Social media has changed the way the entire economy works these days. Social media giants are regularly talked about on Capitol Hill, and their CEOs meet with members of Congress. You can even get a car insurance discount for using Facebook.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the economy greatly. A lot of your customers are online now more than ever. This can be a boon for your business, or it can kill it. Both outcomes have happened in the last year.
If you want to be in the prior category instead of the latter one, your small business is going to have to make up for in-person losses with online gains. This guide will help you understand the basics of running your business on social media.
Branding is the reason you’re on social media in the first place. You want people to know about your brand, what you do, and why you have the products or services they need. Any and every piece of content you post needs to be grounded in this.
There are many ways to achieve this goal, and they vary depending on what platform you are publishing content on. For now, let’s just focus on the branding itself. Before you post anything, you need to answer these four questions:
- What is your value proposition?
- Who is your target customer?
- What does your value proposition offer to your target customer?
- Can a random person look at your content and know the answer to the first three questions with no prior information?
If your content doesn’t do this, you are wasting your time posting anything at all. That’s not to say your products or services are bad, but you are doing them a disservice by not making it clear what you offer.
By no means am I saying your content has to be boring, but it needs to do the necessary branding work before you can get to that part.
The Content Must Fit the Platform
This is incredibly basic, but it’s equally important. Make sure the content you are creating fits the platform you are posting it on. That 20-minute video you made may be fantastic, and it did all of the things it needed to do. Anyone who looks at it would definitely be interested in making a purchase.
However, nobody on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Snapchat is watching a 20-minute video. You need to make the Reader’s Digest version of that amazing video and make sure it’s less than one minute long. The attention span of users of these sites is small.
This is not to say that there is anything wrong with them, but rather they have been conditioned to shorter content, and you need to adjust to fit in or you will get left in the dust by your competitors.
Facebook could possibly work for your small business, but be prepared to spend money to get views there. Organic growth for business pages on Facebook does happen, but it requires Powerball winning levels of luck. Additionally sponsored content gets engaged with much less than other sites like Instagram.
Instagram is the home of the big influencers, and outside of Twitter it’s the easiest social media site to grow your brand on. You can post pictures, add text, create stories, and publish video posts. And after you get a decent amount of followers, you gain the feature of having users swipe up on your story to convert those views into sales.
TikTok gets a lot of views and engagement, but it’s not really the place for small businesses outside of small boutiques and independent sellers. So if you’re trying to promote your Etsy shop or smaller website it may be the place for your business. Otherwise, you might want to pay an influencer with a larger brand to promote your business.
However, TikTok was the most engaged-with social media in 2020, and businesses have been moving that way. But there isn’t enough information out there right now as to how small businesses can take advantage of this platform outside of paying influencers.
Influencers Get the Word Out
Even if you decide to make your own content instead of paying influencers, you’re going to need their help if you want a brand to reach its maximum potential. Even the biggest of the big influencers have used collaborations to grow their brand.
A collaboration post is the same concept as a brand-sponsored post except in this case you’re paying the influencer to collaborate with you. The going rate for influencers to promote your product on Instagram and Snapchat is $10 per 1,000 followers. On Facebook it’s $25 per 1,000 followers. On Twitter it’s $2 per 1,000 followers.
The bill for a sponsored post can be pretty steep. If you are trying to get someone with 100,000 followers to promote your products and services, it costs $1,000 on Instagram and $2,500 on Facebook.
If you are thinking of spending that kind of money on influencer marketing, you are going to need to know that you are getting a solid return on your investment. In order to make sure that happens, you will need to know the influencer’s audience demographics and whether or not that influencer’s audience is a good fit for your business.
Hiring a Consulting Firm
Are you confused by all this social media jargon? Just hire a professional consulting firm. Social media is a lot of work, and sometimes social media can be an investment that needs protecting. And in a lot of cases, professional help can be beneficial. That money you would have spent on paying an influencer could be wasted for a list of reasons so long it would take a small textbook to explain.
Social media experts aren’t cheap, but they are definitely worth it. If you’re a successful business owner, you don’t need me to tell you the importance of delegating tasks to people that are better than you at them because you already do this on a daily basis.
Hiring a consultant could be the difference for your business, and it is strongly recommended that you do it if you don’t have any real social media experience as a business owner. Plenty of business owners thought they could do it on their own and have ruined their business in the process.
But whether you are up for the challenge or not, you will need to get your business online if it is to survive the changes to the economy post COVID-19. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor. And if you are still clamoring for more information on social media for your small business check out this post with 8 quick social media ideas for businesses.
About the Author
Marquis Ealy writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, CarInsurance101.com. Marquis is an entrepreneur in the independent media space.
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