You’ve bitten the bullet and embraced social media as part of your small business marketing strategy.
But, what on earth do people share on a daily basis? How can you create enough content every day, content your audience will value and share, without it consuming your working day?
You've loads you could share on social, trust me. Perhaps you don’t see the content that’s staring you in the face right now, but it’s there in abundance. And once you start sharing, it definitely gets easier.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
When sharing on social media:
Having a simple marketing strategy in place makes choosing what to share a whole lot easier and ensures you keep your overall business goals front and centre.
Use your time wisely and don’t attempt to be everywhere. Choose one or two networks and do them justice.
Plan ahead, so you don’t feel like you're spending every day trying to think of things to share.
Review regularly to see what works and, of course, what doesn’t. Keep tweaking, improving and streamlining your strategy.
If more than one person contributes to social content, put guidelines in place to ensure brand consistency.
You don't need to share your private life. You can add personality without being personal, using company stories, photos, audio and video.
Quality stands out in the daily tidal wave that's online content. Going the extra mile with your content will make all the difference.
If people do take the trouble to click on your links, make sure there's a call to action waiting for them. It takes a lot of work to get someone as far as your website. Don’t miss an opportunity to engage with them when they find you.
And, above all else, remember to be social. Say thanks for sharing your content, join in conversations or, better still, start conversations, answer questions and share other people’s content. The more helpful and approachable you are, the more people will engage.
WHAT CAN YOU SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Promote all content you produce, such as blog posts, podcasts, webinars, videos, presentations, white papers or guest posts. If you create content, shout about it.
The lifespan of posts varies between platforms, but it isn’t long. Make sure you continue to share the same content a week later, a month later and then again in the future.
Don’t forget to recycle older, evergreen posts (posts that stay relevant over time). Look into your statistics to find your popular posts. These can be reviewed, updated if needed, and shared again. (This is a great reason to produce evergreen content. It takes longer, but pays you back for years.)
If you have seasonal or holiday posts, make sure you refresh these each year and share them again.
Repurpose content you create for other platforms. Repurposing takes a fraction of the time it takes to start afresh and quickly multiplies the amount of content you have to share. It also creates diversity in your content, reaching difference audiences and giving you useful stats on what works and what doesn’t.
Here’s your chance to show people your small business without the hard sell.
Social media is heavily weighted towards informing and entertaining. Promotional material should be used in moderation. For most people, buying from you will be the end of a journey rather than a single step.
Social Media offers you a chance to build a relationship with a customer long before they think about buying.
How is your product made? Who makes it? What’s special about how you do it or the materials you use? Why did you start the business? Is there a story behind it?
Introduce your staff and put a human face to your small business. Show your product creation process. Link to case studies and success stories on your website.
There are so many ways you can tell people about what you do, without them feeling they are being sold to.
And, when they’re in need of your product or service, who do you think is going to spring to mind? They know all about you, after all.
What goes around comes around, as they say, and this is never truer than online.
Keep an eye on mentions for your business name or product. Word of mouth is the best marketing. Nothing says how wonderful your business is better than someone other than you! So, make sure you reshare any positive comments, user-generated images or videos. It’s as good as social media content gets.
If your marketing is local, help promote other local businesses that either compliment your own, or ones you know your customers would fine interesting. Make sure you tag them in the process and you never know, they may return the favour, introducing you to their audience.
Sharing posts from local radio, tv or events is also an effective way to raise awareness of your small business. It’s a good way to nurture press relationships too.
Most people don’t have the time to find and read good-quality information online. This is where you come in. Find and share the best of what’s out there and become the go-to source for useful information.
While you wouldn’t want to share your competitor’s posts, you can certainly share content that compliments your own product or service. Again, this can include local business news and events.
Look at what your competitors are sharing and see how their followers respond and which types of post they prefer. Setting up a private list in Twitter is an easy way to do this. If you see something interesting, don’t retweet or share directly from their social media. Rather, find the source of the information and tweet/share it directly from there.
Just remember to focus on sharing what’s useful to your customer, rather than useful for you.
Your customers are telling you what they need all the time. You just need to listen.
Answering questions, participating in Facebook Groups and joining (or running) Twitter Chats is a public way to showcase your expertise. If you see the same questions appear time and time again, create a series of quick-tip images that are evergreen and can be shared indefinitely.
If you already have a following, invite questions from your followers. This is not only perfect content for social media and a conversation starter, it gives you a bank of ideas that you can turn into blog posts or video tutorials.
The public nature of social media means you can listen in on your competitors conversations as well. Another source of questions you can provide the answers to in the form of social media posts.
Won an award? Celebrating an anniversary? Launch party? Photos of in-house events are a great way to show personality without getting too personal. It shows you in a good light, celebrates success, and suggests you know what you’re doing.
As an antidote to life’s ups and downs, people love to play. Polls, quizzes, photo captions and giveaways are perfect for getting people engaged with your brand while having fun.
You can piggyback on existing trends too. Most national holidays, commemorative days and special events have a hashtag attached. Even days of the weeks have evolved their own hashtags.
Have more to share than you thought? It’s easier than you think, isn’t it? You know your small business inside and out, and you probably take your knowledge for granted. Don’t forget, other people don’t know anything about you.
Tell people all about who you are, what you do, and why and how you do it. Help them with their pain points and become a reliable source of useful information. Share other people's stuff and they will share yours. Be sociable and have fun.
Be helpful, informative and fun - sounds like a rather nice way to get to know your future customers.