In today's business environment, small business success is likely to depend on social media success. Businesses need to develop and execute a social media strategy for long-term survival. Using social media effectively allows small businesses to compete for their audience without spending a fortune. They can, therefore, 'even the playing field' with larger competitors. One of the biggest challenges with social media is allocating time to it, so efficiency is key. To achieve social media success, there are 3 core things you need to do; focus on the right channels, engage with your target audience and post relevant content consistently. If not, you won't see the ROI and will eventually come to the conclusion that social media just isn't worth it.
As a small business, you should first determine which social networks your targets are active on and focus only on those. This will take a little research on your part. You should look at several 'ideal' targets and which networks they are posting and engaging the most on. You can start off with a small list of 10 targets, which should give you a general idea of the correct social networks to focus on. Write those down and then move on to looking at your competition. Determine which networks they are most active on and which ones they are getting the most engagement from. Completing these two tasks should give you a good idea of where you should be spending your time. Remember, if you don’t focus your efforts on the right social channels, you’re not likely to see any ROI with social media.
This is the big one for small business! Unfortunately, it's the task that if not done correctly, can be a big waste of time. When engaging with people on social media, there are 4 things to be aware of:
Make sure you put some time into engaging with your audience. You should ask questions to start the engagement and to qualify connections. Block out time on your calendar for this task every day.
One of the most challenging tasks is coming up with good content, and enough of it to post consistently. Initially, creating a strategy and a calendar of topics will help tremendously. You don't want to be scrambling every day, trying to think of things to post. Social media success requires a lot of planning, so plan your content out.
Most small businesses don’t have the time or expertise to crank out 4 blog articles per week, and that’s okay. Ideally, you should write as many of your own articles as you can, but you have some other options to get good content to share. For one, you can get someone to write a guest post for your blog. Getting an industry influencer to do this may be a bit of a challenge if you are new to social media, but there are many people who will offer to write an article for you in exchange for a link back to their site. This helps them with their 'authority' and SEO.
Curating content from other sources is another option to help fill your article bucket. There are plenty of useful tools available to help with this. Here are a few of our favorites.
Tip: You want to be sure to give credit to your information source when posting other people's content.
Along with content curation tools, there are many software apps to help automate consistent posting of content.
Most social media management tools also include built-in content curation features. Some, like eClincher and Sprout Social, have unified social inboxes, that allow you to engage directly with your connections from within the app. The potential challenge you face with any of these tools is the learning curve. If you decide to trial one or two, evaluate them one at a time and make sure you use it daily.
In conclusion, small businesses need to be successful on social media in order to survive. Social media success can be achieved by focusing on the right social media channels, engaging properly and being consistent with content sharing. It won't happen overnight but if you commit to doing these three tasks, you will see positive results over time.
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