For businesses that are looking to grow their local network, social media is key to growing brand awareness and – most important – engaging with potential customers. We work with a whole range of local businesses and they tell us that the most difficult thing is a) getting started, and b) building momentum to keep engagement going.
Social media for business is different from using it to keep in touch with friends, and – yes – it can certainly be bewildering at the start. But over 50 million businesses worldwide use Facebook and, if your marketing budget is tight, it’s absolutely free to get started. Having worked on building a social media presence for all kinds of businesses, here are our tips for getting started.
For most SMEs the decision to engage in social media starts with a stutter rather than a bang. Until you make the decision to include it in your marketing strategy, and you assign responsibility to someone for building your presence, nothing much is going to happen. Social media needs daily attention and maintenance to be impactful, and of value to followers.
Right at the start you need to decide what the ‘personality’ of your posts will be. Think about the way your business does things, and how that might translate on social media. It’s a good idea to look at your competitors’ pages to find out how they’re engaging. And remember the SOCIAL in social media – people will follow you because you’re human, you do human things, and you appear frequently in posts.
Of course it’s tempting to start plastering your product all over your social media platform, but that’s a big turn-off for followers. 80% of your content should be about social engagement, and be inspired by your followers. That buys you a 20% window for promoting your product or services. IN the end the major benefit of social media is all about getting to know the people who buy from you.
Don’t try to be everywhere; you’ll simply spread yourself too thin and end up making no impact at all. Start out with just one or two platforms; work on building a successful strategy, and then grow into another platform. They all have their own rules, following and expectations, so it takes time to understand how to manage your presence effectively.
Visitors to your site will be able to sniff out empty content in a second, so don’t go there. Think about how you can add value for your visitors, either by providing tips, high quality resources, genuinely funny material or videos, and authentic accounts of what the business is up to and who their connected with.
Video gets the most engagement on Facebook and Twitter. 60-90 seconds of personal face-to-face engagement with someone from the business is highly valued by FB users, and as such, it’s something you should seriously consider. Alright, so you’re uncomfortable with the idea; don’t just dismiss it out of hand – it’s too good an opportunity to dismiss without some careful, creative thought.
Be realistic with your social media strategy. It’s not going to pay dividends over night. You have to build a following and then find the ways to keep them engaged. Most business find that it’s only after 6-8 months that they feel totally comfortable with their strategy, and they start to see some return from the hard work they’ve put in.
Social media has a great pay-off but it’s hard work to get started. We find that setting rules really helps. If you HAVE TO post every single day, you soon get used to making social media part of your everyday routine. And that’s what it’s all about in the end; your followers want to know you’re thinking about them, and engaging with them regularly.
Imagefix works with SME businesses on developing their social media strategy and presence. That includes page design, content and visual material, as well as branding, and logo. If you’d like to talk to us about your social media, call us today on 01234 924859 or 01525 715608.
Imagefix Web Design,
Brickhill Drive, Bedford,
Bedfordshire, MK41 7PH.
Imagefix Ltd, Building 52,
Wrest Park, Silsoe, Bedford,
Bedfordshire, MK45 4HR.
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