Ten Tips for Small Business Social Media
On the public-facing side, As Told By: OKC has grown our social media following and presence over the last two years. On the private-facing side we have executed and consulted on social media for small businesses in OKC. Along the way we have picked up a few social media tips and tricks that we think will help you curate the relationship between your your business and your customers. We like sharing so here are ten things to be aware of if you're a small business in OKC doing your own social media.
1. Know who your influencers are.
There are people in OKC who are active on social media (besides our moms) that other people pay attention to. A well written tweet can generate 2,500 impressions in a short amount of time and that tweet might be about how great your business is. The stars of social media in OKC are out there every day eating your food, drinking your drinks and supporting or not supporting your local business. Be aware of who they are, make sure you follow them and look to engage with them periodically.
2. Use the right tool for the job.
Know which social media is the right channel for the message. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are different pieces of your whole story and each tool has different strengths. Don't use them all the same way and stop redirecting content from one to the other. If it’s information that needs to go out right now, stick with Twitter and Instagram Stories. Facebook is great for content that will stay on Facebook and will probably be your largest audience. Use Instagram to reinforce your brand, and please stop using stock photos and clip art!
3. Utilize giveaways.
While you can pay for social media advertising (and should), don’t underestimate the power of a giveaway. A retweet-to-win or tag-a-friend contest for a gift card to your business can be very effective. Don’t make it too complicated and make sure you have a goal in mind (i.e. new followers, engagement).
4. Use video.
Facebook is begging you to use Live Video right now so that they can win their battle with YouTube. We’ll have a separate article for best practices for Facebook Live Video, but for now just know that Facebook will help push that Live Video out to your audience. If you're using regular video on Facebook, make sure to upload it to Facebook directly. If you’re linking to Vimeo or YouTube, your video won’t reach as many people. If your video relies on words, make sure to add in the captions since the majority of your audience will be watching on their phones while they're at work!
5. Ask permission.
If you want to post a photo that someone else took, ask their permission. We're thrilled when a local business likes our photo well enough to use it, but the moment is soured when they use it without permission. Asking permission gives you another layer of engagement and helps strengthen the relationship between your business and your audience (which is the whole point of social media).
6. Facebook is a game.
Organic content on Facebook will only reach a tiny fraction of your followers, so you have to game it. There are a lot of strategies to do this, but the easiest is to set aside a few bucks each month to promote your posts. Also be mindful of how often you post; once a day is probably more than enough if you have a small following. We’ll have more about Facebook tricks in The Cheat Sheet, but for now, experiment with putting $5 behind a Facebook post that is doing well. Be frugal and don't spend your money on Twitter and Instagram just yet.
7. Stay on it.
Engage. All the time. Don’t set it and forget it. If you were a server, you wouldn’t forget to check on your tables, so don’t forget to check on your feed either. Ignoring your social media can turn a hot lead into a cold lead very quickly and if a customer feels ignored it can do even more damage.
8. Be mindful of the unspoken rules.
Social media is a minefield of unspoken rules. Just because you saw someone else do it doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea (like hashtags on Facebook). This is the world of business social media, not personal social media so the unspoken rules are more important. We’ll be compiling a list of current unspoken social media rules in an upcoming Cheat Sheet, #9 is an example.
9. Timing is everything.
Be mindful of when your audience is online and post at times when they’re most likely going to see your content. It’s also best practice to avoid posting during big events or times of crisis. If the entire Twitterverse is posting about a mass shooting and then you post about 25% off the spring collection it looks tone deaf and could reflect poorly on your business.
10. Pay someone to do it.
It’s completely normal for businesses today to pay someone to do their social media and it makes sense because it’s demanding and expensive to ignore negative feedback. Most businesses are hiring someone (or a firm) to do their social media and the going rate is $25/hour to $50k a year. For many small businesses, this is a worthwhile expense just like hiring a photographer or web designer would be.
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