How to Use Social Media to Make a Small Business Look Big
If you haven’t invested your time or money into marketing on social media, now is the time to start. Social media is used by the vast majority of people, especially by younger demographics. According to Marketing Sherpa, 95% of consumers aged 18-34 are on social media and using it to follow brands.
Social media marketing is a cost-effective way to market a new business and, when done right, it can give you an edge over your competition. It doesn’t matter how young or small your business is, when it comes to social media anyone can build a strong following.
Any business can build brand visibility and trust through social media by creating a well-organized strategy and taking a professional approach. It doesn’t take much financial investment, just some time and a lot of attention to detail.
When you pay careful attention to the language you use on social media, the ads you place, and the links that you share, you can make a small business appear much larger than it actually is. This will help you grow your social media presence quickly and build trust among your audience.
As you grow your business and start to gain followers, here are some tips that will help you look like an established brand and give you an edge over your competitors.
Always be consistent
To look professional on social media, you want your look, tone, and brand personality to always be consistent. This means you should have a recognizable logo and tone, and the images you share should fit your company’s distinct style.
Create a style guide for your social media sharing, or all of your communications, to ensure consistency across all your content and visual design.
Include things likes your brand’s tone, adjectives to describe your brand’s personality, requirements for sharing images, examples of good social media posts, and examples of things your brand would and wouldn’t say.
Having go-to guidelines will provide clarity for anyone posting on your social media and allow you to act fast and make sensible decisions when it comes to viral trends.
Create templates for adding your logo to the images you share, too, so they become recognizable. You can use free tools like Canva to do this quickly and cheaply.
You can keep your approach simple but once your posts are consistent, this will build brand visibility, awareness, and trust like big brands would.
Post on social media frequently
Nothing makes your business look smaller than only sharing a post once a month. If you haven’t posted in a while, visitors to your social pages might even think you’ve gone out of business.
You have to post consistently and often if you want your business to appear professional and proactive on social media. Try to write a blog post once a week that you can share on social media. If you don’t have a blog yet, use a platform like Medium.com.
But don’t be afraid to share older, evergreen content, too. You can share curated content, with the latest industry news and viewpoints. Sharing your knowledge, along with the expertise of industry leaders, will position your company as a thought leader and show followers that you know what you’re talking about.
Social media tools are your best friend when it comes to making a small business look big on social media. Scheduling tools make it possible to write lots of social media posts in one sitting and schedule them for a future date.
This way you can dedicate a few hours to creating content for the coming weeks and then systematically share it. Tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Tweetdeck are some of the best known scheduling tools with free plans available.
Posting consistently and frequently will also give the appearance that you have a strong team backing your social media.
Don’t bore your followers
While it may be tempting to share a silly picture just to get people to share and respond, this is going to do nothing for your overall brand or for your online reputation.
In fact, sharing information or pictures that bear no relevance to your industry are going to make your business look less professional. Your followers probably followed you because they have an interest in your industry and your business.
If you’re struggling to write a blog post each week, hire someone to do the writing for you. There are lots of online platforms to make this easy.
For your curated content, keep an eye out for stories that showcase industry news. Use a tool like Pocket to bookmark articles from trusted sources, so you can schedule them later.
For some quick but high quality content, you can also use tools like LucidPress or Infogram to design great looking infographics to share. Having interesting and varied content will let your followers know that you understand your industry inside and out and position yourself as a leader in their minds.
Boost engagement with behind the scenes photos
While your company’s Facebook page is definitely not the place to post pictures of your family vacation, it is a great forum for showing that your business has a personal side and to give followers a glimpse behind the scenes.
Maybe you’ve done some recent renovations — get customers excited about checking out the new look by sharing before and after pictures.
Share photos of a staff lunch or an employee’s birthday cake to showcase the fact that your business is a great place to work. You can also share an exclusive sneak peek of a new product to show your followers there’s a benefit to following you on social media.
If you have an upcoming event, build it up, create buzz and share pictures of the event planning process. Sharing these kinds of posts on a consistent basis will make your business look larger than it is.
You should also post images of your team, whether they’re just putting up the Christmas decorations or you profile them individually. The effort of capturing these types of behind the scenes images is often minimal, but it helps followers grow closer to your brand and become loyal.
Recent research also shows that photos with human faces are more likely to receive likes and comments, so showing your company’s human side can boost engagement too.
Use social media advertising
When it comes to placing ads on social media, it’s important to know exactly who your audience is.
Divide your audience into segments and delineate parameters for each ad group to make sure your ads are relevant to those who see them. Otherwise, it’s a waste of resources.
Luckily, even for the smallest of local businesses, when picking parameters, you can be very specific with your choice of location. You can even use retargeting to present people who have already visited your site with adverts.
Carefully targeting your adverts will save you money in the long run and make your efforts more effective. Facebook ads can be targeted very specifically and offer the best ROI.
On-brand, targeted ads will make your business look professional and while the end goal is that those who see them will convert, it helps builds your name and brand recognition.
Lots of startups use Facebook advertising successfully and even use its Lead Ads platform before having a website in place.
Make sure your social media matches your website
Whichever comes first, it’s important for your business to be presented in a similar way across its website, social media, and other platforms.
Website builders make it easy for small businesses to set up their site.
Add the details about the style, color palette, and font of your website to your social media guidelines so you can be sure to make the content you share on social consistent with your brand’s website. Consistency across platforms will make your brand appear professional.
Use branded links
Once you have a website to link to, it’s a good idea to create branded links to share on social media.
A branded link is made up of a custom domain and a custom slashtag. So instead of having an unintelligible string of characters like sho.rt/X7dl8F or an extremely long link, you can share links like Bookmark.Rocks/SocialMediaTips.
It is possible to include a keyword about the content you’re sharing in the slash tag and the domain should feature your brand’s name too.
Attaching your brand’s name to the links you share looks professional, build trust with your followers and boosts click through rates, as followers will know your links won’t lead to spam or a phishing site.
And if you’ve found success with retargeting ads, link retargeting will let you present ads to the social media followers that have clicked on your curated content too. Whether it’s a review, media coverage, or an industry article strongly related to what your business does, if followers have clicked on it in one of your social media posts, you can then present them with relevant and targeted ads in the future.
Encourage interaction with your followers
As you grow your following, always make sure to check your notifications and interact with people. Scheduling tools make your job easier, but it’s still important to have human contact with those who engage with your business.
Respond to questions or concerns in a timely manner. Even if someone provides negative feedback, be sure to reply in an honest and open way.
You should also encourage your customers to leave reviews and share user-generated content with you. This will make your business look like a reliable and trustworthy brand.
Social media can help you grow your business in leaps and bounds, but you have to understand how to use it. With engaging content in place and consistent branding across your channels, your business will appear to fit the role of a big industry player. And over time, this will become a true reflection of your business.
About the Author
Louisa McGrath is a content manager at Rebrandly, the URL shortener empowering marketers to put their brand on their links. She can be seen blogging around Dublin city center, except on Sundays when she stays in to pore over the newspapers.