Separating yourself from the pack on social media can be challenging, particularly if you’re a small business and you have limited resources. And considering that 94% of small businesses use social media to market their products or services, your business faces an even bigger challenge of differentiating itself from your competition.
That said, your social media marketing and branding strategies don’t necessarily have to be innovative; you just have to find ways to stand out in your industry or community. Here are 10 tips that can help your small business get noticed on social media.
1) Pick the Right Social Networks
Rather than jumping right in and creating a presence on every social channel you can think of, take your time and research how your products or services can be marketed on each platform. In addition, you need to know your target audience intimately and have a good understanding of the social channels they use. There’s no sense in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, if your content doesn’t fit or your target audience isn’t active on a particular platform.
With more than one billion daily active users, Facebook is the most logical starting point. Granted, not every user is a potential customer, but Facebook is so valued because it promotes the development of organic relationships with your customers. Interaction and engagement are vital when attempting to nurture relationships with new customers.
Beyond Facebook, you’ll have to decide what works best for your business. If you want a platform that visually showcases your products or services, then Instagram (which has more than 500 million daily users) and/or Pinterest could be invaluable channels for you. And keep in mind that there are niche social networks that may help you reach a specific target audience and could be used to help your business distinguish itself.
2) Draw Inspiration From Others
Yes, there may be some small businesses in your sphere that excel at social media marketing, but don’t limit yourself by trying to replicate what they’re doing. Look beyond your industry for ideas and inspiration. There are countless brands and individuals you can follow on various social channels. A good place to start is by doing a quick Google search for a list of some of the most inspiring social profiles from a variety of industries and genres.
Also, don’t be shy about connecting with social media influencers in your industry. They can be an invaluable tool to help promote your products or services. In fact, according to a survey by Nielsen, 92% of consumers are persuaded to make a purchase because of a peer recommendation. If the influencers you target have a devoted following and those influencers like your product, you could be well on your way to setting yourself apart from your competitors and generating more sales.
3) Get Advice From Your Audience
Be proactive with your target audience and followers. Beyond simply engaging with them on social media, make them feel valued and respected by asking their opinion or advice on a particular topic. By posing a pertinent industry-related question, you can be people talking and generate dialogue among your followers. It’s also a great tool for obtaining feedback on your products or services.
Not only will you demonstrate to your target audience just how important they are to you, but you’ll also show how much you trust them. It turn, this will go a long way in earning their trust.
4) Recommend Others Who Can Help Your Followers
A big part of being engaged with your followers is paying attention to what they’re saying on social media. Is there something they’re looking for beyond what you can offer them? If so, provide recommendations for a social media account that could provide beneficial information to them.
Although we all want to be the industry guru, you’re undoubtedly connected with other industry thought leaders who may be better able to offer a given thing your followers are looking for. By passing along this sort of information, you can illustrate your industry expertise in another fashion. It’s also a means to further show your followers and customers how much they can trust and rely on you because you’re providing them with useful resources, even if they’re not your own.
5) Don’t Be Afraid to Be Yourself
Your followers and audience want to know your story and the real you. If you’re genuine and transparent, they’ll be more apt to identify with you. So don’t be afraid to share information that inspires you and makes you laugh.
Yes, you want to be professional and highlight your expertise, but you should also show your human side. By peppering in inspirational quotes and funny anecdotes that speak to your audience and express your business’s values, your followers can better identify with you.
6) Utilize National Observance Days in Your Posts
Each day, week and month of the year recognizes various causes, products and celebrations to raise awareness, promote advocacy, or even serve as a means to simply have a little fun. From National Lasagna Day to National Trivia Day to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are thousands of national days, weeks and months for observing just about anything under the sun.
Some are obviously more serious and meaningful than others, but there are events throughout the year that you can use to promote your business and/or industry on social media. They can be just another fun or enlightening way to generate interest in your products or services.
7) Use the Past to Promote the Future
Your followers and audience turn to you for your expertise and your timely and compelling content on social media. But from time to time, why not give them some more insight into who you are by sharing posts or photos from past events and achievements? For example, you could share photos from your ribbon-cutting ceremony or from when you won an award from your local chamber of commerce. Again, it’s just another way of humanizing yourself and helping your followers and customers relate to you.
8) Focus on Visuals
Speaking of sharing photos, 65% of people are visual learners, so remember to not only share images of what’s going on behind the scenes at your business, but also personal shots of yourself and images that express the substance of your brand so that your followers can put a face to your brand. Also, don’t forget about posting informative live videos, infographics and quote graphics.
Regardless of the channel you’re using, posts and tweets with visual content generate much more engagement. For example, Facebook posts with images receive 2.3 times the engagement rates of posts without images.
9) Always Be Gracious
Although every business should be customer-centric, small businesses especially can’t afford to put customer service on the back burner. We’ve already discussed the importance of engagement and humanizing yourself on social media, but don’t miss the chance to thank your customers for their loyalty and business. If they’re satisfied with your products or services and you earn their trust, they’ll be more likely to write favorable customer reviews.
Beyond expressing your gratitude through your words, take the time to put together a special thank-you video or graphic that celebrates a particular milestone. You can also show your appreciation more tangibly by offering special discounts or giveaways to your followers and customers.
10) Demonstrate Your Expertise Through “How-To” Content
Your customers are looking for industry expertise, and with so much competition out there, you can set yourself apart by offering content that’s useful to them. Take advantage of your expertise and knowledge by creating informative videos that inspire your customers and serve their needs. After all, four out of five consumers say that “how-to” videos are helpful, and online shoppers are 1.81x more likely to purchase a product after seeing a “how-to” video.
The Bottom Line
Social media is an essential part of your business’s marketing and branding strategy, but to make your social efforts effective, you have to continually look for ways to set yourself apart. If you incorporate these 10 tips into your plan, you’ll be well on your way to standing out from the competition.