Do you know why your business needs social media? Because it’s a powerful tool for cultivating and retaining your customer base, driving sales, and building your brand.
But you should also know that social media changes all the time. There are more options and opportunities for your business than ever – which can feel like more work for you than ever. Read on for 5 efficient and useful habits you need to cultivate to get the best ROI from the time and resources you spend on social media.
1. Focus your time and resources on 3 platforms – max
Choose your main social media platforms by asking yourself two questions: What am I (or what is my business) good at? And secondly, where are my customers?
The first should be easy. If you can’t afford to produce high-quality videos, YouTube is not for you; if you have a visually stunning product, you’re likely suited to Pinterest and/or Instagram (see tip #3 for more on these). And if the answer isn’t immediately obvious, the performance of any existing social media channels you already have may provide a clue.
To find out what platform your target customers are using requires a little more research. The basic demographics of each social media network are readily available online. Facebook is popular with seniors; Pinterest users are predominantly women, and so on – but you can also search potential social media channels to find out if users are talking about keywords relevant to your brand. You can even learn more about the social media habits of your existing customers by way of an email survey – or just add a question to your usual telephone or in-person script.
It might seem counterintuitive to limit your business’s range of social media output deliberately. But every social media platform demands content that is not only high quality and consistently produced but is custom fit for the platform in question. Given the amount of time (and therefore money) that social media requires, narrowing your focus to what you know you can do well and where you know your customers are, is the best way to maximize your ROI when it comes to social media.
2. Be aware that Twitter is not the best fit for small business
When following tip #1 and deciding which social media platforms to focus on Twitter may jump out as a well known and obvious choice. While it is a popular platform, as a small business you may find your that focus is better invested elsewhere. Unless you’re a large national or international company, it’s unlikely to be worth it.
The nature of Twitter means you need to put in a lot of effort to get results – put simply, Twitter moves fast, so you need to produce a LOT of eye-catching content to keep up and stand out.
It’s tempting to think your business is up to the task, but even if that’s the case, you may not find the results worth the work: Twitter users tend to engage online with brands they already use. So, while it can be great for enhancing your brand and your relationships with current customers – Twitter is not the most cost-effective way to generate new leads.
3. Put examples of your work on Pinterest and/or Instagram
You should strongly consider including one of these visually-led platforms in your handpicked social media selection. If your business creates beautiful products – whether that’s food, fashion or stationary – then invest in some quality photography to show it off. Even if you don’t boast a particularly visual product or even a tangible ‘product’ at all – think outside the box. Could you promote your personal trainer business with some pinnable infographics or your music app with Instagram-worthy illustrations?
Make the most of these platforms by optimizing your content; including video as well as pictures, and doing some research on top brands to learn how they make Pinterest and Instagram their own.
Visual platforms are very popular. Having a focus on creating captivating images will provide you with winning content for all your social media channels. Pinterest, in particular, is big money. It has the highest revenue per click of any social network and is a top driver of traffic to websites and Shopify stores.
4. Facebook advertising
Facebook has a larger amount of usable data on its users. Their demographics, location, interests, online activity and much more – than any other social network. For a fee, those insights can be yours and more importantly, you can use it to reach your potential customers with targeted, innovative, measurable and highly effective advertising.
If there’s one network we can almost guarantee your current and prospective customers use, it’s Facebook. Although the Facebook audience continues to grow, the organic reach of non-paid-for posts is increasingly limited. If you’re not paying for Facebook ads, you’re missing out on a huge audience.
5. Don’t be afraid to share relevant content from other sources
Share, pin and repost content from your followers – including customers and other businesses who share your values or vision. Encourage your customers to create shareable content via competitions, challenges, and giveaways.
Along with replying and commenting on posts, this consistent interaction is all part of growing a community within social media where your business can flourish.
Getting social media right can seem baffling, but by identifying the most impactful channels and methods on which to focus your time and energy, and doing so consistently, you can make every second and cent you spend on social media worthwhile for your business.