Social media is already part of the life of most Irish people’s lives. The Irish are heavy users of social media and the internet in general. According to a Neworld Associates Report from 2018, Irish adults look at their mobile phone 57 times per day. That’s in comparison to a European average of 41 per day. Regarding social media accounts, 65% have Facebook, 27% have Linkedin, 32% have Instagram, 29% have Twitter (Reuters, 2017). That’s why social networking is such a powerful communication tool for small business entrepreneurs. There is a good chance to find your clients through at least one of them.
If you don’t know where to start or want to improve on what you already have, follow these 10 tips for social networking.
1. Define the target persona
Determining the characteristics of your target audience is a key requirement. You need to know information such as age, gender, location and average income. This is the minimum, and if you have already made your business plan, you will already have this data. However, the target persona has a higher level of detail.
The difference between the target audience and the target persona is that the former contains broader characteristics while the latter characterizes actual buyers.
The persona will be created from real people and will inform the strategic decisions for reaching them, and others like them, through social media. It is one of the best ways to accomplish successful actions. You can create a person by doing a survey directly with your customers, seeking to know what their tastes, preferences, hobbies and pains that they have.
Let’s see an example of a target persona:
Sinead, 23 years old, college student, works in an accounting office and her income is just minimum wage. She lives with her flatmates in Wicklow. Her favorite hobby is going out to dance and drinking beer in the pubs of the town. She likes to always be well dressed and fashionable. As she has to pay for college, she doesn’t buy expensive products.
This makes it much easier to get things right and to know exactly what your customers want.
2. Know the social media, how they work and who are their audiences
When we talk about social media most people immediately think of Facebook, and it’s no wonder, because Facebook is the most famous social network exists.
However, there are other social media that can be explored. Instagram has a very strong level of engagement. Recently Instagram removed the visualization of likes, but you can still get engagement, interaction and relationship with your customers by private messages and stories.
LinkedIn is the largest social network focused on the job market. It is ideal for promoting, attracting and interacting with users, promoting the brand and even recruiting employees. To help small businesses, LinkedIn has launched a series of guides.
Twitter is the social network known for its limited number of characters: 280. Twitter users are connected in technology, science and cinema.
YouTube is a great social network for gaining popularity through videos. Be careful only with the picture and sound quality. I’m not saying you need a camera and a professional microphone. None at all! But it’s important for viewers to be able to hear you clearly and for the image to have a cool quality without blur, for example.
Pinterest is a social network where people seek and provide ideas on a wide range of subjects: fashion, wellness, health, home décor, style, inspirational phrases, crafts and much more as you can imagine.
Finally, Snapchat is the youngest social network around. Lately, it’s been losing strength to Instagram, because its features are very similar, but if your client is there, go along with it.
3. Choose quality over quantity
Not all social media will be right for your business. For two reasons: firstly, because the reality for most small business entrepreneurs is that you will have to manage these media yourselves; secondly, if you understand the purpose of each social media and create personas, you should know which social media your customers and potential clients are using. Focus only on those media your clients are using and share good content.
Let’s see how companies can be present on social media?
• If you are an artisan, have a clothing or costume jewelry business, Pinterest and Instagram are good social media to act on.
• If your business is IT or a start-up, Twitter can be a good network to have a presence on.
• If you are a honey producer, why not make videos with honey recipes and put them on YouTube?
• If your company serves other companies, focus on Linkedin.
• If you have a cafe near a college or school and realize that your customers are using Snapchat, you already have the answer to where your business should be.
Go where your audience are and deliver value. You will be rewarded for it.
4. Plan your posts
Just like everything else in life, for social media, you will also need planning.
Set goals in social media. Use the S.M.A.R.T goals framework-specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based goals. For example, “I will increase the number of fans on my company’s Facebook page from 700 to 1,000 within the next three months.”
Create a calendar. Think about commemorative dates, sales season, and other content that is worth sharing.
5. Relevant Content
Put yourself in the place of the customer, the persona you created, and think what they want to know about your business. If you have a clothing store, why not give tips on how to match colours and what are the latest trends? This is a good opportunity to showcase your products.
Always pay attention to what your customers want. It’s not because you like guava more than chocolate that your customers think so too. Sometimes some content that you don’t care about might please your customers.
Don’t forget to always update your social media with information such as phone, address, days and hours of service. Imagine if your customers want to know if your store will be open on holiday and not find any information? Stay tuned!
A picture is worth a thousand words. So cliché and so true! GIFs, memes, photos, pictures, graphics, and videos have much more engagement than text. According to Hubspot, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
7. Create Relationship
It is not enough to put your posts on media and not interact with web surfers. This creates a sloppy impression. Answer and like comments, make a filter to delete any disrespectful comments.
More than 80% of customers expect a company to respond within 24 hours. So, when it’s time to respond, show off your company’s experience and don’t hesitate to use a little humor.
Another idea for building relationships by humanizing your business might be to post photos of you and your employees at work- in everyday activities, in production, or celebrating birthdays, for example.
8. Schedule the posts
Since you have done the planning already and have a calendar for posting, go ahead and create your content and schedule it to be posted automatically. There are several free tools that allow this facility.
9. Find inspiration from successful brands
It’s okay to use success strategies as inspiration. Study how successful businesses in the same industry use social media. Create a benchmark based on their best practices. Use them as an inspiration to run your own campaigns. Just not worth copying, ok?
10. Monitor the results
Test and evaluate your strategy. Analyse data such as the number of clicks per post, the reach of your posts, posting time, content, number of visits, and then make the necessary adjustments based on the results to further improve performance.
If you want to learn more or need further information, I will be more than happy to help.