Top 8 Ways to Promote Your Small Business with Social Media

Promoting a small business comes with its share of hurdles, from finding the right location to getting your company’s name out there. Savvy promotion brings visibility to your business and drives customers to your door – and there’s no better time than now to extend that promotion to social media. Try these 10 tips to build up your online presence and translate clicks into customers.

1) Pick the Right Social Media Platforms
Get to know the different types of customers that patronize your business (or who you’d like to market to, if you’re just starting out) and break them into distinct groups. Take notes about their age range, gender, habits, likely profession, key concerns that your business can address, and any other conclusions you can draw, then develop a few marketing messages specifically targeted to people in each group. Also remember that each group likely has different social media preferences – e.g. an audience that skews middle-aged probably doesn’t care about Snapchat – and take that into account as you shape messages for each audience and social media platform.

After you’ve defined your customers, develop a social media plan accordingly that incorporates daily and weekly efforts to reach each group. A business owner targeting moms in their 30s, for example, would note that their customers are generally fairly active on Pinterest, then plan to pin 3-5 items per day and write a blog post with a pinnable graphic once a week.

2) Schedule Social Media
Instead of spending time coming up with content each day, develop a week or so of posts ahead of time and use services like Hootsuite to schedule when they’ll go live. Tools like this can handle several different platforms, saving you time throughout the week and helping you keep a regular posting schedule. Don’t forget to go back in and cancel scheduled posts if something happens, like an unexpected early closing or a late shipment of something you planned to offer a discount on. Keep track of your posting plans by creating an editorial calendar for each platform (based on which ones are right for which customers, per your research in the first step) to help you keep everything straight.

3) Engage First
Getting people to pay attention comes before trying to sell them things. Even if they already like your product, people don’t like being bombarded with sales messages all the time, so aim for entertaining and useful when you create social media content. Try posting about current events – a retailer could use Earth Day to spotlight their sustainable products.

4) Social Media- it’s all about good photos
High quality, decent photos with good lighting. Photos increase engagement.

5) Inject Some Excitement
Social media is the perfect place for exclusive sales or coupons. Try creating posts where shoppers can mention a keyword at checkout for a certain percentage off or show a Facebook post at the register to receive a few dollars off. People also love to win things, so holding a drawing or another contest on a regular schedule (say, monthly) for a gift card or small item is a great way to increase engagement.

6) Cross-Promote with the Community
Look for local organizations whose audience overlaps with yours and suggest opportunities to partner on things. In the meantime, follow them on various social media platforms and repost their content when appropriate – you may find that they return the favor, boosting your profile.

7) Investigate Paid Advertising
If your audience uses platforms like Facebook or Twitter, consider investing in targeted ads to make sure your content gets served to the right people. Sponsored Facebook posts, Twitter accounts or single tweets all help with brand exposure, audience engagement and traffic to your own website.

8) Be Patient
Don’t get frustrated when you don’t immediately find yourself with a huge following. Stick to your content creation and curation plan and keep an eye on your analytics. If something truly isn’t working, try another strategy to see if that gets you any results, but make sure you try it long enough to gather adequate data and see if it’s starting to generate results.

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