How to use social media to promote your small business
Using social media as an effective marketing tool is a difficult enough task when you’re a large business and have the resources to employ specialists, these same struggles for small businesses are only amplified.
Simply posting promotions and advertisements on your Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest is not going to gain you more followers or likes, engage your existing audience or improve your reputation.
Before getting into specifics for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – here are three tips that will help you across all these platforms:
Understand your data and analytics
Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all offer great in-house analytics dashboards. To make the most of your social media efforts, you should make an attempt to learn and understand these metrics as they will enable you to see how your posts are performing, as well as insights such as when the right time to post for your audience is or the type of content that gets most engagement.
Create a content calendar
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. At the start of each week (or at least on a regular basis) you should take time to plan out what you are going to post and when you’re going to post it. Take advantage of public holidays or big upcoming events such as film releases, sporting events or cultural holidays.
In a dream world, all you’ll receive on your social channels is praise and positive feedback, but in reality you will also get negative feedback and complaints. Should you delete and hide the negative? No. React quickly and respond to them, directly to them in public, offer to take their order number to investigate further, apologise for the negative experience and look to make amends. Do as much as you can within the public eye without divulging sensitive information and you will start to build an image of a company that cares, accepts negative feedback and attempts to make amends should a genuine complaint or dissatisfaction arise.
Having one or more members of your team familiar with the analytics dashboards of the platforms you use will in the long run save you time, time spent creating and sharing content that doesn’t work and at inappropriate times. Likewise having someone in your business with one eye on your networks, you can react quickly not only.
With this in mind, lets look at what you can do on each platform specifically to improve your local marketing and promote your business:
Include local keywords in your page settings
You have to make it easy for local Facebook users to find you, and one of the best ways to do this is to include localised keywords in your page set up that relate directly to your business and your location.
The two key areas to include these keywords are in your personalised Facebook address and in your long (and short) page description. For example if you’re a plumber in Helsinki, make sure your Facebook page’s web address ends in Helsinki (e.g. facebook.com/TeemuPlumber.Helsinki).
Collaborate with community influencers
Local celebrities and well known members of the community are the key to accessing a greater audience, quickly. Without directly endorsing your brand/company, by working with them you are leveraging their reputation to improve your own and improving your brand visibility. Collaborating with them will also mean your content will reach their audience in addition to your own.
A key element of local Facebook marketing is engaging the right, local people. A great way to do this is to take advantage of Facebook’s Check-In feature. Research conducted by the Pew Research Centre claims that the average Facebook user has 338 friends. When someone checks-in at your business, that action and your brand name is shared amongst those friends.
Peer to peer reviews and word of mouth often outweigh other decision making factors, when people see their friends listening to a song or eating at a restaurant, they take it into consideration because generally, people trust their friend’s judgement.
Hashtag your location
One of the quickest ways to gain local exposure is to include your location name as a hashtag in your Tweets, for example if you’re having an open day or sale, make sure you include your location in what you say, for example ‘Sale now on in #Edinburgh’.
Use Twitter’s advanced search
Twitter’s advanced search page allows you to add a location to your search. For example, you can search through the most recent tweets posted within 1 or 5 miles of a city, town or postcode/zip code. The search results are current tweets, so every time you do this search, you get different results.
Look at what your audience is doing
If you’re at a loss about what to post or want to do something different, learn from your audience. Look at the boards of the users who are re-pinning your pins and take inspiration. Someone who is pinning your content will have other interests, look at enough of your audience’s boards and you may see trends of other things they find interesting.
Make sure your boards are organized
Well categorized and organized Pinterest boards will make it easy for people to find your content. If you keep all relevant and associated content together on clearly defined boards, people can see them as a resource and use them for reference when making plans or buying decisions.
Starting from the very beginning?
If you want to become a real pro at online marketing, but you have never tried using social media for business before, then you should check out Sombrero. It’s a free mobile app for iOS and Android that trains you in e-marketing. It gives its users personalized tasks that will help you build and maintain your social media channels. Right now they offer trainings for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogging. It’s easy to use and very manageable; the tasks don’t take longer than 15 minutes and are very straightforward. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to social media, and a very helpful one if you’re more experienced.
Dan is an SEO Account Manager and award winning digital marketer from England. He is passionate about all things digital and is always looking for the next trend, gadget or breaking news story. For a free SEO video course, please click here.