8 social media tips for small businesses to stay competitive in 2020
Your competitors and customers (actual and potential) are everywhere on social media. And that sounds about right, since social media are the most effective way to communicate with your audience today. They can help increase your brand awareness and traffic, as well as conversion rates. Do you want to invest in a marketing strategy in 2020? Here's where to start with our 8 social media tips for small businesses.
Why social media?
As you probably know, social media have taken over the planet and continue to grow by acquiring new users. 3.2 billion people around the world use social networks, or 42% of the world's population (Emarsys, 2019). Facebook is the most widely used social network today, with 2.32 billion monthly active users (i.e. users who logged in at least once during the past 30 days). 65% of the French population (Hootsuite, 2019) and 69% of adults in the United States (Pew Research Center, 2019) use Facebook every month. Based on these numbers, it seems logical for a company to want to invest time and budget in a social media strategy.
Where to start?
1. Choose your network(s)
There are many social networks out there today: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. To deliver the right content on the right network, you need to start by determining your objective. Do you want to help, entertain, inform your potential customers to facilitate their purchasing decision or to polish your brand image?
• Facebook is particularly suitable if you want to share a diverse type of engaging content with your audience. Whether it’s company news, your latest promo or industry-related content. You can use the many features of this network to build a relationship with your customers. Post photos, videos, comments, surveys, contests, etc. You can also invest in paid advertising for better visibility.
• YouTube is great if you want to provide tutorials or educational content to your subscribers in a visual way. Perfect example, Boots UK helps their customers and followers by posting makeup and skincare tutorials online. Walmart posts easy recipe videos, product testimonials, tutorials for new products, etc.
• Instagram is great for engaging visual content. Whether your business is in the sports, travel, fashion or cosmetics industry, this network will allow you to convey an even stronger brand image if you know how to manipulate filters and story features. Swedish giant Ikea uses this network to share with their subscribers furnishing ideas for their home, storage ideas or contests in their stories.
• Twitter. For instant communication, limited to 280 characters. Because of their conciseness, your tweets have to be super engaging. Twittos (Twitter users) respond very quickly, often within an hour. You can maintain a privileged relationship with your subscribers by reacting to comments and using the retweet function to highlight your subscribers' tweets whenever they mention your company. Ideal for sharing information about your business or for conducting surveys.
• LinkedIn is a good platform if you want to share advice and position yourself as an expert in your field. Do not hesitate to participate in groups related to your industry in order to develop your influence and enrich your address book. Encourage your employees to follow the company’s page and react/share its content to extend its reach to their network. For more impact, you can also use a cross-platform social media strategy and share YouTube videos via Linkedin. Don't spread yourself too thin! We recommend that you focus most of your efforts on the network where your subscribers spend the most time.
2. Offer quality content
Quality content is essential. Engaging content should be relevant to your audience and answer their problems and challenges, while also addressing your brand’s areas of expertise. As a result, it will help to retain existing subscribers and bring new ones.
Based on your industry and on what is relevant for your business, choose which kind of content you want to prioritize. If you evolve in the tech industry, you might want to provide tips and resources to users via video tutorials on Youtube or regular blog updates. While if you work in the e-commerce industry, pictures, and even maybe user generated content (UGC) may be more relevant, like Asos has been doing with their #AsSeenOnMe hashtag.
There are several possible strategies for producing quality content. If you can't afford to hire a community manager, consider freelancers and agencies. Are you in charge of your company's marketing strategy? Don’t hesitate to chat with your Sales and Customer support colleagues. They know what to focus on and will tell you what to feature in your social media communication.
3. Plan and automate your publications
Keep in mind that regularity is the key. Plan your publications for the coming month to make sure you will post regularly, that's what your subscribers are looking for. Feel free to use a tool to centralize and manage your different accounts and automatically schedule your posts. For example, Hootsuite allows you to manage several profiles and to have access to your key performance indicators, thus measuring the impact of your publications. This gives you a clear idea of what you need to do to improve and extend your influence on networks.
Interacting with your subscribers is essential. Invest time in responding to comments and re-post your subscribers' content to build your community. Algorithms reward publications with most interactions (likes, comments, retweets, shares, etc.). Maintaining a relationship with your subscribers will also help you to be attentive to reactions, in other words, to gain an understanding of which kinds of content work and which don’t. Both for you and for your competitors.
If your business is a travel agency, here's what you can do to engage your subscribers. Instead of just posting a photo to promote one of your organised trips, you can share a photo with a question such as "How old were you when you took your first trip abroad? " Your readers will feel more involved if you speak to them directly.
5. Invest in sponsored advertising
It can be worth investing a little money in paid advertising in order to gain visibility. This can allow you to increase your traffic and generate more sales, whether it’s with already existing customers or potential new ones. You can start by investing a small amount and then analyse the results of your campaign to measure its impact. Facebook Insights, for example, provides detailed statistics on your posts and on the engagement they have generated. This will help you understand what type of content is most successful with which type of audience, which time slot is best for posting, etc.
6. Create a community
A lot of brands are aiming at creating a sense of belonging on their social media, using hashtags such as #community. Followers, and even employees, can interact with each other and thus show brand authenticity. A successful example of this strategy is Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign, which managed to drive thousands of uploads of User Generated Content photos of fans in their favorite CK underwear (807k publications on Instagram). Same goes for Nike, who have created a brand-associated lifestyle with their hashtag #justdoit (18.5M publications on Instagram). This allows users to share tips and encourage each other on their journey to being fit.
7. Have consistent brand voice and brand assets
You should show your brand voice and personality by always addressing your community in a consistent way. For example, don’t write using the “I” on one channel, and the “we” on another. Always interact with your followers in the same tone, giving (of course!) the same information in your replies. Use a consistent look and feel on all platforms so that your brand has one identity that’s easily recognizable. One easy way to do that is to use tools like Canva (although many other cool ones exist) to design your brand images. Look at organizations like The Female Hustlers, who boasts 2.8M followers on Instagram: they use very consistent branding, publishing quotes on only 3 different types of background. And don’t hesitate to publish the same content on different channels to make sure that all your subscribers are aware of your latest campaign.
8. Work with niche influencers
Google announced that the number of searches for the term “influencer marketing” increased by more than 1500 percent in three years. Working with social media influencers will give you the opportunity to engage with the communities of these influencers and expand your reach. Followers trust their favorite influencers because they see them as more authentic, less spammy. By working closely with niche influencers, you will be able to develop an image that’s more true to your brand’s voice. Be aware that influencers who are specialised in a given field usually have a smaller community, but benefit from a higher engagement rate.
Define the goals of your campaign, your target audience and your budget to determine which niche influencer might be the best for you.
Did you know that we are very active on social media? Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get all the latest info about our promos and products. Also don’t hesitate to have a look at our other blog posts for more tips, tricks and latest news.