The numbers are in! As of July 2021, recent reports indicate that nearly 4.5 billion people across the world are now using social media. That’s roughly 58% of the global population! With 9 in 10 internet users now using social, popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become prime real estate for businesses to reach their target audiences.
What does this mean for your small business? The days of putting social on the back-burner are a thing of the past. Welcome to Social Media 101!
Why is Social Media Important?
When we ask business owners why they aren’t on social media, they often express that they have no idea what to share or what value it creates. This is a HUGE misconception that is holding your business back!
There is so much content that you could potentially be creating for your audience. For small businesses, social media is a gateway to build brand authority, awareness and authenticity. It’s about meeting your customers where they are and showing them why they should care about what you do! We’re wired for connection, and people want to get to know you.
Social Media 101: Selecting the Right Social Platforms
Social media is evolving. What’s hip today is obsolete tomorrow, and that can make the task of setting up the right social media accounts seem daunting.
While your business might not be ready to hop on the bandwagon of the latest TikTok trends or produce regular videos for YouTube, there are a few tried and true platforms that every small business owner should explore.
With 302.28 million active monthly users in the United States, Facebook is one of the world’s leading social media platforms! If nothing else, Facebook is the best starter platform for your business.
Why we recommend it:
- Facebook is a great place to “find your tribe,” start building your brand and get your name out there.
- This is the place where the majority of potential customers are active. Facebook also offers the best data on its users, making it easier to gain insights on your audience.
- Connect with your customers via chat, comments, and reviews
- Easily build campaigns and run ads to reach your target audience
Instagram is very unique in that it was built almost entirely on the sharing of images and video. Now with over a billion registered users, “Instagramming,” is officially in the dictionary! If your business has a highly visual element to it, this is the platform for you.
Why we recommend it:
- Instagram is great for e-commerce! People love to shop on Instagram, and if you sell products, integrating your shop can help increase sales and site traffic.
- Reach more potential customers with targeted keywords. Page discovery is just a #Hashtag away!
- Video, video, and more video! 83% of consumers would consider sharing video content with their friends and Instagram has announced their plans to focus on this direction moving forward.
Available in over 200 countries, this network has quickly become a powerful platform for enabling business connections and promoting industry contacts. If your business is a B2B company, this is the perfect space for you. However, if you are a B2C business don’t cross this platform off your list. It’s a great way to extend your professional brand through your own personal profile. New business often comes from personal referrals and LinkedIn is a perfect way to make those personal connections and get future referrals.
Why we recommend it:
- This platform ranks first as the most trusted digital platform in the United States
- Hiring? Connecting with potential employees has never been easier. 40 million people use LinkedIn to search for job opportunities every week
- Easily make meaningful business connections by getting involved in groups, publishing articles, and hopping on trending topics
- LinkedIn offers ample opportunity for engagement, sporting one of the highest organic reaches over other social media platforms
Google My Business
How many times have you had a question about a business and thought to yourself, “Let me Google this really quick”? If a potential customer did a Google search for your business, what would they find? It’s not surprising to learn that over 60% of smartphone users will contact a business directly using their search results.
Why we recommend it:
- YOU are in control of the information others are seeing to help customers find your business. YOU are in control of telling your story.
- Studies show that verified businesses on Google are twice as likely to earn trust from their customers.
- Many business owners don’t realize that they can actually post to their Google My Business account, or that customers can interact with its content. Posting frequently will give your business a greater chance of improving its search ranking.
These platforms are HOT right now in the social media space and can be completely relevant for your business. Just remember to not stretch yourself too thin! This all depends upon the type of business you have and your capacity to add more to your plate.
YouTube – This platform has become a media powerhouse and is arguably considered the no. 2 search platform in the world, next to Google.
Twitter – Many businesses are utilizing this platform as a way to connect on a more personal level with their employees and customers. We’d recommend using it to build brand awareness, not drive direct sales.
TikTok – #smallbusiness on this platform encompasses over 33.8 billion views. From tips and trends, to shopping and promotion, small business conversations are already happening here, you just have to join them. Your brand story is the key to connection.
Social Media 101: Setting Up Your Accounts
Get it right the first time! Sometimes getting set-up properly is half the battle and it can be confusing to figure out all the steps. Save time searching through random blogs and tutorials. We’ve linked them all for you here, right from the source!
- Create a Facebook Business page
- Set-up your Facebook Business Suite and Manager account
- Establish a Facebook Ads account
- Create a LinkedIn Business page
Google My Business
- Add or claim your Business Profile on Google
Content Creation & Management
Creating content for your small business is easier than you think! The best place to start? Try thinking about these questions when brainstorming your social media strategy:
- What is your brand identity?
- What kind of story are you trying to tell?
- Who is your target audience?
- i.e. What are their behaviors, likes/dislikes, demographics?
- Try creating a customer persona with this easy exercise
- What is different about the services you provide or products that you sell?
- What makes you unique?
Check out these tools we love to help get you started.
Social Media 101: Scheduling Content
Set it and forget it! One of the best tools you can take advantage of for your social media is using a scheduling tool. There are plenty of advantages to using a paid service, and the options are many. However, when you are just getting started, you might not be ready to invest.
Check out some of our favorite FREE scheduling tools:
- Facebook Creator Studio – Here you can schedule unlimited posts to your Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as see some limited analytics for the content you post (p.s. You will need to set up your Facebook Business Suite and Manager page first)
- Tweetdeck – If you end up using Twitter, this is their free tool available to schedule tweets and create customized experiences.
Unfortunately, there are no free scheduling tools for Google My Business or LinkedIn at this time. Some popular platforms like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Later, do offer limited free plans, but investing the time and effort to learn these platforms is hardly worth the payoff (in our opinion).
Grow with Social
Now that you are set-up for success, the sky’s the limit. Make the move to create your new social accounts, today! We’re turning this into a series, so be sure to check back every few weeks for the next installment of Social Media 101 for your small business!
Need a little extra help? The Social Ginger is here to be your partner as you continue to dive into and learn more about social media. Set up a FREE discovery call today.