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Hey, you there – small business owner, think that social media isn’t for you? That your small (but growing) service-based SME doesn’t belong on the likes of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn? We’ve got news for you, if you’re not on social media, you’re missing out. Big time. Here’s why…

– 59% of consumers use social media as a source of inspiration for purchases

– More than 1 in 3 Internet users use social networks to seek out more information about a brand or product.

– 71% of consumers who has a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend it to their friends and family.

Tip #1: First things first – Look (and sound) good

Before you post so much as a single social update, make sure your profile shines with visuals and words that jump off the page. Forgetting your imagery on point, you can take inspiration from businesses that have invested in innovative graphics (this blog from HubSpot is a good place to start).

Our top tip would be to set aside a budget for your graphics and leave this critical task to the professionals. However if you do decide to go it alone, Canva a fabulous (and free) online tool for creating sparkling graphics.

As for your words – make them concise and punchy; tell everyone who lands on your profile why you’re different (and provide proof). Which brings us to our next point…

Tip #2: Go on a review recruitment drive

90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business and 88% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Both these stats go to show the power of reviews, and as a service-based business, reviews become ever more important (after all, you and your team provide ARE your business – potential clients want to know exactly what your past customers think of you).

As part of your basic social strategy, you should be asking all your happy customers to share their thoughts with the world. Google Businesses, Facebook and LinkedIn all have a review feature (although the LinkedIn version is known as ‘recommendations’, which is exclusively for individual profiles, rather than business pages).

You can also share testimonials via other social sites, you just need to be a little bit more creative. Ideas for customer testimonials include using ‘talking head’ videos of your customers on YouTube; creating colorful graphics of short customer quotes for Instagram and Snapchat and creating customer success stories to feature on your blog.

Tip #3: Know thy platform (and its audience)

Not only do you have to understand what type of content plays well on each platform, but you also must understand what audiences prefer which network.

For most industries, Facebook will probably be an important social platform to include (there are few businesses in the world that won’t have a huge audience there, given that FB users total to some 2.32 billion). However, for the remaining networks, you may want to do a little research. Here are some key stats and facts as a solid starting point…

Audiences

• Twitter: Almost 30% of Twitter users have a degree; gender is pretty much evenly split – 47% female, 53% male

• LinkedIn: Designed for professionals, 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn)

• Facebook: 84% of this audience earn less than $30,000 per year; Millennials and Gen X are most likely to share Facebook content

• Snapchat: Biggest female/male split of all social platforms – 70% female versus 30% male – largest user group by age are 18 -24 (37%)

• Instagram: 59% of users are aged 18 – 29, and 53% of teens saying that Instagram is the best platform for learning about new products

• YouTube: the only social platform to have more male users (55% male to 45% female)

• Pinterest: 35% of users have an income of $75k+, 60% of users are female and 66% of women between 25 – 54 use Pinterest

Content types

Now we turn to the forms of content that work well on each platform (warning: DO NOT be tempted to use the exact same content on each and every social network – instead, aim to provide something unique on each)…

• Twitter: the average user spends just 2.7 minutes a day on Twitter, so your content has to be rapidly digestible – use quotes, statistics, or questions – use bold photos, polls, Gifs and videos – and include hashtags

• LinkedIn: Thought leadership articles, networking through LinkedIn Groups

• Facebook: You name it – videos, photos, images, simple text, podcasts, inspirational quotes, ‘fill-in-the-blank’ style posts – everything goes here, but experiment to see what nurtures the highest engagement

• Snapchat: this video-based network works well for ‘behind the scenes footage’, ‘meet the team’ videos, and Q and A sessions

• Instagram: it’s mostly about the imagery here – considering creating inspirational quotes, human faces, landscapes/scenery, food, animals

• YouTube: This is a busy platform and your competitors may have high production values. Do a little research to find out what they’re up to and what seems to be racking up the most views.

• Pinterest: striking imagery – infographics, photos that link to your blog (don’t forget to make sure your content is keyword optimized)

Tip #4: Create a schedule (and stick to it)

Ambitious entrepreneur, your 9-to-5 is hectic (frantic, even). To say that you’re pushed for time is an understatement. When it comes to your social strategy, that’s a problem (for many reasons). Here are just three…

1. Inevitably when something critical pops up, the first thing to be delayed or deleted from the schedule are your social media efforts

2. Customers EXPECT you to be reactive on social media (80% expect a response to their DM within 24 hours)

3. Social media only works for the long haul if you fully commit to regular updates and content creation. It takes time.

As a small business owner, being short on time is an occupational hazard. At Sole Source Digital, we get it. Our services were built for busy small businesses just like yours. We are creative, yet strategic. We are the team entrusted by small business owners to make their big dreams, bigger. But we need to be honest. We do things differently, we offer a FREE (no strings) social media review – so you can see what we can do, without the risk.

*No catch – but we can provide a tailored package if you need.

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