Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest… the list of social media platforms continues to grow, as does their relevance. Social media is beyond merely being social, sharing family vacation photos, and political points of view. Today, social media is a digital marketing avenue that allows entrepreneurs and startups to build a brand presence, connect with customers (and potential customers), and drive traffic back their business websites. Below are some easy-to-implement small business website tips for social media marketing and how it can best benefit your success rate.
Select Your Social Space
You don’t need to be everywhere, just where your customers are. For example, we know that more and more Baby Boomers are taking over Facebook and Millennials are sticking with Instagram. So, establish the identity of your customers, find out where they are, and set up your presence there.
If you find that your customers are on every platform, select the one(s) that you find will perform the best for your business goals and which one(s) you have the time to manage. Don’t spread yourself thin. It’s best to set up a presence on one or two platforms and remain active there. Setting up your social media profiles isn’t enough. Being engaging is essential.
Bonus tip: Do reserve social profiles for all social media platforms. Just because you are not active on all of them doesn’t mean someone won’t try to search for you there. Claim your profiles and set up your bios to direct users to your website. You can leave your posts/timeline blank.
Set Up Your Profiles
Your social media profiles should directly match your brand. That includes your brand name, logo, website URL, and tagline (if you have one). Our own eWebscapes Twitter profile is a good example. Our Twitter profile name matches exactly, CamelCase included. The wording of our Twitter bio matches the words and the business description we use on our About page. And, of course, our logo is exact, and our website is clearly featured. We ensure this type of consistency with each and every one of our social media profiles. You should do the same.
Bonus tip: Size matters. Each social media platform has its own requirements for file and image size for profile and cover photos. The image size you use on Twitter will not exactly work for Facebook. Stay up to date with these requirements, which seem to change regularly.
Plan, Schedule, and Monitor
Create a plan and stick to it. It helps to know when the best times are to be active on social media. There is no real definitive answer. You’ll find a variety of recommendations, but do your research and find what works for you and your business.
Select a number of times to be active throughout the day. A general rule of thumb is to post on Facebook once per day and tweet just a few times per day. But again, there is no one-fits-all solution. It’s better to err on the side of less is more. Social media users do not like brand accounts that appear spammy. Keep any self-promotional social media shares to a minimum, and share informational and educational articles that pertain to your industry.
For example, a few tweets per week that announce any specials you would like to promote will certainly be appreciated by those who are interested in buying your product or service. But for the remainder of your tweets, share articles that provide helpful, general information and are relevant to your business. If you sell used cars, useful articles to share would be something along the lines of how to change a tire, how to recycle used car oil, or how to change out windshield wipers.
Bonus tip: Sharing your own blog posts on your social media drives that traffic back to your website. It is somewhat of a promotional social media share, but if you keep your blog content helpful and general in nature (much like this blog post that you’re reading right now), then your followers will find it more acceptable.
When you know when to post and share and how many times, rely upon a social media scheduling tool to act as your assistant. eWebscapes uses the internal scheduler that comes with Facebook and Buffer to schedule our tweets. There are many tools out there. Some are free, some premium. Do your research and pick one that works for you.
Don’t just set it and forget it. You will still want to monitor your social media during your regular business hours just in case a customer is using the platforms to contact you. Engage and be helpful, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to remain quiet after business hours.
Bonus tip: With Facebook, you can set auto-replies for Facebook messages, which can come in very handy during those moments when a customer sends you a message at 3 a.m.
Integrate Your Social Media with Your Website
Don’t forget to let your website visitors know where to find you on social media. With WordPress, this is especially easy to do using plugins and widgets. You can simply feature the icons of the social media platforms where you are active (and link those icons to your profiles), but you can also feature a social media feed. You can actually feature ALL of your social media feeds, but we strongly recommend you select one and feature only that one. Again, find what works for you.
Bonus tip: Use a social media sharing plugin on your blog to allow for your content to be shared on the social media profiles of your readers. It’s a quick way to turn your blog readers into your marketing team.
Analyze Data, Make Improvements, Set Goals, and Plan for the Future
After your first three months, analyze your social media efforts. How many Twitter followers have you obtained since you first began? How many Facebook page likes? What is working? What isn’t? Where can you make improvements or changes?
Set goals. Do you want to increase your Twitter following by 20%, 50%, more? Where are you getting the most leads? Should you be more active there and less active elsewhere? Analyze, set goals, and plan for your growth. You may even have to enlist help to achieve them. Consider increasing your future marketing budget to cover such an expense.
Social media is not a trend by any means. It is an established avenue for modern day digital marketing providing real results. Your business may be small, but your dreams are big. And social media may just be that extra boost you need to reach them.