Lessons Learned: Social Media for Small Businesses

August 19, 2020

Social Media for Small Businesses

This guest post comes from the wonderful Casey Watson. I've known her husband since high school and actually had the opportunity to help him with his branding/website for Fiscal Fluency a while back. So fun! When I found out Casey was a talented copywriter (who is familiar with the Storybrand marketing framework), I knew I had to hire her write a couple of posts for the Ember & Co community. You're going to love her! You can check out her other post here: 4 Ways to Improve your Marketing.

Social networks are strange marketing tools. They’re wonderful platforms for advertising goods and services, but they often demand more than fancy photography and catchy slogans. They require a human element that encourages a connection between you and your client. 

As the social media manager for a marketing agency, I’ve learned that small businesses can make a significant impact on these platforms.

They just need to showcase their brand personalities and effectively connect to their communities. 

The following are a few, simple content lessons I’ve learned while managing accounts for a variety of businesses from car washes to HVAC companies.* I hope they boost your engagement, and as a result, your sales. 

Post about more than what you’re selling. 

Think carefully about why people might want to follow your page. If you’re a retail business selling items like clothes or cars, your audience probably wants to see your latest merchandise, so you should post about that often. 

Honestly, though, that’s not always the case. Many people aren’t interested in a constant rotation of posts about your pest control options or your plumbing services. That’s why you should publish a variety of content. Use educational material associated with your industry, deal and discount promotions, inspirational content, and posts that give your brand personal flair.  

Use original photography whenever possible.

You want your social media feed to look professional—but you also want it to look authentic. Stock photos will do in a pinch, but it’s usually best to use actual images of your business and of employees assisting clients. This will give your audience faces and names with whom to connect, and you’ll also enjoy a boost in reach because people typically like and comment on photos of those they know. Just make sure that your clients or customers sign off on any images that include them.  

Go behind the scenes.

Give your brand personality by showcasing the team behind it. Post employee highlights, photos of your team working together on projects, or images of your co-workers simply enjoying each other’s company. Help your audience connect to your company by connecting to your people. 

Connect to the community. 

Show that your business is more than a brand—it’s an essential part of the community. Take opportunities to wish the local high school basketball team good luck during a big game or show photos of your team participating in local events. 

And, once you make connections with followers, build relationships. Don’t forget to reply to every comment made on your posts and start conversations. This will forge bonds with your customer base and help boost your content’s reach. 

Be charitable.

Use social media channels to advocate for causes that are close to your heart. Get the word out about your favorite nonprofit’s needs and post images of your team’s involvement in fundraisers and volunteer opportunities. Not only will this do some good, but it will also build a connection with people who care about the same cause. 

Use video. 

This is actually general advice for all businesses. Videos are becoming increasingly important for social media engagement. According to SocialMediaToday, Facebook posts get the most engagement when they include videos, and 75% of Instagram users take action after watching videos from brands. It might seem daunting to think about creating sleek productions, but innovators are making it easy. In fact, YouTube has just launched a free DIY tool for businesses that want to create short video ads. Try it out and get creative!

Keep testing new ideas.

If you haven’t noticed, the world of social media changes quickly. What works today probably won’t work tomorrow, so keep searching for innovative ways to connect with your audience. 

That’s really my most significant piece of advice—stay creative.

Don’t let your content grow stagnant because your progress will follow suit. 

* Because every network is different, these lessons apply best to Facebook and Instagram.  

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Caitlin Shannon, Founder of Ember & Co Website Design Studio

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