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Social Media Presence For Small Businesses: The Ultimate Guide

First, let me answer the question, “What is a social media presence?

It’s definitely not about creating accounts on all social platforms and being there just for the sake of adding those social media links to the footer of your website. Yup, I have seen most small businesses doing that.

Building a social media presence is all about building an audience, engaging with them, and showing them your products (or services), and most importantly providing value and showing up on social media consistently.

And yes, it costs time, effort and money.

While getting leads and increasing brand awareness are some of the benefits that you’ll enjoy for maintaining a good social media presence, there is a reason why marketers and businesses are so much into the social media game.

Here is the punch line – The stronger the social media presence, the more cost-effective your marketing strategy becomes in the long run.

Is it worth spending money and time in building a good social media presence? Will it have any effect on my business? If you are a marketer or a business owner and if still have these thoughts in your mind, I would say, delete them right now.

Because whether you spend your time or not in creating a strong social media presence, people spend an average of 3 hours on social media. And now you might be thinking how many of those can be your customers.

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Almost 50% of the entire world’s population is on social media. So a certain number of your ideal customers are already on social platforms.

But the thing is most businesses especially small businesses focus too much on selling on social media rather than building a community and an audience.

You won’t do this. At least not after reading this article.

Focusing too much on selling might bring a good number of sales, but not for the long term.

In this article, I’ll walk you through from choosing the right social media to building a strong social media presence for your business.

The Need For Social Media Presence

Do you know that 48% of small businesses are already on social media?

Richard Branson once said, “if your business doesn’t have a social media presence, your company is at a competitive disadvantage”.

Some Data-backed Reasons To Convince You

66% of marketers that spend at least 6 hours on social per week have seen more leads.

57% of consumers say social media influences their shopping habits.

82% of customers research before they come into the store to buy (Source: Forbes). And how do they research? People check your business’s online presence, which means your website and social media presence.

Social Media connects businesses with customers. Actually, it revolutionized the way businesses are connecting with their customers. It wasn’t that easy for business owners to find and connect their customers previously.

All you need to do now is to use it in the right way to grab the customers.

Remember that social media marketing is the most affordable marketing that you can do for your business. Period.

3 Main Reasons Why Your Business Should Have A Social Media Presence

1. Awareness

Even if your business is all about awesome and affordable products and services, no one will buy from you, at least not until they know what your business is all about.

The more active presence you show on social media, the more people will come to know about your brand.

Social Media has the capability to showcase your brand or business to your ideal audience. According to Buffer, brand awareness is the top reason marketers use social media.

2. Driving Sales

All the effort that you put on your business is to sell more and generate more revenue, which is the end goal for any business. Social Media can help you with that.

Do you know that 71% of consumers buy a product based on social media referrals?

Companies with consistent social selling processes are 40% more likely to hit revenue goals than non-social sellers.

3. Trust

A good social media presence helps in building trust and a good connection between your business and your potential customers.

People trust your business for it is being present on social media. People trust you for being online, producing valuable content on social media, and solving their problems with your content.

Social Media helps in developing a loyal community and it is essential for the long term success of your business.

As per the research done by PWC, location and trust are the top two factors that influence consumers to a particular retailer.

If you ask me why building trust is so important, I would say it’s all for word of mouth.

If I recommend a service that I used to a friend of mine, there is more probability that he/she is gonna buy. Why? People trust people, not companies.

Now check these two stats:

28% of millennials say they won’t try a product if their friends don’t approve of it.

71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.

Building A Social Media Presence

Small businesses can’t afford to lose in this game multiple times. So let’s see how you can up the social media game by spending less money and time. You have to keep in mind that it is a long term strategy and it ain’t an overnight success thing.

Here are 9 essential steps to build a strong social media presence.

steps to build a Social Media Presence

1. Choosing The Right Social Media Platform

Social Media is free. It’s a free platform, but social media management isn’t. Like I said before, it costs you time, effort, and money.

Remember that running a business and spending time on all social media platforms at the same time is almost impossible.

So, the smart way to invest your time and effort is by not being active on all social media platforms. Yes, you heard it right and that’s true.

Do you know? 85% of business owners are not sure what social media tools to use

The 3 Step Process

Not all social media platforms are built on the same purpose. Not all of your customers are active on all platforms. Well, they might be, but you need to find where the majority of your audience is active.

To get the most out of social media, you need to choose a platform where your target audience is already there.

If you try to reach everywhere, you will not get results from anywhere. Yes, you can be on every social media platform, if that’s what you are thinking.

I would say, be omnipresent (be on all platforms), but focus only on the right ones or a single perfect platform. In that way, you can decide the content strategy for your focus platform and then you can repurpose content and push that to all other platforms.

Ok, but how do I find the right social platform that matches my business goals?

Following this 3 step process will help you in narrowing your choice.

1. Knowing The Who And Why

Who is your target audience?

Figuring out your ideal customers can be easy for you if you understand the concept of a buyer persona.

A buyer persona is a way of describing your target audience based on research (demographics, age, gender, etc). Hubspot had published an article on building a buyer persona which might help you to create your own.

The buyer persona will help you know what you are going after. It is all about who can be your ideal customer. It plays a crucial role in customer acquisition and also helps you in deciding the market strategy.

Why are you using social media?

Is it to interact with your customers? To build authority with your content? To generate leads?

2. Understanding The Purposes Of Social Media Platforms

Every social platform has its own purpose. If you are planning to share visual content, Instagram and Pinterest are best. For networking and for customer service Facebook and Twitter are the best. For B2B clients and collaborations, Linkedin is the best and the list goes on.

This infographic can help you in understanding the purposes of social media platforms. Knowing the demographics of each platform is a must before moving on to the next step.

social media demographics
Infographic Credits: angiegensler.com

3. Finding Your Audience

Now that you know what audience to target, and the different social media platforms that exist based on purposes, you need to find out which platforms they stay active.

Check the user stats of the social media platforms in the above infographic and choose a platform that aligns with your buyer persona.

I would recommend checking where your competitors are most active and outperform them in that platform with content that is better than your competitors’.

Pro Tip: If you are starting out, you can try multiple platforms and see in which platform you get the most response.

But if you had to choose one social platform without checking the demographics, data, and all… I would say, “Instagram”.

A simple venn diagram for you to sum it up:

Choose the right social platform

2. Optimizing Social Media Profiles

Securing the same username for all social media profiles makes it easy for people to remember. Handle names should be readable and don’t use any kind of special characters or numbers.

Fill out all profile fields in all social media profiles and try to write a different bio on different platforms, aiming for the same context. Your bio should clearly state the purpose of your presence on social media.

To me, a precise and clear description of what you do and how you are gonna help me is an ideal business description. Keep the bio short.

Make sure that you are using the right sizes of profile pics and cover pics and here is a complete cheat sheet for social media designs that might help you.

Use a URL shortener Or UTM parameters to track the links in the social media bios.

Tip: Cross-promote your social profiles. What does that mean? Tell your Twitter followers to follow you on Instagram and tell your Linkedin followers to follow you on Facebook and etc… In that way, you grow an overall good social following.

3. Set Goals

How do you define your social media success? Is it brand awareness? or generating leads? or selling products? Well to achieve that success, you need to set goals for it and you need to define goals in the very first place.

Let’s say you have put a cute child photo on Instagram and you have got tons of likes. But what if that photo has nothing to do with your business.

That’s the reason why setting goals are so important. Settings goals before starting a social media campaign will make sure that you are going in the right direction.

You need to know which KPI’s you need to track for the goal that you want to achieve. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators and you can learn more about them here.

I highly recommend following the smart framework to set your goals. Well, I’m talking about the S.M.A.R.T framework, which stands for Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

Let’s see an example to understand this framework.

Brand Awareness Goal

I want to increase my brand awareness using Instagram in the next 2 months.

Specific

I want to boost my Instagram traffic and I want to reach more audiences. So, I need to increase my weekly publishing frequency from 7 posts to 14 posts and I will try to replicate the posts that performed well previously.

“I will double my posting frequency”

Measurable

Brand Awareness is measured by the number of followers, shares, mentions, posts reach, impressions, and the likes you get on your posts and stories.

“I want to increase my posts reach by 35%”

The metric I am gonna track here is impressions, which can be tracked via Instagram Analytics.

Attainable

My posts reach grew by 15% in the last month when I increased my post frequency from 3 posts to 7 posts per week. So, it’s attainable.

Relevant

By increasing the post frequency, I want to reach to more people, so that it can help me increase my brand awareness. I think my goal is relevant.

Time Based

In 2 months.

4. Content Strategy – What to post?

You can’t just post some random content and assume that your content is gonna survive in this big ocean of content.

You need to know what works well with your audience and a good analysis of the content that you have posted (if any) in the past will help you understand what your audience likes the most.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the content! Try new content types and formats and see what’s working well for you.

I have put out a list of 20 content ideas that I think every business should focus on.

5. Content Calendar

Social media marketing takes time. But is it worth it? Absolutely yes. But is there any way I can save time without paying for automation tools and 3rd party social management tools? Yes. How?

Planning ahead.

You need to plan ahead, maybe a week or month before your post something. Why? It saves you a lot of time and creating content just before posting will make you compromise on quality sometimes.

Planning well will help to maintain your consistency in posting and algorithms tend to reward accounts that post consistently.

Let me tell you how I do it. I plan out for the whole week’s content in google sheet and then create tasks (cards) in Trello for each individual social media post.

You can add creative copy, post copy, hashtags, and more details in each card that you have created. Add due dates for all the cards and Trello will alert you before if you have to post anything that day. If you are working with a designer, you can give your Trello board access to him, so that he can work with the content that you have added.

If you are too busy to post for a time that you want it to be published on social media accounts, you can use automation tools.

6. Design

Design plays a crucial role in social media marketing and is also one of the most undervalued things in marketing.

Look at the stats. Content with visually appealing images or design has always done well on social media platforms.

I believe in “content is king” but to really make it look like a king, the content needs to be designed well. Even if you are running paid ads, to achieve a decent ROI, users have to click the ad, and design plays a key role in CTR.

So, what kind of design sells? As a business owner, you should know what to expect from a designer. Well, let’s see what makes a design look good because good design sells.

  1. Conveying the message with nice (or brand) colors, images, and typography.
  2. Clean and clear text. The less, the better. And the content you write should be focused on customer benefits.
  3. Platform focused design is very important as different platforms have different sizes. Using a social media resize tool can help.

If you need help with designing part, just contact me.

Ok, enough of self promotion! Back to the blog post!

7. Engagement

“Social Media is not only more cost-efficient than advertising, but it also offers great opportunities for innovative engagement with your customers.” – another quote by Richard Branson.

Long gone are the days, when people used to post random stuff and still used to get the most engagement. It is almost impossible to get that kind of engagement in 2020.

The only way to generate tons of engagement is to provide a lot of value with content. In social media, you need to compete with your competitors in providing more value, not in generating more products or services.

The slow decline of organic reach on social media platforms every year, especially in a big platform like Facebook is making it difficult for content creators to survive the organic reach. But engagement can save you from this problem.

Algorithms push content that gets more engagement and makes it easy to find for more people. You should reply to every comment that you get for your posts. Why? Social algorithms value a comment more than a like or share.

If you want to deep dive into social media algorithms, Social Media Today posts all the algorithm updates here.

Engagement is calculated by the number of likes, comments, and shares you get for your posts. Comments are powerful in deciding a post’s engagement.

Try to create content that gets more comments. Asking questions, posting about the latest trends in your niche, posting solutions to the problems, etc..

Adding a call to action in your post can help you get engagement. I use “Was this helpful?” in the last slide of every Instagram carousel I post.

Important: Stay consistent with the voice of your brand. Every post you publish, you conversation engage and every comment you post should reflect your brand voice.

8. Commitment And Consistency

“Consistency is key on social media”. I bet you might have heard it 1000 times, but no matter what, it’s true. Most businesses fail to do this. It might be due to lack of content, time, or whatever the reasons might me.

It’s not about the numbers. It’s about being consistent. Social Media algorithms tend to reward accounts that post consistently. It will help you reach more audience organically.

The social media posting frequency is different for different platforms and there is no such thing as an ideal frequency.

But here some numbers that can help you give a basic idea:

social media posting frequency

Now set your own frequency based on this. You’ll be consistent only when you set a frequency and when you plan ahead.

9. Social Media Audit

You need to know what’s working and what’s not? That’s a social media audit. It is a process of reviewing your social media presence.

There are templates available online which are basically google sheets with your data filling every month to analyze your social media growth.

Every social media platform has an analytics panel that can give you enough data for you to understand what’s working and what’s not. Try to replicate content that is getting more engagement.

Tip: Leveraging social media for business is all about posting content that your audience likes, not the content that you want to post.

And you should definitelt track these two social metrics:

Content performance

It is one of the main metrics that you should be tracking while performing a social media audit, keeping in mind with engagement as the top factor. It helps in optimizing content for a good social engagement.

So it is basically tracking the likes, comments and shares you are getting.

Social Growth

How fast are you growing? Use Social Blade to track of how many followers you gained in the last 30 days.

Final Takeaway

So, this is what it takes to build a strong social media presence.

Social media when used in the right way, can be a beast in boosting your company’s growth.

The secret to social media success lies in creating and sharing quality content consistently in a platform where the majority of your target audience is present.

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