Building a Social Media Presence
July 31st 2022
Having a social media presence should be part of any small business’s marketing strategy, mainly because using social media platforms to connect with target customers can be extremely cost effective. Tia Meyers Grado, founder of Freelancing Females, provides a quick rundown of the primary social media platforms small businesses may want to pay attention to in a recent video for WomensNet, as well as recommendations for building an online presence.
Popular Social Media Platforms
Although new social media platforms are springing up regularly, the most popular right now are:
Facebook. Facebook is where people “turn to update their statuses, talk to their friends and family,” says Grado. What sets Facebook apart is the ability to create Facebook groups, which is a useful tool for finding and connecting with ideal clients and then learning more about their needs and interests.
Instagram. Where Facebook is more about information-sharing, Instagram is “a visual representation of who you are as a business and the type of work you are offering to potential clients,” Grado says.
TikTok. TikTok is “a little more relaxed than other social media platforms and a place where you’d have fun,” Grado says. Product businesses find TikTok is a good place to talk about their offerings and demonstrate how to use them in short videos.
Twitter. Grado observes that Twitter is less useful for small businesses trying to reach clients, but says it can be effective for users who are trying to position themselves as experts in a specific category or industry.
Once you decide which platform to start with or focus on, it’s time to develop a plan for how to market through them.
Creating a Strategy
People use social media to connect with brands and to find products and companies they can trust, frequently based on what their friends and family are using and recommending, Grado says. Keeping that in mind, you’ll want to design a strategy for connecting with prospects before you start posting on social media platforms. Here are five steps to work through:
Your why. First, she says, “you want to understand the objective of what you are trying to do with your business.” What do you want social media to help you achieve? Are you looking for leads? Customers? Educating the market? Decide what your goal is up front.
Your niche. Unless you have an unlimited budget, it would be nearly impossible to serve every potential customer. To be realistic, you’ll want to narrow your focus to a subset of your total market, or your niche. For example, instead of all women in the U.S., you might serve women in the south aged 18-29. Or instead of all kayakers, you might serve people who kayak in the ocean. Choose a narrow niche for best results. You can expand later.
Your secret sauce. Besides a superior offering, what is your business known for? What is its reputation? Tesla is known for innovation, for example. Target is tops for cheap chic. Yeti has a brand reputation for durability. What word would customers use to describe your company? That’s your secret sauce.
Your uniqueness. What is it that makes your product, service, or business better than your competition? Do your kale chips taste exactly like potato chips? Does your cleaning solution remove stains on anything? Do you ship overnight free of charge, no matter how large the order size? What makes your company a stand-out?
Your ideal customer. When you are clear about who your product or service is meant for, creating a marketing message to attract that type of person becomes easier. That is especially true on social media.
Being clear on these elements makes it easier to design and create social media posts that achieve your objective. However, there are some do’s and don’ts you’ll want to be aware of as you start to share content online.
Do’s and Don’ts
You do want to “find photos that are going to capture your audience,” Grado says, with lighter photos being more popular than darker photos, by 24%.”
Your photos also need to be “honest, elevated, authentic,” she says. They don’t always have to be beautiful, but they do need to accurately represent your brand.
Do use images of people because “adding visuals of people does way better than any other type of content on social,” she says.
She cautions against offending your audience. “Don’t try to hard to make a joke or statement that could offend” people. Cancel culture is a real concern.
Don’t be overly preachy or constantly selling.
And don’t assume that everyone will be interested in what you’re selling. “And that’s okay,” she says.
To connect with your customer base, the key is presenting new content on a regular basis. Grado recommends posting at least five days a week on new accounts and at least three times a week for an existing account. She uses Planoly to schedule social media posts.
Hashtags are also must-haves, to target the correct audience. They are discoverable, meaning people can search for related content based on hashtags and come across your brand or company that way.
Now that you know how frequently to be posting, you may be wondering what, exactly, to share. Deciding on pillars of content, or types of posts, can be helpful. For example, one day a week you might share new product information. Another day might be devoted to case studies of customer success stories. Another day might feature videos with how-to instruction or vendor interviews, for example.
One pillar might be sales-focused while others might be more instructional, educational, or purely entertainment. After all, people frequently turn to social media for fun.
Keep in mind that one way to grow your social media audience is by creating shareable content. Frequently, what is shareable includes beautiful imagery. Offering freebies is another way to attract attention. Grado mentions one client that gave away free iPhone backgrounds to help build its email list.
The best way to get started is to create your first social media post and start engaging with your audience.