Social media. Sure, the digital phenomenon has its admirers and naysayers, but what is undeniable is that it is a powerful force.
Businesses of all kinds and sizes are capitalising on the opportunities that it presents, but so many are still missing out. Whatever stage you’re at with your business, it’s important to evaluate your social media strategy. Put simply, you’ve got to make social work for you.
Danielle Chapman, Everest Media’s Junior Digital Marketer, is an expert in this field. She has created, led and worked on a variety of marketing campaigns for the likes of Plymouth University and Peninsula Arts.
Our social media guru joined Team Everest in 2018, after completing a master’s degree in Digital and Social Media Marketing. Always striving for excellence, Danielle has created (internal!) record-breaking social media posts and has picked up several awards along the way.
Now she has shared her thoughts on the Five Ws – why, who, where, what and when – to explain how small businesses can use social media more effectively.
Top social media tips for small businesses, according to Everest Media’s Danielle Chapman
“Let’s start with the basics,” says Danielle. “Why are you using social? What do you want to get out of it?
“The problem for many small businesses is either having a vague answer, or none at all. To be successful on social, you need to know what you want, identify clear aims, and find a way to measure them. If you don’t, you’ll be wasting your precious time.”
Danielle believes it is also important to not focus on “vanity metrics”. Having thousands of followers will not mean anything, she says, if they are not interested in interacting with your content.
“Social media isn’t just transactional, which can make it harder to measure,” she continues. “So, you may find it useful to track metrics such as sentiment and passion, to understand how your audience feels about your brand online.
“No matter what aims you set, remember social media isn’t a quick fix, it’s a long-term process. It takes time to build an audience, and even longer to build relationships with them and see results.
“Be in it for the long haul – you’ll be rewarded.”
There are numerous considerations as to who will manage your social activities. Will you juggle this yourself, hire a social media marketer, or outsource to a digital marketing agency?
“Either way, make the most of the skills available to you,” says Everest’s resident digital marketer. “If you’re good at creating content but don’t know how to plan or measure, consider hiring an agency to help with the strategy, then implementing yourself.”
“On the flip side, the audience you target and grow will depend on the nature of the business and the product/service you offer. There are endless ways to define your target audience, but what matters most is that you use social to identify an audience that will help to achieve your objectives.”
“Once you’ve identified your audience, you need to find them,” adds Danielle. “Don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s better to choose one or two platforms and use them well, rather than having an account on every social network available and no time or content to maintain them.”
“Historically, Facebook has always been the first choice for small or new businesses, but is that still the best plan?”
It’s now harder than ever for brands to connect with their audiences on Facebook, believes Danielle. Due to certain scandals, many users are fleeing Facebook to protect their privacy. So, with that in mind, you should consider all your options – but where do you start?
“Use the social networks that your audience is already using,” suggests Danielle. “Don’t expect them to come to you on a platform they don’t use, but make sure you choose a good fit for your business too.
“Instagram may be great for a retail store to show off their wares, but does it really work for an accounting firm?”
You must now decide what you should post. It should be easy; whatever your audience wants, right? Well, apparently, it’s not as straightforward as that. Danielle says many small businesses struggle to keep their audience engaged as they don’t know what to post.
“Generally, you’ll want to create a mixture of engaging, shareable, and interesting posts,” she said. “Don’t just promote your own content either – people will see this as spam and it will reduce your credibility as a brand.
“Share and respond to content from others, making sure to monitor keywords and trends relevant to your audience. Whatever you share, keep it professional. Poor quality images, repetitive posting and constant link sharing will make you look like a spam account and people will click on by without a second glance.”
That doesn’t mean you can’t be fun and informal, but Danielle warns that you must remember you’re representing a brand. You want your business to be noticed for the right reasons, of course!
It's Claire-ception at Everest Media HQ today!— Everest Media (@everestmedialtd) November 8, 2018
Our #Digital Practice Lead, Claire Edwards is in this month's @biz_cornwall magazine showing off our top 5 #SEO tips, which you can find here: https://t.co/TV8cYYBjSh #TeamEverest pic.twitter.com/R78845rjpu
If you're at a loss for where to start, Danielle suggests you can't go far wrong with team photos and behind-the-scenes insight into your business.
"Not only does this give your audience extra value in something they won't find anywhere other than your social platforms, but it helps to form more meaningful customer relationships as they get to know you as a team, rather than a brand".
Like all good things in life, moderation is key – according to Danielle. Put simply, stay active and post regularly, but don’t spam.
“You don’t need heaps of time to make an impact on social, but if you only have an hour or two per month, make it count,” she said.
“Free tools like TweetDeck and Later make it extra easy to schedule posts, respond to comments, and monitor keywords, to make the most of your time on social.”
Danielle’s final golden tip..
“Above all, be social,” she says. “It is in the name, after all. Social media isn’t designed to be one-way, so jump in, get involved, and create lasting relationships with your audience.”
So, what now?
Are you just starting up your business? Finally taking the social media plunge? Maybe you just need some tips on improving your existing - or non-existent - social media marketing strategy for 2019?
Well, whatever it is, we’re sure we can help you. Hopefully this article has cleared up a few things, but we’re only a call, email or visit away if you need to know more.
Anything else you want to know?
This blog post is part of our new Explainer Series, tips straight from the mouths of the Everest team.
Looking to up your #tech and #digital game? Want to find best practice tips and tricks?— Everest Media (@everestmedialtd) November 20, 2018
In our new explainer series, #TeamEverest share their expertise in #software testing, #SEO, #frameworks and more. https://t.co/yiiFVef9iJ pic.twitter.com/tvKVrP9Wcm
We have lots of other informative content planned for 2019 already. But if there’s anything in particular you would like covered – just shout! You can email our Digital Copywriter, Tom Gainey, at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions at any time.
Words: Tom Gainey