Social media has revolutionized the way we do business. It’s a fantastic way for small businesses to reach a global audience without needing a huge marketing budget.

It’s given small business the opportunity to compete on a global stage with large international organisations, like never before. It’s allowed small business to take back control of their destiny, rather than others dictating to them how they can and can’t advertise their business, based on their available financial resources.

Gone are the days of large brands taking up all the advertising space available. Social media for business has evened the playing field, giving all businesses the platform to reach an audience whatever their size.

As a small business, you may not have $10,000 to spend on monthly pay-per-click advertising campaigns; however, you do have the creative ideas needed to grab your audience’s attention.

Small businesses are outsmarting larger brands with innovative ways of communicating their brand messages, increasing their presence. These days, one-man bands have as much chance of building a strong brand presence on social media as large multinational organisations do.

There are endless advantages of social media, so if you’re a small business, consider embarking on the social media journey.

Not sure where to start? There are some key things that you can do to ensure that your social media strategy is on point.

Here is a 10 step insider guide to social media for small business:

 

 

1. Plan

 

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Planning is a key part of social media success, so don’t overlook this crucial element.

Before embarking on your social media journey, take a step back and spend some time planning your strategy. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, then you won’t know how to get there.

Identifying your goals and objectives at the start will determine the direction you choose to go.

No doubt, your business has several marketing objectives, so outline those objectives and choose the top three that you’d like to achieve. Build your social media strategy based on these three key objectives, rather than spreading your strategy thin while trying to incorporate all of your marketing objectives.

Once you’ve achieved these three top objectives, you can then revisit your other objectives and incorporate them into your social media strategy down the track.

 

 

 

 

2. Build Brand Authority

 

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Brand authority is invaluable; the more you have, the more you can maximise all kinds of opportunities for growth.

Building brand authority is a long game, not a short-term strategy; building trust and authority takes time, effort and consistency.

What you’re communicating to your audience and peers will determine how they perceive your brand.

If you’re consistently communicating in an authentic, informative and skilled way then you will become an authoritative voice within your industry.

If your messaging reinforces that you truly value your audience, and you’re prepared to invest in providing them with quality content, then you will reap the rewards down the track.

LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for B2B businesses to build brand authority with potential and existing customers, as well as industry peers. It provides endless opportunities for collaboration and growth, so if you haven’t embarked on the LinkedIn journey, then consider doing so.

 

3. Join In

 

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Standing on your own two feet ensures that you have a solid foundation. However, once you’ve got that solid foundation, building a community around you will only maximise the opportunities that are out there.

Relationships are worth their weight in gold; building relationships with others within your industry, including industry leaders, has benefits that money can’t buy.

Many businesses don’t understand how beneficial collaboration, rather than competition, can be. If you have skills that others can benefit from, then why not share them? Getting involved in initiatives that may not necessarily have an immediate financial benefit to your business, could have a positive impact in the long run.

You never know what type of opportunity may arise from building strong relationships, and adding value to your community. It may not have an immediate financial benefit to your business, but it may open doors that lead to greater financial gains.

Getting involved in your community on social media can have amazing benefits, so don’t be afraid to reach out to peers, industry leaders and others.

 

 

4. Contribute To Others

 

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When you give, you receive.

Social media is about community, you shouldn’t exist on social media if you’re not interested in what others are doing.

A great way to engage followers, peers, industry leaders and others is to take an active approach in showing your support.

Actively encouraging and supporting others shows that you care about their success, and when you need it in return, you’re most likely to get it from those who you’ve previously backed.

Being an active follower is a great way to start building a relationship. Do some research on those who are spearheading your industry, making positive change and innovating to start the conversation and see where it takes you.

 

5. Be Different, Be Yourself

 

In an overcrowded landscape, being yourself is the only way to stand out. There’s no one else that is exactly like you, so why not showcase your individuality? You are unique, so why not share your uniqueness with the world?

Social media is about your personal brand first and foremost. Showing the world who you are means that you’re being authentic, and authenticity is valued in a world of imitations.

Being yourself, and showcasing what makes you special will give you the edge in a competitive space. Doing something different may be harder, but it will take your business that much further.

Don’t undervalue your individuality, rather embrace it. If you communicate it in an authentic way, then your audience will embrace it too. Stick to your values, and this will shine through in your brand message.

 

6. Choose Your Platform

 

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Many make the mistake of jumping onto every social media platform out there. However, if you’re a small business with limited time and resources, this may actually be detrimental to your business.

Rather focus on one or two relevant platforms, and do them well. Engaging in every social media platform, and producing a below par campaign on each one could actually be damaging to your brand.

Do some research to determine which platform is best suited to your audience, and put your focus there. Not every social media platform may be relevant to your business, each has distinct user characteristics like demographics, habits etc.

Also think realistically about the type of content you are able to produce, for example, if you’re unable to produce quality video content on a regular basis then YouTube may not be the way to go.

 

7. Concentrate On Adding Content With Real Value

 

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Social media for small business is an opportunity for you to connect, in a meaningful way, with those who have helped you and supported your business, it’s not about the hard sell.

You need to be smart about every piece of content you put out there; it needs to provide real value to your audience. If it doesn’t, then you could lose brand authority and followers at the same time.

Social media isn’t about “I”, it’s about “us”; it isn’t just about taking, it’s about giving and sharing with your audience while building a strong and lasting relationship.

If you don’t take time to provide something of value to your audience, then someone else will. The number of brands that are getting on the social media bandwagon is increasing at a rapid rate, which means it’s hugely competitive.

If your content is irritating, irrelevant or repetitive, you’ll quickly lose your following to a competitor who’s offering quality content that resonates with the audience.

 

8. Be More Visual

 

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Let’s face it, your audience is time poor, as well as bombarded with so many messages on a daily basis. Complex messages can be conveyed through a single image more effectively than through a long description.

What better way to catch your audience’s attention? Striking, unique and interesting imagery is a great way to convey a message to an audience that has a limited attention span.

Things like infographics, videos and pictures are quickly becoming the norm on most social media platforms, with the majority of organisations using some form of visual content on social media.

Visually orientated platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have enormous followings so they shouldn’t be overlooked when you’re evaluating which platform is best suited to your business.

 

9. Social Media Calendar

 

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An easy way to ensure that you’re keeping on track with your social media plan is to have a social media calendar. It puts your plan into action, with everything set out “on paper”.

Your social media content output needs to be strategic, not hap hazard.

Social media for business can be all about timing, the right timing. Having a solid plan and schedule will ensure that you’re timing your content correctly. You need to ensure that your social media calendar aligns with your organisation’s operations, as well as industry/other key events.

Scheduling in advance allows you to post regularly, and get regular results. Automating activities is a great way to save time if you’re time poor, so keep this in mind when preparing your social media calendar.

 

 

 

 

 

10. Watch Your Metrics

 

 There’s no doubt that you constantly hear the word “metrics” when it comes to social media.

The truth is that metrics can be the difference between an average social media campaign, and a great one.

Consistently monitoring your metrics allows you to see what’s working and what’s not in real time, as well as make immediate adjustments based on the results you’re getting.

Social media for business is fast moving and ever-changing, so in order to do it well, you need to be nimble. The advantage of being a small organisation is that you won’t come across all that red tape, you can make modifications fairly easily.

One of the advantages of social media marketing is that it’s not set in stone, you can test things out as you go, and adjust accordingly. And if you’re monitoring your metrics consistently, you’ll see what’s working and what isn’t. Do more of what’s working, and less of what isn’t.

As much as you plan your social media campaign, you also need to cater for those unknowns, so make sure you have room to move when it comes to your strategy.

You can use things like Facebook pixel which helps you track conversions from Facebook ads. Don’t spend too much time on likes, follows or impressions, rather measure things like ad spend versus sales/leads generated.

 

Conclusion

As a small business, use this 10 step guide to get the most out of your social media experience. You don’t need to have an endless digital marketing budget; you just need to do a few key things to ensure that you’re maximising your output.

The most important thing to remember is to value your audience. This key element will influence everything you do on social media, and ultimately ensure that you produce quality content.

Social media is about community; it’s a give and take. Where you give others the support and encouragement they need, you’ll receive the same in return.

Don’t follow, rather capitalise on your individuality and become a leader. There’s no one else out there like you; stay true to yourself so you stand out from the crowd. Your uniqueness will shine through and attract the right audience.

Social media for small business doesn’t have to be complicated; keep it simple. Choose one or two platforms that are most relevant to your business, and put your resources into those. Spreading yourself thin won’t get you anywhere, rather it could set you back.