In 2021 the UK is home to a whopping 53 million active social media users - that’s a penetration rate of 78% of the population - pretty staggering, right?
For business owners, social media is one of the most cost-effective and impactful marketing tools at their disposal and can offer heaps of benefits if used correctly, including:
Unsurprisingly then, 97% of marketers use social media to reach their audiences, but the key to reaping these rewards is using social platforms properly, and that’s where we can help.
Here at takepayments, we thrive off helping small businesses prosper, which is why we created this list of 10 top social media tips for small businesses to set you up for social success.
Since many small business owners are likely already on social media personally, it’s often tempting to dive in and start posting straight away, but this isn’t the best idea.
A social media strategy sets out your aims and objectives for using social media and can help ensure your efforts are effective in meeting them.
Creating a killer strategy involves:
...and more. You can find out exactly how to do it in this comprehensive guide.
Different social platforms are better suited to different businesses, so it’s important to work out which ones you’ll use - particularly if you don’t have the resources to maintain them all at first.
So for example, Instagram and Pinterest are much more visual platforms, whereas Twitter is all about the text and of course YouTube is the king of videos.
Typical user demographics also vary slightly between the platforms with more female users on Facebook and Instagram, and more male users on Twitter and YouTube.
To use social media effectively for your business it’s important you conduct some research to help you understand where to focus your efforts for maximum impact, and bear in mind social media isn’t an all-or-nothing tool - you can use the different channels to reach different audiences so long as you tailor your posts accordingly.
Top tip: for help working out which social media platform is the best fit for your business head here.
On the subject of users, one of the most powerful tools social media can offer businesses is the ability to micro-target your audience - but before you can do that impactfully you’ll need to get to know who they are.
You can get started on this by collecting details of your existing customer base as well as applying a little common sense - if you’re a men’s clothing retailer, for example, although some women will be buying from you for gifts, etc. your target audience will be predominantly male.
Once you’ve done this, take things further by using the analytics on offer by the likes of Google Analytics and the social platforms themselves. The data provided will give you an insight into the demographics and behaviour of consumers visiting your website and social feeds which you can use to tailor your marketing efforts.
You can use all the information you’ve collated on your target audience to begin expanding your following and reach.
For example, if your analysis indicates your target audience is most active during commuting hours and in the evening, be sure you’re posting during these times.
Other top tips for growing your audience include:
One of the unique elements on offer with social media compared to traditional marketing channels is the ability to interact and engage with your followers.
A recent study found that 83% of social media users use the platforms to do a bit of digging and compare their options before making a purchase - and part of that digging involves getting to know who you are as a business.
If prospective customers see you engaging with your following, demonstrating you care, and providing value, you’ll foster a sense of trust and boost your credibility.
Not only that, but modern-day consumers now expect to receive a personalised experience when shopping and want to be treated like a person rather than a pound sign - they can sniff out insincerity a mile away.
By engaging with them and creating a two-way dialogue you’ll demonstrate your authenticity, give consumers what they want, and go some way to developing a loyal customer base.
Social media users have grown to expect a visual component to posts - and even though Instagram and Pinterest are all about the imagery, the same rule can now be applied to the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter too.
In fact, Twitter themselves admit adding an image or GIF to a tweet is the simplest method for generating more attention and over half of younger users (Millenials and Gen Z) admit their most recent online purchase was inspired by an image on social media.
For businesses that don’t necessarily lend themselves to imagery, like those in the service sector, videos are a great alternative and one of 2020’s big digital marketing trends.
It could be a video from a recent event you successfully curated, or some ‘culture content’ showcasing your office or team night out - to find out more about using videos for your small business head here.
Remember, you don’t have to do it all - as a small business owner you’re undoubtedly very busy, and if you haven’t reached a point where you can outsource your marketing efforts yet it’s important you focus on quality over quantity.
Top-notch content on one or two channels (ideally those your research highlighted as the best fit for your business) will have a much bigger impact than a half-hearted presence on each of the platforms available.
Equally, don’t bombard your audience with too much content or frequent sales-heavy posts - remember that people want to be treated like people, not sales machines.
Research into Facebook, as an example, shows posting once a day is an optimal frequency, as a second post within a 24-hour timeframe loses significant traction.
At a minimum, a couple of posts per week per platform is a must, and if you’re worried you’ll run out of hours in the day or forget to post...
We recently compiled a list of invaluable online resources for small businesses, and the social media scheduling tool Hootsuite was one of them.
Using it, you can create your social media posts ahead of time (in-line with your aforementioned social media strategy) and schedule them to be posted at the ideal time on certain days to target your audience with ease.
A resource like this will mean you can get all your social media marketing done at once, on a set day of the week, and never worry about forgetting or running out of time again.
We mentioned engaging with your followers on your pages as an important element to success on social, but it’s also important you have your ear to the ground when it comes to conversations they’re having elsewhere.
This is called social listening and involves tracking your social presence and analysing what insights you find in a two-step process:
Step 1: Monitor social platforms for mentions of your business, products, competitors, and any keywords or phrases related to your industry.
Step 2: Analyse your findings and look for ways to action the information.
Without social listening, you could be missing out on valuable insights and opportunities for engagement.
Last but certainly not least you need to regularly monitor how your efforts on social are performing and adapt and adjust to ensure continued success.
Fine-tuning your efforts will improve the results you get from social media overall, so it’s key you don’t let your pages run stagnant.
If some of your posts are gaining a lot more engagement than others, ask yourself why - was it the time of day? The nature of the content? Data gleaned from analytics tools might be able to help you answer these questions.
Remember: social platforms are regularly changing their algorithms and T&Cs, so be sure you’re up to date with the latest to avoid a potential blunder.
For heaps more useful resources for small businesses head to our dedicated blog.