.