Make social media work for your small business

Studies have shown that around 74% of adults on the internet use social media and 81% of consumers research online before making big purchases. One of the most efficient ways for small businesses and contractors to reach online customers is through social media. Here are some tips on how you can get the most out of social media.

small business

Identify your platforms

The first thing you need to do is identify which social media platforms your customers prefer. Users are on a variety of social media networks and targeting two or three that are relevant to your customers is a must. For adult users, the most popular social media networks, as of May 2016, are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Facebook tends to be more personal, while LinkedIn tends to be more business-orientated. YouTube may or may not be relevant to your business, while Twitter is a mixed bag of users. For instance, B2B clients tend to prefer using LinkedIn while B2C operations find more success through Facebook.

Research which network your preferred customers are likely to use. By focusing on the platforms that matter to your business, you are more likely to build a community around your brand.

How will you interact with users?

Social media has given customers unprecedented access to brands. Your brand will now be directly accessible to the masses.

A lot of correspondence and customer service is now done through social media platforms. You will need to stay on top of this as a small business owner. Make sure you have a coherent strategy for dealing with queries, reviews, thank yous and complaints.

Staying in touch

A good social media strategy also requires you to be proactive. There are a number of software utilities that can help you monitor various feeds on various social media platforms. Using applications like Hootsuite can make it easy for any small business to monitor its Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.

In addition to monitoring, you can set specific terms that will show up in your feeds when they are mentioned publicly by users on any of the major social networks you have a presence on. This way you will be able to join public conversations around things that you offer as a business.

Engage, don’t invade

Do note, it may or may not be appropriate for you to join a conversation and start promoting your business. Be wary of entering into conversations where it may be intrusive. Platforms like Facebook are generally more personal, whereas Twitter is more of an open forum. These are not hard and fast rules and you will only learn through observation and practice.

Monitoring your platforms will help you stay abreast of what’s going on in your industry. Take note of the questions people are asking and develop answers to these. Put these answers into an answer bank and then if these ever come up, you will be able to answer these questions quickly and easily.

Speed and accuracy are important. The more your customers can see that you are engaging in an efficient and helpful way, the more likely they are to become brand-loyal.

Have well-defined goals

Do you want your social media accounts to be places where people can contact you? Do you want them to be a source of news for your clients and prospective clients? Some businesses choose to have a mixture of both.

Whatever you decide, you will know if you have succeeded by setting clear goals. Do you want to raise brand awareness, or do you want to engage with your audience? Depending on your answer, you will have to focus on different metrics. If you know what you want, you can measure this yourself or you can measure the performance of someone you have hired for your social media management.

Stay on top of things as these platforms can change quite rapidly. If you’re not careful, you may get left behind.

1st Contact Accounting specialises in offering UK contractors and small businesses expert accounting and tax advice. Give us a call on +44 (0) 80 8141 1643 or send us an email to find out how we can help.

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