How to use social media to market your small business
Luke Brynley-Jones, owner of digital marketing agency OST, talks to Direct Line for Business about using social media to help grow your business.
While most entrepreneurs will be familiar with using platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in their personal lives, it's important to understand that social media is a powerful tool for small businesses to reach a wider audience. Making them more competitive against larger businesses that may have other marketing channels available to them.
Business owner Luke Brynley-Jones and his team at digital marketing agency OST have seen social media really come of age in the last few years. Here, he gives us some of his top tips for getting to grips with using social media to market your business.
Develop interesting content
The first step in using social media for your small business is to create content that can be shared out on the channels that you'll be developing for your business.
It could be an infographic, a guide, a survey or just a simple blog post. The choice is yours.
For example, a blog can be a very versatile platform to put a variety of content out on and from that you can share on Facebook and Twitter to broaden the reach of the content that you're creating.
But whatever route you decide to go down with your content, it needs to add value to your audience. So before you create anything, take some time to research the marketplace that your business operates in to find out what your potential customers are looking for and create some unique and engaging content around the topics that you discover.
Create a content calendar
For many, social media is about staying on top of current events and making the most of trends.
Although it's important to be reactive to the day's events and people's comments, you also need to make sure that you have a regular feed of content to share with your followers. So creating a content calendar is vital.
It's important to think several months in advance when planning your content calendar. Not only will this keep you on a regular publishing schedule, but it will also help you establish an audience, build trust and encourage your followers to share your content with their friends.
Focus on one social media platform
There are loads of social media channels that you can promote your business on, with Facebook Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat being some of the more well known.
But while it might be tempting to set up a profile for your business on every available platform, this approach can lead to a lot of time being spent ensuring that each channel is up to date and performing well.
So the key is to focus on one or two channels to begin with, then once you get familiar with using them, you can expand the social media outlets that you use.
Read up on the channels that interest you - there are lots of blogs and webinars available online to help you learn and allocate time to grow that channel and make sure that you don't spend money on a channel before you really understand it.
To get social and digital to convert into sales you need to be tracking the results all the way through so you can see the path the customer has taken. If they are engaging and going on to purchase or enquire.
If you find that a particular channel isn't converting as well as you'd like it to, take a look at that channel and see if you can adapt your content or publishing schedule to improve it.
Most importantly, don't be afraid of social media. Try it out and learn what works best for you and your business.
Your competitors, even if they don't exist yet, will be using these channels so you need to as well.