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Platforms for Success: Social Media Strategy for Your Small Business

Social media is the single most-accessed element of technology today, but are you leveraging it to your small business's advantage


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Data compiled from 2018 to the present indicates that more than 90% of businesses utilize social media overall. Yet, only a little over 70% are doing so when it comes to small to mid-sized companies. Younger entrepreneurs barely remember a world without social media and are more apt to embrace it as a powerful tool. However, for the older business owner or those working in a family business that's been well-established for a long time, the necessity of social media may not be as apparent as it should be. Even so, this forum for promoting your enterprise needs to be carefully considered so that you can explore ways to help your business benefit from it.


There are many components of business success, but the role of social media strategy is ever-increasing, and it requires a willingness to weave it into the very fabric of your operations. In an age where fewer than 75% of small businesses have a website, deciphering the complexities of social media platforms may feel like just one more cumbersome chore. This issue is even more daunting because the average person uses multiple platforms to gather information, each with unique attributes and nuances. Not every platform is the perfect fit for every business, so using them requires discretion to determine which will likely yield a good return on investment.


The digital business landscape is increasingly cluttered, with many voices endeavoring to convince customers why a particular company can only meet their needs. Attempting to stand out in this crowd requires having the determination to find your unique entrepreneurial voice and use it to connect with potential customers or clients in relevant ways. Brand visibility is something that won't happen overnight. Still, when it comes to getting a clear and concise image of the goods or services you provide firmly entrenched in the minds of the purchasing public, social media platforms are a logical first step in that process.


Traditional marketing and publicity will always be significant, but these and social media don't have to be mutually exclusive. In the best-case scenario, the legacy methods should integrate seamlessly with what happens on a platform to craft a consistent narrative of what your business does and why someone should seek you out. One of the most significant differentiating factors between social media and marketing is that one is relational, and the other is informational. Seeing an advertisement for your company on a billboard or a brochure is influential in providing a snapshot of what you're all about, but it's basically you talking about yourself with no engagement from your audience. You can solicit contact from would-be customers via a phone number or website address, but there's no real opportunity for dialogue.


The most significant power of social media is that it's interactive, which can be a game-changer for business owners who feel isolated from their clients or customers. In the past, review sites such as Yelp were one of the few outlets where people could share their experiences when dealing with various businesses, either positive or negative. Although this enabled entrepreneurs to be exposed to the comments people were making about doing business with them, it was nevertheless more action/reaction than an actual conversation. Via social media platforms, feedback is gathered and posted directly related to your content about your enterprise.


One of the possible deterrents for those on the fence about using social media is the necessity to invest regular chunks of time into maintaining it. Just as with a website, outdated information or a visible lack of response to questions or comments immediately conveys that you don't take your business seriously. It's unfortunate that "putting yourself out there" on social media platforms carries the responsibility of carefully observing and interacting with communication from those who visit your account. There's also the pressure of having to think and act as a content creator as opposed to merely someone publishing news. The word "content" is all-encompassing and encapsulates everything from video to surveys to captioned images.


If you decide to enter the world of social media, you must also have the discipline to commit yourself to a structured schedule for publishing new content. Trying to fit it in when you have a spare moment will likely never work, as something else is clamoring for your attention. It's much more beneficial to determine precisely what you plan on communicating and in what format, all within the confines of a calendar that holds you accountable for creating and publishing what's needed within rigid date parameters. The effort might seem like a burden, but your audience will appreciate that you're committed to providing fresh content that helps keep them apprised of what's new in your business.


Social media is a component in the development of any stage of your business, whether you're just launching or trying to scale what's already been established. The focus will vary depending on where you find yourself on your journey, but the tools and basic structure should remain consistent. You must also accept that you'll eventually need a presence on multiple platforms to stay relevant. The amount of work can be overwhelming when you're first starting out in social media, so don't attempt to set up on five platforms simultaneously. Get a good, solid start on one and then add others as time permits, being sure to embrace a consistent and authentic message irrespective of where you're publishing.


Another essential aspect to consider is the appropriateness of one particular platform over another. Although there are many options, each of which is a valid choice for your business, the two most prominent ones to consider as a starting point are Facebook and Instagram. Although Meta owns these (along with WhatsApp), they each have a unique structure and appeal. Facebook is the absolute winner in reach, making it a solid choice for businesses that want to be in front of as many eyes as possible. One current trend is for small businesses to forgo a website in favor of representing themselves exclusively within the scope of Facebook pages.


Another attractive aspect is Facebook ads, enabling entrepreneurs to self-promote to scale their businesses. A factor worth keeping in mind is that Facebook tends to attract more older individuals, who are approximately four times as likely to head there as Instagram. From this perspective, the specifics of the demographic you're hoping to reach certainly come into play because Instagram is the logical choice if you primarily cater to a younger crowd. Another primary differentiation between Instagram and Facebook stems from the fact that Instagram is a very visually oriented platform, which can serve you well in promoting your business if you can utilize quality photography and graphic design to help augment the images you publish.


YouTube may not be the perfect candidate for every business, but it's worth considering if you'd like to tell the story of the goods and services you provide in more depth. If you're comfortable speaking on camera, YouTube can help potential clients or customers get a much deeper insight into what you do than they otherwise could from text-based descriptions and still images. Another plus with YouTube is that you have the potential to build your channel toward eventual monetization and even income-generating avenues like affiliate marketing. A drawback to YouTube is that the platform's algorithms are frequently modified, so maintaining a vibrant audience base can be challenging and require considerable time and effort.


Another social media platform worth considering is LinkedIn, which is primarily intended to connect business people and foster networking. Maintaining a profile here can help you communicate who you are as an entrepreneur, leading to others reaching out to you based on the skill set you've outlined. LinkedIn can be a perfect fit if your services are heavily geared toward business-to-business. The overall platform is more professional than most others, which can be tremendously beneficial for establishing your presence and helping foster credibility.


Irrespective of the platform you utilize, it's important to focus on key tools that can help to give you extra traction. Bio links, which are embedded URLs in your platform profile, can be used to drive potential customers or clients directly to your website or landing page, and these can be adjusted as needed to specifically highlight particular services or products you'd like to emphasize at a specific time. Aggregate services like Linktree can enable you to use a single link to connect to all of your other social media platforms, and a QR code can be used to send people directly to that link.


Regardless of its platform, a geotag is another component in the ongoing effort to help your business gain higher visibility. From an Instagram perspective, your posts will be lumped in with any other posts tagged from the same location, thus allowing your content to be discovered more easily. When utilizing geotagging on a YouTube video, you can enable viewers to find the physical location in which it was shot.


Social media can be time-consuming, but failing to do so is a disservice to your business. In an era when it can seem more challenging than ever to stand out from the crowd, using social media platforms is a no-cost to low-cost way to get your message to as many people as possible. Success can only come from determination and diligent effort, but you now have more platforms than ever to launch that pursuit.

 

Ready to elevate your small business with a powerful social media strategy? Contact ValorExcel today for expert social media management services. Let us help you increase your online presence, engage your audience, and drive business growth. Reach out now and start making the most of your social media platforms! Visit our website at https://www.valorexcel.com/book-online, to book your power hour session where you’ll meet with ValorExcel staff to get started. Or, call 240-329-9387 or email us at info@valorexcel.com, Also, don't forget to check our recent videos on YouTube by clicking HERE. #SocialMediaStrategy #BusinessGrowth #SmallBusinessSuccess #ValorExcel


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