Social Media Pro Tips All Small Businesses Should KnowDavid Cawthon
By Novella Brandhouse, Guest Contributor
Recently, local Kansas City ad agency, Novella Brandhouse, was recognized for its achievements in social media at the annual AMPS KC awards, and the team took home several Gold and Silver awards. Today, Novella Brandhouse shares its philosophy and approach to social media and how small businesses can make this marketing tool work for them.
Here at Novella Brandhouse, we work with a lot of small and emerging businesses. There’s so much to do with managing bills and clients that it’s often hard for business owners to devote the time to really turn their social media into the great tool it can be.
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Choose the Right Platform
Finding the right platform for your voice is essential. Every social platform is like a party. We tend to enjoy the parties where we feel the most comfortable. So if you often find yourself on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, start there. The biggest time commitment of social media is giving it the attention it deserves and responding to the conversations in your space. Starting out on a platform you already enjoy and understand will make that easier. If you’re new to social media, Facebook is probably the easiest place to start.
OK, everyone is here, which can get annoying. But honestly, if your demographic is older, this is your party. At the very least, most companies should have a Facebook business page because it can help with SEO. It’s also an efficient funnel for content since you can easily schedule posts. Taking it a step further, advertising on Facebook lets you target your desired audience and reach new, potential customers.
Twitter is a great platform if you’re a person of few words (280 characters to be exact) or enjoy an ongoing conversation and following discussions via hashtags. If you attend a lot of conferences or events, include the specific-event hashtag so you can interact with other attendees or speakers. Twitter is also a good fit for technical service industries.
If you’re a retail-oriented business—especially a visual-driven business like clothing, crafts or art— Instagram is the place for you. You’ve probably seen a lot of companies use this platform. It’s excellent for boutiques or other product-based stores because you can create an Instagram business account, list the prices of your products in the photo and direct people to your e-commerce store.
As fun as Instagram and Pinterest are, B2B companies might not find their home on those platforms. LinkedIn is perfect for B2B businesses because it’s the social network of the business world. It’s great for promoting thought leadership content, especially if you’re a growing company looking for new hires.
Video is a worthy medium if your products or services are best displayed by educating potential customers. This is a fantastic platform for technical or mechanical businesses where you can film a walkthrough of how to use your product.
People love Pinterest for inspiration, good recipes and projects. This platform can be especially useful if you’re a clothing retailer. Grocery stores can utilize Pinterest to share recipes, and landscape companies can feature greenscaping projects. Many teachers use Pinterest for educational games and instructional resources. If you work at a school, this channel can work for you.
Get Ahead of Yourself
Designated Driver (Social Person)
If all of this seems overwhelming, try focusing on the one platform the greatest portion of your audience uses. If you have the budget and a bigger team, it might be better for someone else in your company (or a friend or family member with experience) to manage social. Poll your team and see if someone is interested in running your social accounts. This doesn’t mean one person has to do it all. Maybe one person really loves Instagram and another is always on Twitter. They can run those company accounts on their respective preferred social platform.
PLEASE keep in mind that you need to place your social presence in the hands of someone you can trust to be respectful and accurately portray the voice of your brand. A great way to regulate this is by having a social calendar and brand standards document. This ensures you have consistent content and messaging and that everyone is speaking about your company using the right words.
Hootsuite and Buffer
Both Hootsuite and Buffer are fabulously efficient online tools for scheduling your content. If you become really fond of them, you can upgrade to a pro version and get more perks. On Hootsuite and Buffer, you can schedule your content over popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. On Buffer, you can tailor your content for each platform. Plus, if you keep things simple and use only a few social accounts, you can use these services for free.
Unfold lets you plan your Instagram stories. It’s a really beautiful format that allows you to design your content in a visually pleasing way if you don’t always like the limited fonts and abilities in the regular Instagram app. You can then download your stories you’ve made on Unfold and easily upload them to your Instagram stories. Take note that these are basically just collages and photos made for Instagram Stories. You will still need to type in and tag people and locations once you upload your pre-made stories.
Preview lets you plan your Instagram posts. The service essentially makes sure everything is lined up, edited, has a caption and has saved hashtags so you’re ready to go. It sends you a notification when it’s time to post so when you do, everything is filled in. It’s a pretty fluid system and great if you often forget to post to your Instagram account.
Be Yourself + Find Your Voice
At the end of the day, be true to yourself and your brand. You don’t need to tackle every social platform. Start out with one or two that make the most sense for your business and that you will most naturally check.
Don’t try to be something you’re not. If your work isn’t too exciting, you don’t have to post about it. There are plenty of companies out there that have a great work culture, and instead of talking about their services, often post photos or quotes from around the office. Maybe what makes their company special is how funny their people are. Followers like to see behind the scenes of your business; it makes you seem more human.
Remember, people like to do business with people they like.
Novella Brandhouse is an award-winning branding and marketing agency. Its team of strategists and artists helps businesses find their voice. Its social strategies, campaigns, and designs have won multiple awards. The WBE-certified company is powered by a lot of coffee and nestled in the heart of the KC Crossroads. To learn more about Novella Brandhouse and how it markets for small and emerging businesses, check out its website and blog at novellabrandhouse.com.