But for entrepreneurs with a tight budget and a million other things to take care of, mastering the art of social media can seem nearly impossible.
Well, fear not, says Kim Garst, a social media expert and the CEO of Boom Social, a leading consulting firm. “Social media is great because anyone can do it,” she says. “As long as you can post content that is relevant and valuable to your followers, you will be golden.”
With that in mind, here are five tips that will help small businesses nail it online.
Have a plan
“Always start with a strategy,” says Garst, who authored Will the Real You Please Stand Up, a guide to social media marketing. “Otherwise, you are just throwing ideas at the wall and hoping they stick.” She recommends defining who your ideal customer is and figuring out which social platforms they haunt. Then determine what content you’ll be posting, how often you’ll post and what tools you’ll need to execute your plan (such as photo-editing software).
Don’t always be selling
This is where many entrepreneurs go wrong. Your social media followers don’t want to be bombarded with ads. They want stories, pictures and videos that engage. “Think of it this way: how would you feel if one of your friends tried to sell you something every time they saw you?” asks Garst. She says you’re better off posting content that inspires, educates and helps people solve everyday problems. “In doing so, you will [be] top of mind to them when they need your product or service.”
Stay the course
Mastering social media can take time, says Garst, especially if you’re starting from scratch. If your follower numbers don’t jump right away, don’t fret. Keep building your trove of content and refining your strategy.
Social media is all about interacting with other people. Facebook and Twitter users don’t want to connect with a faceless brand; they want to have an open, honest conversation with a live human—you. “Let people see that there is a person on the other side of the screen that they can connect with and relate to,” says Garst.
Always try new things
When it comes to social media, there is no magic formula that works for every small business. Your company is unique and so are your customers. That’s why it’s important to keep developing new content and tweaking your social media routine. Keep the things that resonate with your followers; toss out the things that don’t. “Test, test, test!” concludes Garst.
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