Regardless of the size of your startup or small business, social media is an important tool for building rapport with current and future customers, improving your brand’s visibility, and boosting sales.
Rev recently hosted “Maximizing Social Media in 2022 for Startups and Small Businesses” a virtual Rev Content Session led by Carol Cain, Principal & Owner at Brave World Media and a 2021 Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur. Leveraging her expertise in marketing and communications, Cain walked participants through social media best practices and building a framework for an effective social media strategy.
Here are some quick tips from the session for entrepreneurs looking to improve their social media presence in the New Year:
- Don’t social just to social. When considering your social media brand and presence, you need to consider your business goals and your overall brand identity, before posting that first Tweet or TikTok. According to Cain, “Starting a social media brand is like anything else—it requires the same level of attention, seriousness, and commitment, as you would put into your logo, website, or any other marketing material you put out there.”
- Value the rate of engagement over the number of followers. For startups and small businesses, an increase in social media followers is exciting. While Cain acknowledges that the number of followers is an important measure of growth, she urges entrepreneurs to place more value on the engagement rate, which is calculated as the total number of interactions (likes, comments, shares) content receives divided by the total number of followers and then multiplied by 100%. “The more is only really merrier if the followers are real, relevant, and engaged,” says Cain. Instead of focusing solely on selling products or services in social posts, businesses should drive customer engagement by investing in authentic conversations with followers on social media.
- Choose the right social media platform(s) for your business. Before you commit to a social media platform, be sure you know your target audience. Usage of the most common social media platforms varies widely by factors such as age, gender, and education level. For example, is your customer base older? Social media users in the 50-64 and 65+ age brackets prefer Facebook by 73% and 50%, respectively. In addition to demographics, consider the nature of your product or service. Are you a restauranter or wedding photographer who plans to lean heavily on visual marketing? A social media platform that centers photos or graphics, like Instagram or Pinterest, might be a good fit.
- Social media metrics provide insight into impact. The analytical side of social media can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be if you keep it simple. To begin, Cain suggests focusing on metrics such as impressions, reach, and unique visitors. Impressions are the total number of times your content is displayed, no matter if it was clicked on or not. Cain explains impressions with the following analogy: “Let’s say you see a billboard on your way to work—it’s a billboard that you pass every day. You go to work in the morning, and you see the billboard, that’s an impression. You see the billboard on your way home, that’s another impression.” This means that it’s possible for one individual to generate multiple impressions for a single piece of content. Reach, on the other hand, is the total number of unique individuals who see your content. Finally, when a follower clicks on social media content, and arrives at your website, they are counted as a unique visitor, meaning they are only counted once. Social media campaigns and ads can help drive traffic to your website and increase the number of unique visitors.
- Lean on scheduling tools to ensure you’re posting consistently. Once you’ve established the social media platforms you plan to use for your business, you need to create and post content regularly. It helps to create a social media content calendar and use social media scheduling tools, such as Tweetdeck (Twitter), Facebook Business Manager (Facebbok), and Hootsuite (multiple platforms), to make sure you’re posting consistently and at the most optimal times for your particular industry.
- Your social media brand and presence is about your customer—not you. As a final tip, Cain urges entrepreneurs to separate themselves as individuals from their business and brand: “Your social media brand for your business is not YOU. It’s not about you. It’s not for you. It’s for your consumer, your audience, your client. You can’t curate a social media brand based on your feelings, interests, or moral compass. You have to really listen to your competition, your audience, and see where the consumer market is at and then curate a brand that is going to attract that consumer market.”