Social Media Best Practices for Small Businesses

Social Media Best Practices for Small Businesses

It’s fully apparent to small businesses that social media is important—more than 70% now utilize it as a marketing channel. However, figuring out exactly what works on social isn’t as clear.

Which networks should you be using? Are both organic and paid tactics worth pursuing? How often should you be engaging? Which types of content should you be posting?

The social media experts at MDG Advertising went through a host of research to see what the latest data says and combined that with learnings from recent work for clients. What emerged are a few key approaches that can help firms engage efficiently and effectively.

Specifically, these ten best practices can help small businesses of all types succeed on social media:

1. Start with Facebook
Facebook has received some rough coverage from the media over the past couple of years. Nevertheless, it remains immensely popular: some 69% of US adults use the platform and 74% of this group visit at least once a day.

This huge, engaged audience, combined with rich data and powerful advertising tools, makes Facebook the essential network for small businesses. Simply put, there’s no better starting point for a successful strategy. That’s why nearly twice as many small businesses say they use Facebook compared with any other social platform.

2. But don’t ignore other networks
The fact that Facebook works well as a starting point for a social media strategy doesn’t mean that the rest of the social platforms should be ignored.

Why? Largely because other networks can help reach specific audiences. For example, Pinterest can be utilized to connect with women and LinkedIn to connect with professionals.

Perhaps most importantly, networks other than Facebook are often the best way to reach younger audiences. As Pew Research found, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube especially resonate with those age 24 and under.

3. Have both organic and paid strategies
Should you be developing an organic (unpaid) social media strategy or an advertising-based (paid) social strategy?

The answer is: you should be building out both.

Why? Because each has its place. Organic social tactics can help with things like establishing an online presence and engaging with existing customers, whereas paid social tactics can help with things like reaching new audiences and promoting products/services.

Those different strengths are why each is highly valued: small businesses rated organic social and paid social as the two most effective tactics for marketing to customers last year.

4. Respond quickly to your audiences
How important is it to engage consistently and speedily with audiences on social media?

Very, very, very important.

A survey of consumers found that being responsive is the top thing brands can do on social to prompt consumers to purchase—ahead of actions such as offering promotions, providing informational content, and being entertaining.

5. Engage people with visual content
Which types of content should you be posting to social media?

There’s no one right answer: the proper mix will depend on the audiences you’re targeting and the social networks you’re utilizing. Trying to market accounting services on LinkedIn will require a different approach from getting the word out on Instagram about baked goods.

That said, a broad theme does emerge from the research: people really, really like visual pieces. That’s why images/infographics have now become the top type of content posted by small businesses on social media.

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