This is something that a lot of small business owners wonder about. It is true that certain types of content do work much better on some social media platforms than others, so it is worth looking at tailoring your content to suit the environment it is going to.
Visual content is the most popular and eye-catching type of content you can use, so it is wise to use this whenever possible on social media platforms that support it well, such as Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. It helps if you produce or sell a product where you can create some visually striking images to use. This is why these platforms are great for fashion items, electronic gadgets, jewellery and accessories etc.
Just because you offer a service rather than a product does not mean that highly visual posts cannot be used on your social media. You can post pictures of your behind-the-scenes operation, introduce key members of staff with a photo and bio for a more human touch and to create familiarity and trust.
Text Only Content
If you don’t have the time to take and post photographs, or you think your subject matter wouldn’t be appealing enough to attract interest on social media, then text only status updates can still work well on places like Facebook, especially when you are trying to build customer engagement through asking questions or hosting a live Q & A session with quick fire responses to customer queries.
Twitter is the perfect social media platform for a small business owner who handles their own social media content and is quite pushed for time. The 140 character limit is an ideal time saver as you don’t have to sit for hours at your desk crafting content to post. Many busy managers will often live-Tweet on the go from their smartphone as they go about their daily chores. This is a great way to communicate with your followers and update them as inspiration strikes you.
With Twitter, you should aim for a good mix of tweeting about your own business and re-tweeting other content from your peers in the same sector or from complementary businesses. Make sure you follow important industry influencers from your business sector as their advice and information is always useful to pass on to your followers.
If you are a B2B company, then LinkedIn should be a priority social-media platform for your business. You can share your latest company news, tips and advice, industry leadership articles and any productivity increases though using new software or organisational techniques.
If you can curate content from others that your followers will be interested in, then this will have a two-fold effect. One: your followers will be keen to stay loyal to you because they know that you will bring to them all the latest news and happenings from your business sector, and two: curating content can actually save you a lot of time in that you don’t have to create content by yourself from scratch.
Curated content works well across all social-media platforms, so look out for things such as short videos with helpful content, eye-catching photographs and infographics, useful blog links that you can share, thought provoking questions and answers that may help your readers. As long as you keep your curated content interesting and fresh, your followers will be more than happy to come back for more.
Using Social Media for Customer Service
Many small business owners have puzzled over whether they should use social media to provide customer service. In some cases, this can be very useful as social media is quickly becoming the most popular way for existing and potential new customers to interact with businesses online.
A lot of businesses use Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to instantly connect with existing customers and encourage them to contact the company via these platforms should they have a query or complaint about the product or service they have purchased. Doing this can resolve a problem much more quickly than may be possible through email or even telephone should a customer have a query outside of regular office hours. Being a public platform, any queries that are quickly resolved will be looked upon as favourable by potential new customers and may provide an answer to a query they have before committing to buy.
What to avoid with Social Media
The main tripping point that many small business owners encounter is not actually having a social-media plan of action at all! Many managers simply dive in without any forethought and post willy-nilly. Social-media changes all the time and if a business wants to be successful, then they have to learn to adapt along with it.
Start off with a simple plan of a regular and manageable posting schedule and stick to it. After about a month you should then take some time to look at your analytics to spot patterns and trends, such as the most popular type of post, the time of day and day of week with the most activity and which content was shared the most, what links had the most click-through rates etc. From here you can work out which types of posts to create more of and which ones to ditch completely, the best times to post and which days are better for posting.
It is a case of trial and error – test and test again. No two businesses are exactly the same, so what works for one business may not work for yours. Your social media growth will always be a work in progress, so keep trying out different strategies and look at the results.