More than half the world’s population uses social media, and it isn’t going away. As a small business owner, you may think using social media is a great strategy because you can access thousands if not millions of potential customers with almost no marketing budget. Unfortunately, while that can happen, many small business owners get sucked into a social media trap with no payoff. These tips will explain how to use social media the right way to avoid wasting your time and money. 

How can a small business use social media the right way?

Know your target market, a.k.a. audience 

The first step is to make sure you are clear on who your target market is – this is your audience. You want to know the problems you and your business can help them solve. Without a basic understanding of your target market, you could create content that doesn’t help your audience, thus wasting your time, energy, and money. 

Create engaging content that gets shared on social media

Once you identify your audience and their problems, you can start creating content. You can use free tools like Canva to develop visually interesting posts that answer key questions about your services. For example, if you are a hairstylist, you could give them tips on smoothing frizzy hair. Short videos tend to be very effective, so if you’re comfortable on camera, you may want to consider creating video tutorials. At the end of your post, make sure you give them a call to action, whether to click a link in your bio or simply like, share, or save your post.

Find the sweet spot between selling and being social 

One of the biggest social media mistakes business owners make is not being strategic enough. For example, people will post things about their personal life that have nothing to do with their business. On the other hand, others will only promote their business and never create socially engaging content that encourages people to like, share, and comment. Social media is “social,” which makes it a mix of both selling and engaging with your audience.

Here’s an example: You’re going on vacation and you want to share it on social media – that’s great! People love to be inspired by beautiful travel destinations. However, don’t stop there. If you are a hairstylist, you could throw in some tips for fast updos while on vacation. Then, you could also mention a friendly reminder that your books are filling fast for the month you get back, and if they want to get their hair done before they too go on vacation, they should click the link in your bio to book now.

Doing this establishes a “social” relationship while reminding them of their personal needs, which you are qualified to help meet.

Get them on your social media platform

Social media is powerful, especially if you have it “figured out.” However, you never know when the algorithm could change, making your business vulnerable. Because of this, it’s important to get your followers onto a platform that you manage. For example, you should collect their email address and contact information when they book or express interest in booking with you. Having their contact information puts the power in your hands as you can send them special offers and reminders without creating a viral post or paying for ads.    

Small business social media sites

It’s critical to know your target market. Once you do, you can pick the social media platform or platforms that your target market is most likely to use. Here are some interesting statistics on some of the most popular social media sites.

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social network, with nearly 3 billion users. 25.7% of people between the ages of 24-35 use Facebook. Older generations are solid users as well, with 11% of people between 55-64 using Facebook. 

Instagram

As of 2022, Instagram has over 1.4 billion users. 31% of people between the ages of 18-34 use Instagram. Reels are a popular feature on Instagram, and 58% of marketers plan to use them this year.

TikTok

As of 2022, TikTok has over 1 billion users. This platform is especially popular amongst women aged 18 to 24. TikTok is growing rapidly, and Instagram created Reels to compete with it.

LinkedIn

As of 2022, LinkedIn has over 740 million users. 60% of people between the ages of 25-34 use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an important networking tool for job seekers, recruiters, and business owners. 

Pinterest

As of 2022, Pinterest has over 454 million users. More than 70% of users on Pinterest are women, and the most popular age group is 24-35. The platform has also begun incorporating video into its “pins.” 

Twitter

As of 2022, Twitter has over 363 million users. Over 38% of people between the ages of 25-34 use Twitter. 70.4% of Twitter users are male, and 42% of users have graduated from college. 17.1% of people over 50 years old use Twitter, making Twitter another important platform to target people over 50.

Small business social media ideas

Once you’ve decided which platform you want to use based on your target market, you’ll want to create engaging content to attract your ideal customers. Keep in mind that each platform has unique guidelines (like image size, video length, number of hashtags) that you’ll want to follow to give your content the best shot at success. Below are some content ideas to get your creative juices flowing. 

Poll your followers

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn give you the ability to poll your audience. Polls are a great way to engage your community and do market research for new business ideas. 

Entertain

People use social media as a form of entertainment now. Rather than watching reality TV, they follow real people and are entertained by their lives. People are always looking for something new and exciting, so you could increase your brand exposure if you can provide that to them. 

Educate

As humans, we are wired to be interested in new and novel information. If you provide valuable content that educates your audience and aligns with your brand, you can rapidly increase your following on social media and increase your reach. 

Testimonials & Reviews

You don’t want only to post testimonials and reviews, but sharing examples of how you’ve helped your clients and the amazing things clients have said about you helps create social proof and could be just what someone needs to encourage them to buy from your business. 

It’s important to be strategic to use social media the right way for your small business. To do this, start by knowing your target audience, then pick the platform they’re most likely on, and create compelling content that addresses their biggest pain points. Social media can give you brand exposure to millions of people and bring new clientele to your business if you do it right.

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