Small Business Festival Victoria is well underway and we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks about social media that could give your business the spark it needs to shine online.
Social media seems to be the star of the show at this year’s Small Business Festival Victoria, with events running throughout the month which aim to demystify this rapidly developing corner of the internet. This probably comes as no surprise, seeing as social media are the flashing lights that direct customers to your website and guide you towards valuable professional relationships. But even though an online presence has become an inescapable necessity for all businesses, this does not make it any less intimidating. To make social media seem a little less scary, and to help you get the most out of your online efforts, we’ve put together a list of our five favourite social media hints that we learnt on our travels around the Festival.
1. Pick the Perfect Platform
Every time you blink a new social media platform is born, but it does more harm than good to try and have a presence on all of them. The best strategy is to pick one or two platforms and focus on providing quality content and developing an engaged following. Start by doing a little bit of research to see which platforms your target market regularly uses, you can do this by using a website like BuzzSumo to see where your competitors’ content is being shared most often. This will show you where your attention should be directed. For example, if you’re a health food producer then you’ll more than likely find your healthy customers taking snaps of their meals on Instagram, but if you’re a lawyer you’ll probably find your clients sharing articles on LinkedIn. Understanding where your community spends their time will be the difference between building meaningful relationships and shouting into the void.
2. Be Creative with Content
If you’re using social media to speak to the people then you have to give the people what they want, and this is certainly not endless streams of marketing material. Sharing a variety of content will show your customers you understand them and make you a valuable member of the community. It’s also a good idea to post content in a range of forms, including text, pictures and videos, to maintain the interest of your followers. According to Cath Hodgson-Croker from Melbourne IT Group, the general mix of posts should be:
50% Entertainment and Invitations for Conversations
Interesting photos and videos
30% Useful and Informative
- Hints and tips
- Offers and specials
3. Contribute to the Community
It kind of defeats the purpose to be antisocial on social media, because the platforms rely on communication and interaction to survive. This means that simply posting content is not enough, it’s also important to like, share and comment on other users’ content to show that you are an active participant in the community. Responding to comments and reviews is another way to demonstrate your involvement, as it enables you to engage in constructive conversations that build trust and loyalty with your following.
4. Optimise the Opportunity
For the time being, social media is a fairly inexpensive and underused form of marketing and advertising. But it won’t stay like this for long. The business world is starting to catch onto the power of the medium, so now is the time to mark your territory before the space gets too crowded. Social media platforms are also figuring out how to monetise their advertising space, which means the healthy return on investment that is currently expected from channels such as Facebook Ads will probably not look as attractive in a few years. It’s therefore best to jump into social media sooner rather than later, before these developments change the landscape forever.
5. Review the Results
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to make sure your social media efforts are helping you achieve your goals. Whether you’re aiming to increase brand awareness, encourage more enquiries or increase conversions, there are tools available to help you measure your progress. Each individual platform generates a range of statistics including analyses of your reach and level of engagement. There are also online tools such as Google Analytics that can provide you with invaluable information, including an analysis of the platforms that are driving the most traffic to your website. You may not see your desired results straight away, but this may be a sign that a slight alteration to strategy may be needed to make the work worthwhile.
With these things in mind, we hope you’ll feel a lot more comfortable strutting your stuff around social media town. For more information check out some of the remaining events being held around Melbourne for the Small Business Festival Victoria, or head to our Marketing page to find out how we can lend a hand to your online strategy.