Navigating social media can be a confusing labyrinth of choices, especially for the small business owner who lacks time and money to dedicate to their Marketing activities. Social media isn’t a phase, it’s changed how people communicate and conduct business for the foreseeable future. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions from small businesses about how to use social media:
1) Why do I need to use Social Media?
Social Media has changed the way people communicate on Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops and PC’s. People communicating via social media have now surpassed the use of SMS text messaging which represents a huge shift in the way we communicate. In order to reach your audience, then you must communicate with them using the methods they use. There are literally billions of people of all ages using social media, so go find them.
2) I don’t know where to start
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Always start with a plan. Write down your goals and objectives, form a strategy and implement that strategy through a well structured plan. Make your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
3) How much time should I spend on Social Media each day?
10-20 minutes in the morning and 10-20 minutes in the evening is all you need to keep on top of your social media strategy.
4) When should I post on Social Media?
Consider the lifestyle of your audience when thinking about what time of the day to send your posts. If you want to target people who work, send posts in the morning when people will be on their way to work and check their messages, at lunchtime and when they’re travelling home from work after 5pm.
If you want to target people who don’t work, post in mid-morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening.
Test, test and test the times you post and measure the responses, or lack of. Find out what works for your business, industry and customers.
5) What Social Media platforms should I use?
Facebook is the obvious 1st choice with well over a billion users worldwide and this number is growing daily. As a business Facebook is an ideal platform to target your audience with excellent advertising options. People in the UK check their Facebook accounts on average 14 times a day.
Twitter is recommended to connect with your peers, prospects and customers and gives you access to information and news quicker than traditional news channels. With tweets limited to 140 characters you must learn to say what you want to using as few words as possible. People’s attention spans on social media and the internet is extremely short, mainly due to the vast amount of information available.
Pinterest is a visual platform used to upload and share photos of any subject you can think of. Women are by far the biggest users of Pinterest, whereas Google+ is more widely used by men. Google+ is widely tipped to be the social media channel to challenge Facebook in the next few years.
LinkedIn is a Business to Business social media channel and is more formal than others. LinkedIn is an excellent platform to connect with peers and network professionally.
Of course there are a multitude of other platforms, but these are some of the more widely used.
6) How much does Social Media cost?
For small organisations if you have little or no marketing budget then the only cost to you is your time AKA Sweat Equity. If you would like to increase your organisation’s exposure then consider Facebook advertising which can be extremely affordable and effective. This can cost as little as a few pounds a day.
This is not a definitive list of most commonly asked questions nor the list of possible answers provided. Always consider the context of your business, industry, customers, budget and time. If you plan, test and measure then you’re on the right track.