From checking menus to opening hours, social media plays an active role in the success of every business. It is not only a first impression but it gives potential customers important information at the easy click of a button. It can even be a decisive factor in choosing one business over another. Needless to say, social media is critical but with so many social media users out there, how do you stand out?
Before you do anything, know your objectives. What are you planning to achieve with social media? How are different platforms going to help you reach your goal? Which platform is most suitable for your business? Be clear with your objectives. In fact, it’s best to make a plan. Planning your social media will help you be consistent and remember important components of engaging online. For example, the web is full of unofficial holidays (like National Donut Day) that are fun and you can use to be active online and promote your business. You can plan all of this relatively easily so long as you have clearly identified objectives. Further, there are sites that allow you to easily access all your social media and schedule posts. That way you don’t have to worry about it everyday or leave it to the last minute. Make sure you have time to create good quality content!
À propos being active online, interacting with local businesses and other accounts can increase your visibility in the community. Reach out to people and get in contact with influential people in your area. Get exposure through other people (i.e. re-posting tagged content). A great way to do this is to associate a hashtag with your business that customers can use. Another way to gain exposure is to become involved in local causes that mean something to you. Being present at events or fundraisers is great way to get out there and build your network. It can definitely be intimidating at first but soon it becomes second nature and your business will thank you!
So now that you’re active online, what can you do to enhance a social media experience? Start a conversation! If you want people to interact with your content, you need to present an opportunity for them to do so. It’s nice to tell a heartwarming story about your business online but make sure people can engage with it. Ask them to interact!
Here’s an example: say you’re a family owned bakery and you share a fond memory that as a child you would accompany your grandfather to the bakery and he would show you how to make chocolate croissants. That in itself builds a very personal and likable image of your business but it doesn’t garner engagement. Instead, try finishing the story by asking your audience to comment what their favourite childhood memory is or what their favourite memory of their grandparents is. Ask them to interact with you! You can also incentivize engagement with giveaways, contests, or promotions. This will draw traffic to your page and create a positive environment that consumers want to partake in. Beyond this, you’re only discreetly advertising your business. You don’t want to over-saturate your social media with one type of content.
Now that people are interacting, show appreciation for your customers! Reply to comments, share their stories (if at your business/using your product etc.) and overall post messages conveying your appreciation of the support you receive from your community and your customers. Don’t forget to use visuals! People respond incredibly well to visuals and visuals increase the retention of information associated with them! Have a balance between advertisements directly promoting your business and thematic posts promoting unrelated content.
Finally, be consistently active on your platforms! Have a look into social media analytics and work on tracking your audience’s media habits, what they respond to most, what times they are active etc. This will help you tailor your content to better appeal to the interests of your audience and can also help you promote your content to wider audiences that may have similar interests. Using niche social media may also help you branch out into territories that are specific to your business. Establish your business as a source of authority that people come to! Create ‘how to’ content and post helpful information/tips occasionally! Creating a LinkedIN account for your business can also help to establish you as an authority and connect people to you!
Standing out on social media is no easy task and rarely happens overnight! The most important thing to remember is to be consistent, respectful and take into consideration the needs of your customers and how you can help them! With that being said, don’t lose the unique identity of your business! Find a balance between integrating online trends but also having an image that customers can easily associate with your company!
By Juliana Schneider