Using social media to promote your small business is more than just maintaining a regular posting schedule and inviting people to like your posts—although you should do both! There are more creative ways to draw followers and prospective clients using your social networks and you don’t need to be a marketing wiz to do it. Your goal is to find a balance between self-promotion and appearing to be constantly selling something. We’ve got a few suggestions to help you do just that.
The Basics of Social Media Promotion
Lay the foundation of your social media marketing plan before you get post happy. Without a clear path to success, your pages will likely flounder and become DOA.
1) Identify Your Objective
Understanding your goals ahead of time will inform all of your decisions in the more detailed planning stages.
2) Choose Your Platform(s)
Your game plan will vary based on the social media channel you choose. For help choosing a platform, check out this post.
3) Build Your Profile Pages
The more information, the better. Fill in the “about” sections, locations, add photos, create headers and choose profile pictures, customize URL’s, etc.
4) Create a Posting Schedule
Consistent posts should be a primary objective in your social media strategy. If you allow your accounts to lay dormant for too long, you’ll hurt your brand’s image.
5) Build a Following
In the same way you ask for testimonials, don’t be shy about asking your clients to follow your pages, like and share. It wouldn’t hurt to divulge that you’re just getting into the scene and could use their support! Now that you’ve gotten the grunt work over with, it’s time to start supercharging your social media impact.
4 Effective Ways to Promote Your Business on Social Media
1. Brand Advocates and User-Generated Content (UGC)
Make the customer the focus of your content. Your followers are more likely to believe that your business truly is the bee’s knees if unpaid, regular folks are touting your services. YOTPO conducted a study which found that 55% of converted customers interacted with user-generated content. That’s a good case to get your user-generated content and brand advocate strategy up and running!
First, choose the proper social network to run your campaign. Your campaign goals along with your target audience will help determine which is the most appropriate. Instagram is best if you’re looking to incorporate images of your products in action while Facebook is great for sharing stories. Next, decide how you’re going to encourage your followers and clients to post about your business. This English watering hole runs a weekly contest for free cocktails where your tagged selfie is your entry ticket. They announce winners by reposting the chosen selfies.
This restaurant showed off their instaworthy coffee creations not by tooting their own horn but by sharing a post of someone else who did! Sharing user’s posts is a double whammy. Not only are you receiving the benefits of UGC but you’re also making that customer feel important and, well, cool! Brown*It’s good practice to ask the user prior to reposting if they mind you sharing their content.
Ask in the comments of the photo so other users can see that there are real people behind your brand and hopefully scoop up some more followers.
2. Influencer Partnerships
Seek out influencers on social media to help tell your brand’s story through their account. Users with large followings help you get in front of an audience you otherwise wouldn’t. An influencer’s followers pay attention to them because they look up to them, are into the same things or otherwise have something in common.
In other words, they trust them. Having someone at the “cool table” advertising on your behalf, in a way that feels genuine, has a greater impact than self-promotion alone. Wonderful Pistachio found their ideal partner in Yoga Girl and combined forces to promote their healthy snack. She was a natural choice since her entire online persona centers around health and an active lifestyle.
3. Video Imagery
While we’re on the subject of pistachios…Wonderful Pistachio offers a prime example of the power of videos. Their campaign #sometimesnakedisbetter is successful because of its tongue-in-cheek humor and shareable imagery.
Social media is a visual medium! Posting blocks of text is off-putting and to be honest, no one reads it. Wonderful Pistachio created multiple vignettes with a funny twist to promote their no-shell nuts.
It’s not necessary to have state of the art video equipment and actors to create your own shareable video content. Cell phones are increasingly improving upon their camera features and often times do the trick nicely. If you’re looking to go a bit fancier, research video production studios in your area. Privately owned studios offer full production, post-production and recording services including visual effects, editing services, on location shoots and all with professional grade equipment and studios.
4. Use Humor
The quickest way to your followers’ hearts is through their funny bone. People are more likely to share content and increase your brand’s reach if they think their friends will get a kick out of it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Show off your brand’s personality! Innocent Drinks, a smoothie company across the pond, posts some of the most hilarious things on Twitter that have absolutely nothing to do with their product.
Remember, it’s off-putting to constantly self-promote. It gives the impression of always having your hand out instead of trying to add value for your customer–even if that value is a much-needed chuckle on a Monday morning.
4. Instagram Stories
Instagram’s answer to Snapchat? Instagram Stories. Inspiring active engagement from users, these short videos, photos, and live feeds come together for a short 24-hour period before they disappear for good.
The limited availability encourages people to view your content before it’s gone and the need to click to view further invests the user in your cyber connection. Drive traffic to your stories by posting a cryptic message regarding a promotion or information only available in stories. Once the user clicks to view, you can further move them down the sales funnel by providing a link to a one day sale on your website or offering a coupon code.
Photo contests, hashtag contests, referral promos, giveaways, co-branded posts…there are tons of simple options to integrate into your social media mix. Look to the accounts you enjoy following and use them as inspiration when generating your own content!