Did you know that each minute of every day an average of 350,000 tweets are sent out? That’s a lot of competition to get yourself heard right there!

To enable you to rise above the noise of social media you need to craft some effective strategies to ensue that you get your small business noticed. If you cannot make yourself heard then how are you going to be able to promote your product or service?

Social media is free….but is it really?

OK, you don’t actually have to hand over any cash to get yourself onto social media or use any of the different platforms, but it isn’t really free, neither is it cheap when you consider the amount of time and effort that you have to invest into it.

Think of the time you have to dedicate towards content creation, marketing, studying analytics and planning out campaigns. Time is money to a small business owner, so although you really need to be active on social media or remain forever invisible, you have to think of crafty ways to increase your results without doubling your effort.

Crafty ways to increase your social media efficiency

You may not have considered this but you could leverage your own happy customers to do some of the leg work for you. Happy customers are great for social media marketing. They can spread the word about you in the same way that word of mouth marketing works – after all, word of mouth is by far the best way to gain new customers and followers.

In one study conducted by marketing insights firm Nielson, 92% of consumers regard personal recommendations from family and friends over and above every other type of advertising. A recommendation from someone you know and trust can create a belief in a business even before you have taken the time to check them out.

Encourage your own happy customers and engaged followers on social media to share their experience with others about your fantastic customer service, the quality of your products, their enjoyment of your service etc. Get them to tweet it, post it and update their status.

OK, sounds good, but how do I do this?

There are a number of ways to encourage your happy customers to share their enthusiasm about your business, product or service.

Offer discounts for referrals. Customers can earn a percentage off their next order when they introduce a friend or family member, get them to sign up to your newsletter, follow on social media etc. You could use referral codes for this.

If you own a shop, you can encourage your customers to take a selfie of themselves in your shop with what they have bought and post it onto their social media accounts and share using a unique hashtag. You could create a selfie wall in your shop where you can stick up your customers pictures and challenge them on social media to ‘make it to the wall of fame’.

Ask your happy customers to post Facebook reviews. In exchange they could be entered into a monthly prize draw to receive a go in your lucky dip in your shop, or receive a heavy discount off their next online shop, or a win a half-price or free 20 minute session or treatment at your spa/gym/salon etc.

I am sure you can think of lots of other ways to engage your happy customers and encourage them to help spread a positive message about your business.

Take advantage of the ‘gig economy’

You do know that you don’t have to write all of your social media content yourself, right?

Creative writing comes naturally to some lucky individuals, but unfortunately not for everyone. Even when you are a bit of a keyboard diva yourself, do you really have the spare time to rattle out consistent, high-quality and engaging posts every day? No? Didn’t think so. With so many other essential daily tasks that need doing to run your business, sometimes it can be difficult to dedicate the time needed to constant content creation.

Outsourcing a good percentage of your content creation to someone else can greatly cut down on the time and effort needed to keep up with the demands for fresh and engaging content. It can clear a good part of your schedule that you can then dedicate to something else that is of equal importance.

Ask your customers for their opinions

A crafty way to leverage your outsourced content creation and maximise its use is to get your existing clients and potential new clients involved with it. You could have an opinion piece written for you, then ask your customers and social media followers for their comments, opinions and views on the subject. The replies you get back to your post can be used as a free tool for creating further posts and discussions that will become self-perpetuating and will draw in more people to your thread.

For example, a fashion clothes shop owner could have a piece written about a new style of shoe they have in stock. The post could be a descriptive post that makes the shoes desirable in their own right and the owner could see some sales because of it. Then the owner decides to dress a shop mannequin from head to toe, starting with the shoes.

He chooses two possible skirt choices to dress the mannequin from the shops own range and asks the opinion of his customers and followers to choose which skirt he should go with and the reasons for their choice. The owner can entice participation with the promise that one lucky winner will get the entire outfit, including accessories, once the mannequin is completely dressed. The winner will be the most active/creative/engaging participant.

Build up some anticipation

He gives the participants a week to decide and the skirt with the most votes will be used. During that week he can use the customer comments about the skirts to create new posts and ask for more opinions. This carries on until the mannequin is fully dressed and the owner can choose one lucky winner from all the participants to win the entire outfit. He can make it extra special with a press release or invite local press to attend the handing over of the prize for a bit of extra free publicity.

This sort of engagement helps to keep your clients involved and invested in your social media as well as encouraging more shares, gaining more followers and creating a greatly improved reach.

Something to think about, yes?