Social Media 101 For Small Businesses

Are you adequately reaching your target audience? Ever been tempted to start up a LinkedIn profile, Facebook page, Twitter account or Pinterest account but not sure where to get started? You’re in the right place! Starting a social media account for your business doesn’t have to be scary or difficult and can help you quickly and efficiently connect with your community. Let’s get started!

Will Social Media Help Grow My Business?

This is the million-dollar question, but the answer is usually “It depends.” Companies that sell directly to consumers may have a better idea of how to reach specific audience segments via social media, but what about those companies that work primarily with other businesses? Social media can still be a powerful tool for community outreach and help grow your sales. What’s vital is that you select the right social media accounts, the timing of your posts and engagement and the tone that you’re setting for your audience.

Choosing a Social Media Platform

B2B (businesses selling to other businesses) have unique challenges when it comes to social media. Unless you’re selling through a distribution network and trying to drive end-consumer engagement with your product, more traditional social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest may not be the right option for growing your business. Instead, look to LinkedIn, GlassDoor and other business-oriented social platforms to help drive traffic to your website and present your company as a knowledge leader in your space.

Creating the Right Mix of Content for Your Audience

Companies that only promote their own products or services through their social media channels are unlikely to get a great deal of engagement from their audience. Instead of the company providing education or training about their products and the industry in general, this type of self-promotion by a business feels very self-serving to the reader. Companies that are successfully interacting with their audience by providing new information or training in a way that is beneficial to the reader are likely to see the long-term benefits — as well as shorter-term sales growth.

Customer retention rises as your readers become more engaged, and that starts with ensuring you’re sprinkling nuggets of helpful or educational information along with your product sales or service details. Gurus in social marketing recommend an 80/20 split for your social media presence: 80% of your content should in some way benefit your readers, with only 20% of your content offering a promotional slant or introducing new products.

How Often Should You Post on Social Media?

You know where you want to spend your time posting content and what type of content you should use to engage your audience. Now, how often do you need to post? Fortunately, social media platforms can also be viewed as modern search engines, so focus on creating content that is relevant and evergreen — or valuable both now and in the future. Since your social media presence grows over time, there’s no need to go overboard and create an unsustainable strategy for your social posting.

In general, companies can post to B2B social media 1-2 times per week and still see positive growth in their presence and brand over time. Social media posting is not a “right-now” strategy but rather one that will drive continued growth for your business.

Getting started with social media doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Consider starting small and growing your presence as you become more comfortable with the platforms and see how your audience engages with your brand. It’s important that you have an individual dedicated to proactively answering any questions that are posted on your social platforms or sent via any messenger applications. When potential clients reach out to you via these channels, they are often testing your customer service levels and response times! Most importantly, have fun with your social interactions, provide value to your readers and focus on education as opposed to self-promotion and you’re sure to grow your business with your investment in social media.

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