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Investing in Social Media Pays Dividends for Small Businesses

If you’re a business owner who still hasn’t harnessed the power of social media to promote your business, you may be missing a trick.  Used correctly, social media can help to secure new customers, win referrals and raise awareness about your products or services.  It’s a cost-effective way of marketing your business at a very small cost and a great way of engaging with your customers, many of whom will be only too happy to share with friends and family.  If you’re new to using social media for business, it can be difficult to know which platforms are best for your business and what type of content your followers are likely to want to share.  Let’s take a look at some of the best methods of increasing your “digital footprint” to ensure success.

Create a plan in which you outline your objectives, identifying whether you want to attract new customers, drive more traffic to your website or generate referrals that will increase your business in future.  Listing goals in this way will help you choose which platforms to use and the type of content you need to generate.

Choosing the right platform for your business can be challenging, with so many to choose from – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.  Think about your typical customers and try to decide where they are likely to hang out online.  Each platform has its own advantages.  Facebook is fairly casual and is a great place to reach home-owners and other consumers, whereas LinkedIn is generally considered better for B2B purposes and staying connected with trade associations, focus groups, etc.  Instagram and Pinterest are both highly visual and are the best place to post images of products or projects (either in progress or as a completed job).

Create the type of content that will educate and inform your followers, rather than taking a “hard-sell” approach.  Think about what your customers would need to know about your products or services and write how-to guides, tips and tricks, series, and advice, etc.  If you already have content on your website, put a fresh spin on it and post links to your social media channels as the content may have been missed when first published.  Be consistent in creating engaging, easy to read content that will make your customers return on a regular basis for updates and new ideas.

Generate a schedule of when to post and to which channel and try to stick to it for a set time.  If this doesn’t have the results you want, try creating a new plan or schedule, changing the time or day you post.  Social media success often involves trial and error, especially at first, so pay close attention to find out what works best for your business.

Picture this!  Using plenty of images will help to attract the attention of your readers.  Online viewers tend to be put off by large chunks of text, so keep the text to a minimum and include plenty of interesting and engaging images.  Use “before and after” photos to showcase your products or services, integrate news, holidays, events and weather to keep your content current.

Make it easy for readers to share your content.  Each platform has its own tools which will help you get noticed and alert others when you’ve shared content so make sure that content you post is public and easily shared with friends and family.  This is easily done on the social media platforms, but don’t forget to add “Share” buttons to your website so that content can be shared directly from there.