Every month we feature a business who is offering an opportunity on http://savvyguest.co.uk This month we are delighted to feature a guest blog from Sarah Bennett, Director of TechandToast
You’re running a small business and you understand that you need a social media presence. It’s difficult though, right? Not enough time, not enough resource or maybe you’re not sure if you need social media to grow your business?
83% of the UK adult population use social media and this figure is rising. What do they use it for? Well, of course, selfies, chatting and sharing cat memes but did you know that a recent UK study showed that 50% of people do not trust a business until they see “proof” that it’s reputable? How do they do that? Well, they go online.
With 40% of people heading online to research before every purchase, if your business doesn’t have a strong online presence, you’re missing out.
Social media for business often gets people in a tangle. Yes, you can potentially damage your reputation if you mishandle a complaint or a situation online. But, with a strategy and using common sense, this can be easily avoided. If you recognise social media for its benefits as a tool in your marketing armoury, then you’re half-way there. Here are five social media tips for small businesses.
Be Human (With Filters!)
The best advice I can give you is to pretend you’re a party host. You want your party to be memorable (for the right reasons!), talked about by others (sharing of your posts) and you want people to book you to host their parties too. You should relax, have fun, ask questions and put your party guests first. Focus on the benefits of supporting your business, rather than what’s in it for you.
If you were hosting a party, you wouldn’t just shove a sausage roll in someone’s hand and say “ have this! ” – which is a mistake that much small businesses makes on social media. They think they’re there purely to sell “ Buy this, try this, use this…” etc. In reality, you’re there to offer the full buffet to your party guests, explaining what each dish is, considering whether they’ll enjoy it (or not) and topping up their drinks at the same time! Concentrate on what the benefits are to your social media followers. Not, just on making sales.
Personality sells. Authenticity sells. People want to hear and see the human side of any business. Had a successful week? Talk about it! Got a new member of staff? Tell people. Struggling with a problem? Ask for solutions. Just stay away from politics, religion and controversy. Leave that for ranting on your personal Facebook page!
There’s a lot to be said about strategy. Social media without planning will fail. You don’t have to produce an all-singing, all-dancing strategy document to succeed. Keep it simple. Concentrate on:
- Your aims and objectives.
- Measurable and realistic goals.
- Content to be shared.
Don’t forget obvious sources of inspiration, such as calendar days. Halloween, Christmas, and even the just wintry weather could all be topics for discussion online.
Most social media can be scheduled in advance and this can often be a lifesaver for the small business. Dedicate an hour or so each week for scheduling. My only reservation is to consider that you need a human element to your social too. Don’t schedule absolutely everything. Post some “ real time” posts and don’t forget to engage with people.
The Magic 3
Consider the ‘magic 3’ when creating your posts:
- Call to action
You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write effectively. Think of your audience, be clear and concise and watch your spelling and grammar. Focus on the benefits for your audience and not just features.
Every post should have an image. Static or video. Engagement on posts without images is significantly less. Why? They just don’t catch people’s attention. Try and avoid cheesy stock images if you can. Take your own or it can be worth having professional images taken. Video is “ huge ” at the moment. People react to them and the social media platforms like them too – especially Facebook. Share a video on your business page and it will be seen by more people organically than a standard image.
We often forget to include calls to action in social media posts. Why? Well, sometimes we assume people know what to do and also, we’re just too polite! A solid ‘cta’ can make a huge difference. If you want people to click on a link/message you/call/share etc, just say so.
Mix and Match
As part of your strategy, consider the types of posts that you can create. There’s no solid formula, but aim for no more than 20% sales posts. So, what do you do for the other 80%? Try these ideas:
- Third party content that appeals to your audience
- Local news
- The occasional meme
- Stories about your business
- Inspirational content
- Facts and figures
- Hints and tips
- Ask questions
- Content generated from your audience
- Live video (Facebook Live, Instagram TV etc)
- Blog content
Consider Paid Social
It’s still possible to grow accounts and gain leads organically. But, it’s hard. Let’s be honest. Organic reach has fallen through the floor for many businesses.
Paid social, aka social media advertising is a growing market. The main platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This type of advertising can be very effective and you can get a great return on your investment. You don’t have to spend a fortune either.
It’s not a golden ticket, but, if you get your targeting right, your ad copy resonates with your audience and of course your product is appealing then you can reap the rewards.
Social media is a challenge for most businesses. You need to be creative, responsive, interesting and proactive – all whilst running your business! You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to plan ahead and make the most of everything that is available to you.
I can prepare your accounts for £750+VAT. All businesses catered for. Get in touch for a quote. Sarah Bennett, Tech and Toast www.techandtoast.com