I recently had the opportunity to teach a class at the Rochester Brainery, a community classroom space that offers one-time classes on pretty much any topic you can imagine. Whether you want to make a wreath, learn about paranormal activity, or decorate a cake like a pro, the Brainery has you covered.
My class was on Social Media for Small Businesses; we had a great group and the attendees asked awesome questions. The class was comprehensive and chock-full of examples and activities! On the blog today I’m sharing just a taste of what it was like and some key takeaways that may help you as a business owner.
Choosing Your Platforms
As a small business owner, you likely have a lot on your plate. Social media is something that needs to get done, and you may not have time to be strategic about. Often, business owners hop on every single social media platform, just for the sake of having a presence.
It’s more important to select a few platforms and do a good job managing them than to be on every platform that exists and do a poor job delivering engaging content. It’s all about quality over quantity.
Give a little bit of thought to what kinds of content your business will share and who your target audience is. If your content is more visual, Instagram may be a good place to start. If you’ll have short, concise bites of information, Twitter may be ideal. Sprout Social has some helpful guidance for you about the demographics you’ll find on each platform, so give this article a read for more details.
Developing Voice & Tone
Another often-overlooked factor in launching your company’s social media presence is what kind of voice and tone you’ll use on social media. If multiple team members are helping with social media, your voice may sound inconsistent or confusing. It’s important to get everyone on the same page when developing the brand’s voice.
Brainstorm adjectives that you’d like your customers to think of when your brand comes to mind. Helpful, funny, approachable, informative. Anything goes! Use these as a jumping off point when crafting your posts.
Your tone will vary based on context—for example, replying to a question versus replying to a nasty comment. What’s your policy on how you respond to each? What kind of tone will you use?
Before you get too ahead of yourself with your business’s social media game, step back and set some goals. Pause and think about what’s actually realistic for your company to achieve. I’ve seen far too many Instagrammers post “help us get to 10k followers by the end of the year!” when it’s December 10th, they have 7,113 followers, and they gain maybe 20 followers a week.
A good rule of thumb, even for social media, is to set SMART goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Break your goals down into more manageable chunks by figuring out what tasks are necessary to make them happen. Delegate if you can, and find support from peers, family, and friends!
Scheduling posts is a huge timesaver for business owners and I highly recommend it! If you’ve ever thought, “Shoot, we haven’t posted in two weeks. We really need to post”—those days are over once you start using a scheduling tool.
Many platforms offer free, built-in scheduling tools. The Facebook scheduler can be glitchy at times, but is solid otherwise. Tweetdeck is an excellent way to manage your Twitter account, and allows you to set up separate columns for notifications, scheduled tweets, your news feeds, hashtag monitoring, and more.
Instagram is a little trickier, but there are a lot of good third party options out there. My personal favorite is Planoly, though I often hear good things about Later, Plann, and Buffer. If you have a business account (and select a paid plan, in some cases) then auto-posting is available.
Once you start scheduling your social content, you’ll forget you ever managed things any other way!
Reviewing the Data
Make sure to take time each month to review the data and see how things are going. Facebook and Instagram Insights and Twitter Analytics are great places to start. Be on the lookout for patterns. What types of posts perform the best? What gets the most comments? What kind of content do people not engage with? The goal is to create more content that resonates with people, so review the data, accept the feedback, and adapt.
What classes would you like to see me teach in the future? I’d love to hear what you’re interested in—just tweet me at @servemethesky!