There were times where small cafés, restaurants and shops had no online presence, but their business was doing great. Nowadays it’s pretty hard to imagine a successful business without a website or any presence on social media networks. People have turned increasingly idle nowadays and no longer have to rely on remembering information such as, for example, opening times of their local shop; we rely on Google Maps for almost any destination; we check everything on the internet making it impossible for small businesses to be successfully without creating an almost equally strong presence online as their bigger contenders. We, therefore, decided to put together an article on how to use social media for business, which will mainly be targeted at small and medium business owners who are not able to throw the same amount of money into marketing as larger businesses are.
We often hear stories from business owners who say that social media is not working for them. They post constantly, let’s say on Facebook and Instagram, but grow by no more than 10-50 followers a month. Nobody is visiting their shop as a result of their presence on social media. The solution seems pretty obvious for us because we understand the importance of using social media platforms to really work to get to know your customer, rather than just being present. Remember: without engagement, advertisement, collaborations, and decent content, you are not going to succeed on any social media network. Let’s take Instagram as an example, which is a platform for sharing visual content and was first very popular among foodies, but now is a great platform for businesses where you can make Live broadcasts, post Stories (pictures and videos which disappear after 24hours), speak to literally anyone via direct messages and be a great platform for informational purposes. Here is a great example of a business page, which we manage:
As you can see, Instagram is a pretty cool social media platform for business where you can say what your business is specialising in. in very few words, as well as share your contact details (email/phone number) and directions to your business (Google Maps location). So to succeed on Instagram (more or less same tips apply for any other social media network) you need:
- Quality content
- The word “quality” doesn’t necessarily mean high resolution photos by professional photographers. Right now, the latest smartphone cameras are beyond good enough for your store managers/cashiers/floor staff to generate decent quality content for your business. There are still people that use the “Paint” programme to edit their pictures or post some generic content found via Google Images (stock images). Businesses have to use their own content, directly related to their business. User Generated Content shows good results as well.
- Content Plan
- You need to make sure that you generate a different type of content. Utilize videos, make photos, and also create interesting “Stories” under each post. People tend to love transparent businesses where they know who is behind the business, so that they feel like they’re buying something from a good friend. The relationship between the customer and the business is very important and if you fail to create a good link then you’re not using social media for business at its full potential. There is different type of content you should post, because if you just try to sell, sell, sell your product people will be quick to unfollow you. It should be behind the scenes, some pain points of your business, customer reviews, success stories, how the business started, etc.
- Social media networks are partially used by many businesses to create a conversation between the brand and the customer. Twitter is widely used as a customer support platform, without the need of any call centre or separate chat feature on the business website. If a person asks you a question on any social media platform you need to reply. The sooner you do that the better. If you ignore the query, you are losing that customer 99% of the time, or at least negatively affecting your brand reputation. If we move onto Instagram, then it’s pretty important to track any mentions of your business, and if a customer is visiting your restaurant for example, you should at least thank them and see if they were completely satisfied with your service.
- To use social media for business to its full potential you can’t neglect the presence of paid advertisement features on every social media platform. Some are completely against that; others say that they don’t have a budget for paid promotions – that is completely the wrong way to go about making a presence on social media. In order to boost your sales, number of followers, improve engagement rates, you need to invest. If you don’t have a monthly marketing budget in place, then there is something wrong with your business plan. For example, for one of our clients, we managed to get a lead for the price of £2.32 for a monthly rolling contract of £19.99. With £10 aweek, a lot can be done whether that be on Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads or Twitter Ads – the three main platforms we are using here at Yolka Digital for Paid Socials.
- Campaigns are not only paid ads. You can, for example, do a giveaway for your existing followers. For one of our clients, we successfully created collaborations with other local businesses. One of the ideas is for various local businesses to donate one of their product or services towards a big giveaway, which you run on a big page, for example on a local bloggers page. If you’re not interested in giveaways, which don’t always attract your exact target audience, there is also a great way to increase your brand awareness and get new clients: influencer marketing. This type of campaign is very complicated to organise, but usually comes at a lower cost than running advertisement campaigns with the local radio station or newspaper outlets. If you check our Case Study for a Copenhagen based café, then you will see we managed to bring 30 local influencers. Their posts about our clients’ café were seen by more than 52 thousand people on Instagram. Influencers also created content for the business, which we could use, thus saving time and money on generating our own content. Moreover, during this month, when we ran the influencers campaign, there was significant growth in followers and an increase in TripAdvisor reviews.
Social media for business also works brilliantly as a feedback platform, where you can find out if any of your staff is not performing to the standards you want or maybe your business is missing something. Some restaurants tend to ask their followers what kind of dish they would like them to introduce or maybe some of the dishes on the menu are lacking something. No need to hire a food consultant to do that anymore, just ask your followers! You can also do new menu launch parties and use it as PR so that your followers and local influencers give you some feedback on it. This will also make them feel very special and they will most likely become your very happy long-term customers.
Our team of experts have worked with different businesses from various different industries, but the main “pillars” of successful social media accounts are Content, Plan, Engagement, and Campaigns.