Are you a small business owner wondering where to start when it comes to social media? Are you unsure which strategy is best, and how you can harness this powerful tool for the growth of your business? The truth is that there is no rule book for winning the social media game, but here at HatchMark Studio, we have done the work to create strategies, tips and tricks for making the most of social media for your small business.
Consistency is King
When diving into the world of social media management, you may feel overwhelmed at the possibilities. Do you try to make a viral video with trending audio? Have a dynamic content calendar that keeps your head spinning? Or do you just set it and forget it?
Each social media channel you create for your business can serve vastly different purposes and speak to very different audiences. The best way to tackle this tricky topic is to pick one channel that you are familiar with, and that has a large number of your customers on it. Get good at posting, develop a strategy, and then stick with it.
Choosing Your Channels
Facebook is typically the first place your customer will look for basic information about your business and for an overview of who you are and what you do. A business without a Facebook page is a red flag to your customers. Facebook is also a perfect place to make local connections, and to receive organic referrals from your current customers to their friends and family through post and photo tags.
Instagram serves as a portfolio for your business where you can curate the vibe of your business and provide highlights of who you are and what you do. Instagram’s story feature and active direct messaging platform provides a resource for behind-the-scenes content and direct interactions with your customer base.
LinkedIn is no place for business casual; think of this business-oriented platform as your online resume. Here, you can connect with potential clients and share thought leadership content that has the ability to reach your entire industry on a national and even global scale.
Other platforms like TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), Pinterest, and Snapchat all have their benefits and drawbacks. The real question is: can you reach your audience on a channel? If you can, then it’s worth diving in (with a solid content strategy, that is).
We recommend picking one or two channels to start and build up your strategy. Once you’ve mastered those, you can move on to others. And keep in mind that what works on one channel may fall flat on another, so a successful social media strategy needs a different approach for each platform you add.
Boosting Your Results
Every small business owner hopes to strike gold with an organic post each week, but the truth is that small financial investments in your social media strategy can go a long way in ensuring success.
Facebook and Instagram both provide pay-to-play options in the form of boosting which allows you to guarantee a certain reach on each post you sponsor. Luckily, you can control the amount you spend on boosting, putting just a few dollars a day on a post or setting a monthly budget.
How do you know what posts are worth boosting? Keep an eye on the analytics for your content week by week. If a post is starting to pick up organically, throw a few dollars on it and see how it grows.
A/B testing is another way you can gauge the success of your content strategy without gambling too much of your budget away. For example, if you’re promoting a new food item at your restaurant, you can plan two posts: In the first, run a carousel of images featuring the item, the restaurant, and people enjoying it. In the second post, create a reel of the item being prepared and served. Check the metrics on both posts to get a better idea of what style of content your customers prefer and incorporate that data for next time.
Today, many of the social media channels you’ll find the most success on are also full of algorithm-fueled tools and tips. Make note of what time Meta Business Suite suggests you schedule your daily posts or use their suggested audience targeting for your next sponsored post. If you use third-party scheduling tools, they may also have tips for how best to post – take full advantage of their expertise.
Make a Plan
While you might get away with creating and posting content weekly, your social media channels will thank you for developing a content calendar for 30-90 days into the future. Think about what notable benchmarks are coming up for your business, plan easy to achieve content, and schedule it all out so that you can have content banked and ready to go.
It seems daunting but once you have a plan in place, you move from ‘what are we posting today’ to ‘how can our next 3 months of content support other marketing initiatives we have in the works.’ Social organically becomes a part of your larger marketing ecosystem, and less of a stressor on your day-to-day.
That being said, there is no hard and fast rule for the correct number of posts a week, or even the correct days and times to post them. Find what works best for you and stick with it. It helps to think about when your audience will be online – we tend to check our phones in the morning before work, around lunchtime, and sometime before bed, for example.
But what do you post? If you are completely lost for ideas on what content to create, do a bit of research in your market to see what is working for others. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but don’t feel like you need to stick to your neighbor; check out what leaders in your industry across the region, nation and even the globe are up to.
Look at your business with fresh eyes. What questions might your customers have that you could answer through an engaging reel, an informative image carousel, or behind the scenes content on your story? Dive into the roles of your employees and explore what it is that makes your business unique.
Most of us have seen the overnight success stories on social media, the businesses that hopped on a trending audio or new video trend at just the right moment and woke up with millions of views and thousands of new customers. While that could happen to you, it is best to remember that a consistent posting strategy should always be your plan A. If you have the time and capacity to reach for something riskier, take the leap but know you can always fall back on your solid calendar of posts to continue steadily building your reputation online.
At the end of the day, if you are consistent and authentic with your social media content, you will resonate with your audience and expand your business with this valuable tool.