After a long period of getting to know each other, Social Media and Business are still awkward bed fellows. Sure, business success stories abound throughout the online communities, but at small business gatherings across the country, it’s still the elephant in the room.
So why the reluctance? Well, it seems that the biggest fear amongst small business owners is the fear that a move into social media could turn into one of those exercises best described as “lots of effort, for little return.”
And in fairness, the fear is justified, particularly for social media campaigns that are unfocussed, intermittent, and generally ill-conceived. To get the biggest bang for your buck, businesses need to take a smarter approach, concentrating on the low hanging fruit – that is, doing the little things that make the biggest impact.
So here’s a list of the top 4 steps to getting bang for your Social Media buck – also known as ‘little effort, for maximum return’.
1. Choose the right social media channels.
Think they’re all the same? They’re not. Facebook is by far the best medium to talk directly to your customers, LinkedIn is ideal for Business to Business conversations (particularly if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry). And twitter is the tool if you want to be noticed on specialty topics, and by the local press.
2. Post regularly, and in ‘peak’ times
Posting daily is one of the best social media strategies. It may seem extreme, but it provides the ideal level of visibility, without crossing that line of spending too much time away from other aspects of the business.
Then there’s the question of when to post?
There isn’t a simple answer here, as it’s entirely dependent upon the way your target audience behave online. As a guide, you’ll gain the best traction through Facebook from 7am-8am, and from 3pm- 5pm, with Thursdays and Fridays gaining a whopping 18% increase over the other days of the week.
For LinkedIn, you should focus on before and after work hours, and for twitter, the best hours are 1pm to 3pm (with weekends far more effective than weekdays).
3. Focus on engagement
The idea behind posting on social media is to connect and get a response from your community. Try asking questions, posting helpful tips, linking to articles your business and audience share in common.
When you post, make it about your audience and what they need, and try to avoid selling. If you do this, you will develop a richer and deeper relationship with you community.
4. Be exceptional
There is no shortcut to being exceptional. Always seek to try new things, test new ideas and be fresh and relevant. This is not only a healthy practice for your business, but a way for you to provide unique value for fans.
Being exceptional lets you tell exceptional, unique, and fresh stories in a way that other brands in your industry may not be able to. It’s all about setting yourself apart.