A few weeks back I answered the question, is social media a business tool, obviously the answer was a resounding yes, how you use it is as important as using it. There are a few rules around what you cannot do, and some steps to follow to get you started and drive your traffic, let’s explore.
How To Use Social Media As A Business Tool
Step 1 – Target Market
When considering using social media as as a business tool, you’ll need to have an understanding of who your target market is first. This does not need to be the same as your current client base, but who you wish to have as a client moving forward.
Once you have a profile in place, let’s use our former target market for example; Professional couple in their late 30’s to late 40’s, with kids in late years primary school or high school, second or third home, with stay at home or part time working Mum.
There is a lot of information within that statement and a clear outline of what client we were looking for. Nine times out of ten we got that exact client, because we had taken time to create this profile, and target that market.
After reading the above statement, you can suppose that the family we are targeting are likely to be on Instagram and Pinterest, maybe Facebook. As the worker in the family is likely to not have time for social media, we were targeting the Mother, therefor we needed to use content to engage her but also to reflect our brand.
Step 2 – Getting To Know You
Your future clients want to know who you are, they want to know what you like, not so much what you dislike. They want to see what you look like and how you work. They want to see pictures of your workspace, and the jobs you do, but also what jobs you’d like to do.
You can share images of all of the above, but the content that is shared with those images is just as important. Don’t be afraid of using micro-blogging to help explain your brand, your concept or who you are. Keep the content short and sharp, but full of useful information.
Step 3 – Creating Content
Don’t use your social channels as a place for hard sell, no one likes to be sold to as such. Social media is a place to offer information and an insight into what you do. Once you have an engaged trusted audience, you can then start to share your products or services.
I have a content planner, especially for Facebook. My target market uses Facebook and Instagram mostly, and therefor I use my time to thoroughly use those platforms, rather than trying to focus on all social media platforms.
Knowing my target market, I use images that will appeal to them. On Instagram I post photos of my home, of homes I aspire to own, of myself, of what I do and I share my blog posts.
On Facebook, I get the most engagement when I encourage my readers to share something about themselves. For example, what are they doing on the weekend, do they prefer coffee or tea, who is cooking dinner tonight? These questions, get my readers talking but they also give me an insight into who they are.
Content can be as varied as you like however as a warning, controversial topics will not help you to post about. Avoid politics, religion, and anything that could be construed as racial or sexual harassment. These kinds of post will bring the wrong kind of interaction for growing a small business and you are setting yourself up to offend potential clients.
Rule 1 Be vanilla when you post on your business profile
For content ideas search Pinterest for social media content calendars, these will often have great ideas for different content.
Step 4 – When Do You Post
There are recommendations about how often you need to post to ensure maximum exposure and engagement, however for small business I have not found these to be helpful, they are too generic. Instead set yourself a goal of one month of creating and sharing content at different times of day, and track how they rate.
My audience are early rises, who use social media first up in the morning (before 6.30am) at lunch time, and late afternoon, I have learned this through repeated posting at various times of day, and watching when the engagement comes.
As a general rule, once a day on Facebook and every couple of days on Instagram will get you started.
Step 5 – Images
Not all the images you share need to be yours, however this leads me to a very important rule.
Rule 2, You must seek permission to share someone’s image, and tag appropriately
This is simple to do, if you’ve seen the image on a social outlet, simply DM the owner of the image, and ask permission to use the image, once permission has been granted, be sure to share where the image comes from along with any of the relevant information that was first shared, for example; designer, photographer, stylist, builder etc.
Step 6 – Have Fun
We can get caught up in using social media as a tool, but the experience should also be enjoyable for you. Don’t use social pruly to sell to your target market, use it to educate them and allow your personality to shine. Think of it as an opportunity for your client to “try before they buy” in a sense. Let them make informed decisions about who you are and if they would like to work with you, before they contact you and then half your work is already done!
Once you have this basic understanding of social media, there are plenty of other ways to ensure your brand is getting the correct exposure, but first you need to encourage the engaged audience to receive that information.
What social media platforms do you use most? Have you tried Twitter?