Making a splash on social media as a small business

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Sometimes running a small business can feel like being a little fish in a very, very big pond. This can be especially true when speaking in terms of social media. Facebook alone reports that there are roughly 80 million small businesses on their platform.  In this digital age we live in, we are more connected to each other than ever. This also means that we are more inclined to direct our attention to various social media platforms. It can be daunting for a small business to make the leap into the online world of sites such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter when there are so many other businesses already existing with an established online audience. 

The good news is that there are ways in which you can make a splash with your social media content as a small business. As a small business owner, you essentially have more freedom to direct your ship in terms of content and branding and can, therefore, build your audience accordingly.  Here are four ways in which you can stand out using social media as a small business owner.

Crowdsource Content

Dogs and cute kids are infinitely more appealing than boring, corporate jargon, right? So why not enlist the help of your followers to market some of your products or services?  Crowdsourcing content not only takes some pressure off of you to create posts, it allows customers to have a hand in growing your business. Have your audience send in pictures of themselves, their kids, or their pets with your product and showcase them on your feed. This has the potential to turn into a series in which you highlight a customer once a month or perhaps you can even collect content in the form of a contest.

Contests or giveaways are great tools to boost engagement.  One suggestion is to hold a contest for best pet photo. Instruct your followers with furry friends to take a snapshot of their pet with your product and whoever wins receives a free shirt or a sample product.  The formalities are completely up to you! Another idea is to create a hashtag to go along with your campaign. This lets users share their photos on their personal platforms which can in turn generate more eyes on you and your business!

Do Research

It is important that you research your competitors in order to see what you’re working with and perhaps get some inspiration.  Seeing how others in your field are utilizing social media can guide you as you begin your own journey. Maybe a lot of your competitors are focusing on posting educational content as opposed to more entertaining posts. Depending on the level of engagement on their posts and overall success you can choose to follow suit or go against the grain and take a more lighthearted approach. It is vital, however, that you do not use this research to copy or plagiarize other posts without permission.

Taking the time to do some research is also where you’ll need to start to focus on who you are as a small business. Think about your business’s goals, brand, and values.  These principles will be the bones of your social media presence. Understanding your business will allow you to structure your posts so that there is a clear theme and purpose. Without this framework you run the risk of having a cluttered feed with no rhyme or reason which can be off-putting to your audience and potential customers.

Another thing to think about is whether or not you have the time and dedication for  running a social media account. Having an effective social media presence can certainly be a very time-consuming undertaking and it’s important that you are aware of this before jumping headfirst into starting your profile. In other words, make sure that you have the time and resources to craft valuable content.

Engage Your Community

This refers to both your online and your physical community.  To engage your community, make sure to communicate often and openly with your audience. Try to always reach out to them and respond when they comment on a post or send you a message. Don’t be afraid of being proactive in cultivating these relationships as this can lead to referrals and word- of-mouth recommendations that can really help boost your business.  As a small business you will most likely rely heavily on those treasured secondhand reviews that have the potential to bring more customers in.  

Remember to also tag your posts with your physical location when applicable.  Being active in your local community can also form valuable relationships and let others know that your business exists in their locale, which can then generate customers and make an overall positive impact on the perception of your company.  Having a favorable relationship with those in your community is a wonderful way to get your business more buzz and attention but they need to know you exist! That’s where your social media comes into play. Tagging, hashtags, and location check-ins are great ways to show your community that you’re open and available for business.

Showcase Business Personality 

It might be odd to think about your business having its own personality but it’s true! As mentioned earlier, your business is guided by a certain set of values and principles that help to shape what it is and what it stands for. Therefore, don’t shy away from showcasing your company!  Don’t be fearful of being unique or different as long as you’re being authentic.  

Another great way to highlight your business personality is to feature your employees.  You’re a small business but your employees are larger than life, right? Take a moment to appreciate them on your social media by dedicating posts to them and introducing them to your audience. Encourage them to join social media so that they can also engage with customers.  The key here is to really stimulate interaction on all levels so that there are no questions when it comes to what your company stands for.  

Think about also posting what the company means to you. This is your company, after all, and it’s important that others know why you cherish your business and your customers. Tell your followers what got you into the business, why you enjoy what you do, how you can help them, etc. This is all about being transparent and open with your audience while also showing them how you are special. Too often small businesses are overlooked in favor of larger, more well-known companies. Now is your time to really lay out what your business does and why customers should buy from you.  

Conclusion

There are many challenges that come with running a small business.  It can often seem to be an uphill battle in which you are constantly at war with more established corporations.  Don’t let this get you down! You are in control of your company and you have the ability to make an impact with your social media presence.  Use these platforms to remind your followers that you’re human and worthy of their time and attention.  

No matter how you structure your social media it is key that you remember to establish and maintain an open flow of communication with your audience. As a small business, you can use all the help you can get whether it be through crowdsourced content and photos, hashtags to get your posts seen, community engagement and support, or a group of dedicated employees. Use your social media to show appreciation while also marketing your goods and services to bring in more customers. If you follow these tips the possibilities for your success will be endless!

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