Algorithms and analytics and AI chatbots, oh my! No wonder small and medium-sized businesses find social media daunting. All those moving parts, all the time – and just when you’ve got it down, platforms evolve.
The silver lining: While each social media platform offers a smorgasbord of features, small and medium-sized businesses usually win by sticking to the basics. Focus on thoughtful content that maps to your business goals, with a few rules of thumb in mind:
1. Have your house in order
Before you put your brand out there, you need a social media strategy – defined social media goals, tactics for achieving them, and metrics for measuring it all.
You also want to be explicitly clear on who your brand is and how it’s presented. Have your brand voice and standards together and make sure all team members understand and honor them – not just in posts, but when responding to comments or DMs and in communication overall.
2. Quality over quantity
Well-considered, well-executed content that benefits users trumps a flurry of generic “filler” posts every time. Consider: What do your customers and qualified prospects crave? What’s most likely to boost their impression of your service, product, and brand? What’s likely to convert prospects to customers? Once you’ve created posts, proofread them and be sure to use high-quality graphics and videos. Each social media platform has specs for sizing and resolution for all possible file formats; bookmark these and make sure your creative follows suit before posting.
Discussions about post quality lead to conversations about post frequency – a loaded topic, partly because best practices vary from one platform to the next. Familiarize yourself with those best practices and don’t be afraid to test posting frequencies on different platforms to see what works best. Vary your content types, too (something educational on Monday, something fun on Wednesday, etc.) to avoid monotony and to encourage comments and reposts.
3. Leverage performance insights
Almost all social platforms offer insights into audience demographics (who’s viewing, who’s engaging). Use these to your advantage! Say you sell products for men and women in the 35 to 55 age range – but analytics show that your social media is resonating mainly with women 35 to 40. If that’s what’s working on social, go with it! Tailor content to fit this more specific and responsive audience instead of fighting tooth and nail to reach your entire demographic – then use analytics to continue tracking results. Remember, you can always run campaigns to gain a broader audience, or followers of other stripes.
4. Stick to right-fit platforms
You don’t need a massive social media plan across ten platforms to be successful. Assess which platforms make the most sense for your brand. Choose one or two, then try expanding to one more that is most likely to speak to your audience. A medical device company active on Facebook may not be an obvious fit for TikTok, for example, but might find success on LinkedIn. A beauty brand active on Facebook will likely find a lot of their audience on TikTok.
Some companies choose to maintain a presence on all platforms, but allocate the most resources to the two or three deemed the best fit.
5. Play nice
There’s a social code to social media. Chief among its rules: Ensure what you’re posting is accurate, comes from credible sources or from inside your own business, and make sure to credit the original author, artist, or source.
We all make mistakes sometimes, but social media can be unforgiving in this regard. You’ve heard of cancel culture. Businesses who don’t credit others or who fail to apologize for mistakes have been known to become its victims.
6. Hire an agency
Maybe when you hear agency you picture mythic Manhattan offices well beyond your budget, full of suits sipping scotch (thanks, Mad Men #wink).
Good news: agencies have evolved. Today’s are far more nimble and accessible. They keenly understand small and medium-sized businesses’ social media needs, and cost far less than what you’d spend on an internal social media manager. With a full-service agency, social media’s many moving parts – photos, design, content, proofreading – are off your plate yet perfectly aligned with your business and brand.
Ready to harness social without losing your mind? Learn more about Hammer Marketing’s benefits for SMBs.