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Improve Your Social (Media) Skills to Stay Relevant as a Small Business

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Around one third of the entire global population (and 60% of North America’s population) are active on social media. This is an enormous audience you simply cannot ignore as a small business in 2018. Engaging in a regular social media content strategy can increase your brand’s visibility, give your business a relatable voice, and increase your site traffic. You can reap all of these rewards and more when you use social media to your advantage. Here’s what you need to know.

The Importance of Social Media to a Small Business

If you aren’t sold on the returns of creating a social media marketing strategy, you haven’t done enough research. The statistics proving the importance of social media for businesses are staggering. For example, 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business – that’s more than the percentage of users that follow celebrities! There are more than 3.196 billion people actively using social media today. You can gain access to virtually all of them through your social media marketing strategy.

Social media is unique in marketing, because it allows a company to speak to consumers on their platforms of choice. It provides a way to connect and engage with customers through a channel that’s not a website, advertisement, or promotional email. Social media gives you more of an opportunity to show what your company is like on a personal level. Rather than just selling to customers, you’re building lasting, meaningful relationships through social media that can ultimately translate into brand loyalty.

Why are personal connections important? Because Millennials (currently the largest consumer class) are seeking these connections before they are willing to make purchases. Younger consumers want to feel close to the small businesses they support. One of the most popular outlets for searching for this personal connection is social media. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are the perfect foundations for showing your true self to your customers.

Tailor Your Strategy Per Platform

A rookie social media mistake many small businesses make is failing to tailor their posts based on the specific social media platform as well as the audience that uses it. First, you need to identify which social media sites are right for your brand to join based on the demographics of your desired audience. The Pew Research Center publishes annual studies on who is using different social sites. The 2018 data shows the following facts:

88% of people ages 18 to 29 use some form of social media, 78% of people ages 30 to 49, 64% ages 50 to 64, and 37% ages 65 and older.
The percentages of 18- to 24-year-olds on: YouTube (94%), Snapchat (78%), Instagram (71%), Twitter (45%).
68% of adults in the U.S. use Facebook, 54% use Snapchat, and 35% use Instagram.
Three-quarters of adults use YouTube.
Pinterest is more popular with women than men (41% to 16%, respectively).
High-income households and college grads are the main demographics on LinkedIn.
The majority of users on WhatsApp are Hispanic (49%), compared to 21% African American and 14% Caucasian.

Next, you need to learn all the basic dos and don’ts of your chosen social media platforms. Twitter, for example, limits the length of your posts, so don’t try to copy and paste blog content here. Instagram is perfect for photos, while Facebook might be better for long-form content. Tailor your social media strategy to match the platform you’re using as well as to your desired audience. Otherwise, you could be guilty of etiquette errors that do more harm than good for your company’s online reputation.

Master Social Media With Expert Tips and Tricks

Of course, to really wow your audience on social media, you’ll need to go above and beyond just the basics. You need to make your SM content shine. Lucky for you, thousands of other small businesses have figured out the secrets and best practices so you don’t have to. All you need to do is learn a few tips and apply them to your social media marketing strategy. Posting like a pro can help you really make an impression on your audience. Use these expert tips:

Add videos and images. Enhance your posts by including relevant images, videos, and infographics to make them more attention-grabbing. Remember, your content will pop up in a feed with hundreds of other posts. Make your small business stand out by drawing the eye with high-quality visual content.
Don’t be afraid of emotion (or emojis!). Social media is not a place to be stoic. Users want and expect business accounts to show their raw, real, and human sides on social media. Feel free to express a range of emotions that match your desired message, including humor, sarcasm, and happiness. Sprinkle in emojis generously!
Look to add value, not to sell. One of the most important insider tips is to use social media as an outlet for adding value to your audience, not just for pushing your products. Consumers (particularly younger Americans) don’t always react positively to advertisements on social media. They log on to connect with brands they follow, not necessarily to deal with salesy speak.

Now you’re ready to apply these tips to a real small business social strategy! Start creating your accounts and mapping out your social media content strategy to boost your business.

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