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Social Media for Small Business: Where to begin?

 

Because small businesses are already pulled in so many directions, it can be difficult to commit time and money to maintaining a social media presence. Maintaining social media has no guarantee of an immediate payoff and only vague promises of future growth. But it’s also one of the most critical aspects of managing a business. Social media is the funnel that future customers will flow through and current customers will stay engaged with. For a small business, maintaining a social media presence can seem like a questionable use of effort and capital. But it’s one of the most critical steps to reach the next level. 

Everyone knows that time and money are precious to a small business. Therefore, it’s critical that any effort spent on social media is efficient. If your business doesn’t have a dedicated social media person, someone will need to take the role on in addition to their regular duties. In these cases, staying up to date on social media trends and implementation is important to keep the person handling social media duties on track.

Spending Time Efficiently

Anyone who’s ever logged on to social media can tell you how incredible it is at wasting time. As mentioned, time is at a premium for small businesses, especially those trying to add social media outreach to their already-overfilled plate. The most important thing to remember when implementing social media is to spend time efficiently. It can be tempting to check over and over to see if your business was mentioned on Twitter or Facebook, or to respond to unkind feedback. Keeping a laser focus on the task you’re trying to accomplish is critical for small businesses that want to dive into social media.

Spending Money Efficiently

Just like time, money is tight for many small businesses. Social media can bring in plenty of attention and business, but it’s important not to overspend on it. It’s usually free to create an account on social media sites, but marketing and ad spend can raise costs quickly. Remember what your reasons are for setting up social media accounts and stick to them. If you’re looking to make your business more visible or interact with customers, don’t try to do more than that too quickly. Any small business knows that trying to do too much at once will sink you, but this lesson is worth repeating when it comes to social media. Social media platforms will try encourage you to spend money to advertise and promote, but without a solid understanding on what techniques work best you’ll just be filling their pockets for not much reward to yourself and your business. 

Focus on the Right Networks

Over 10 million Australians are active on Facebook and Instagram. Although it might take some time to stand out among the thousands of other companies active on those networks, the end result will be worth it. With such a massive user population, you only need to capture the attention of a small percentage to succeed. But that’s just one side of the coin. If you focus your social media attention on a smaller, specific network, you may find a better fit. Plenty of niche social networks exist for things like beer, books, and birdwatching. If your business wants to connect with fans of a specific hobby,  it might be worth checking there first.

Learn from your Mistakes

No small business sets out to make mistakes, but everyone does. What separates the successful business from those that fail is the ability to do better the next time. Your first foray into social media may not go as planned. You might have to deal with particularly nasty trolls or receive negative attention from established accounts. But as time goes on, you’ll get more familiar with corporate social media interactions and learn from your experience. Even massive corporations occasionally make mistakes on social media.

KFC Australia made headlines back in 2016 with a poorly-thought-out (and very adult) tweet intending to advertise their spicy chicken. Whilst they backtracked, apologised, and deleted the tweet, it’s still one of the top results when you Google KFC Australia. This leads into another important social media guideline.

It’s Almost Impossible to Un-post

While “delete” is a more common term, it’s not an accurate one. You can delete anything you want, but you can’t go back and save it from going into cyberspace. Rest assured that if you follow in KFC Australia’s footsteps and make a major mistake, you’ll likely be hearing about it for the rest of your company’s lifespan. This isn’t necessarily a death knell (after all, plenty of people still eat KFC in Australia!) but it’s a hurdle you don’t want to have to deal with. Social media can be a rush to post sometimes. It’s alright to take a second and be 1000% sure you want to send your message into permanent cyberspace. Everyone has an embarrassing internet story, but you don’t want it to be indelibly associated with your brand.

The Bottom Line on Small Business Social Media

Making the leap to a dedicated social media presence is a big deal. Not only will it increase your bottom line and customer engagement, it’s basically a necessity to be taken seriously in the business world. But there are plenty of challenges that come along with social media, and it’s alright to be nervous about them.

Nearly every company of any size has some sort of dedicated social media presence. But not all of them take the steps necessary to succeed. These are some solid guidelines to get started, but most of your social media training will come from experience. If you’re looking for more information on managing social media for your small business (or just more help with small business in general) make sure to check out some of the other Nationwide articles. For some ideas on implementing simple social media marketing, check out one of the Nationwide articles on the subject. If you’re not seeing something you’re looking for on the main page, don’t hesitate to contact us today. 

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