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7 steps to better social media results for small businesses

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Social media has become a marketing phenomenon. As a (mostly) free marketing tool, it offers businesses of all sizes incredible opportunities from basic brand awareness all the way through to customer advocacy and endorsements.

With approximately five million small businesses in the UK – most with some degree of social media presence – it is of little surprise that many believe they need additional help to get the most out of their social media strategy. In fact, when asked, roughly half (47%) of marketers identified the need to create a cohesive social media strategy that aligned with their business goals as their number one challenge. The reasons for this are, of course, many and varied.

 

Pain Point Solutions

We asked businesses the following questions, “What are the main business pain points you face with social media?” and “How do you overcome them?”. Throughout this blog we’re going to break down what we discovered. We’ll then give suggestions on how to overcome these pain points.

Pain point 1: I’m always busy

There aren’t many small businesses out there that have a dedicated marketing team or person. Because of this, marketing the business often gets pushed to the bottom of priority list. Social media marketing is part of this.

Solution:

In an ideal world, the answer to this issue is to get someone else to do it. That’s either by employing someone or outsourcing the work to a third party. Either way, most businesses that are successful at social media marketing are utilising a dedicated resource to manage their social channels due to the time commitments required to reap the rewards.

If you have to do it yourself, there are at least a number of free or low-cost online tools (like socialsendr) that can help you build, organise and schedule your content. While these offer varying degrees of value, they are unlikely to be as beneficial as having a dedicated person managing them in the team.

Pain point 2: I don’t have the staff with the right skillset

When it comes to staff resources, small business and sole traders are always at a disadvantage compared to their larger counterparts. Your team (assuming you have one) are likely to already be doing multiple roles to keep the business running. Adding a social media responsibility on one of them does not necessarily mean you’ll instantly get the best results.

As many people have discovered, social media marketing isn’t such a simple task. To be effective, it requires planning and continual management – even if that is 15-20 minutes a day. Setting aside ‘best intentions’, the big reason many small businesses don’t keep social media marketing as consistent and communicative as they would like, is that they run out of things to say or lack the necessary tools or capabilities that would help.

Solution:

As with being too busy (above), the only real solution for small businesses has been to outsource the work to a local media agency. However, the majority don’t outsource, preferring to soldier on themselves, posting content and messaging as and when they can. This is where it’s important to strike a balance in how you communicate your brand.

Pain point 3: I’m not very creative

It goes without saying that some people are more creative than others. Unfortunately, most small businesses do not directly involve creative skills (for example, accountants, plumbers, medical practitioners etc). And while some try hard to bring some degree of artistic professionalism to their marketing output, often it falls far short of more resourceful competitors. The result often means more infrequent posting, as well as poorer quality.

Solution:

Spend some time working out, as a team, key messages you want to communicate as a brand. Are there certain products/services you should talk about? How about events? Once you’ve brainstormed some ideas, then ask yourself if you need a designer or photographer to help create the content. If you need someone to help write captions for posts, see what social media or copywriters are in your network to use.

Pain point 4: I need inspiration

It is surprising just how well people respond to inspiration. Many people steer away from social media simply because they can’t think of what to say. When speaking to clients, we’ve found that when we’ve suggested 4-5 simple ideas for content, they have nearly all said “yes, I could post content or media about that”.

Inspiration and ‘nudging’ business owners daily with posting ideas and content suggestions has proven time and again to deliver greatly improved results.

Solution:

Something as simple as creating a ‘topic’ list for each day of the week where you use one day each week to discuss or share a specific subject or theme. Here’s a simple example:

  • Monday – share a famous/well-known quote related to your industry or customers to help motivate them for the week to come.
  • Tuesday – write no more than two paragraphs about a single great feature, function or benefit of a product or service you offer your customers.
  • Wednesday – share an historic image, event or article from your industry, business or service (such as “on this day in in 1940, the first McDonald’s fast-food restaurant opened in San Bernardino, California.”).
  • Thursday – share a useful or unusual statistic or post a fun fact about your industry, business, or customers.
  • Friday – create a simple poll asking your customers to share their preference or opinion. You can later use this information to create new content for your Tuesday posts!

Top tip: do some research around key dates that occur each month that align with your brand, business or customers.

Pain point 5: I have no budget for this type of marketing activity

This is almost always at the top of most people’s challenge list. Let’s face it, whether you employ someone to manage your social media or farm it out to a marketing agency, it gets expensive really quickly. Small businesses who invest in social media spend between 4-8 hours a week managing and creating content. At low wage rates, that equates to something like £330-£400 a month.

Solution:

Once again, faced with such overheads, lots of business will follow the do-it-yourself route, leading to the well-known ‘infrequent’ and less than stellar quality output. Occasionally, some owners have bitten the bullet and turned to paying a 3rd party to assist them.

 

Pain point 6: I don’t have the opportunity to be on top of this every day.

Frequent and consistent content posting really matters. Sticking to a schedule and publishing regularly is one of the simplest ways to ensure social media marketing pays off. Research by Curata found that over 90% of the most successful businesses on social media posted at least once a day.

Solution:

Logically, of course, posting once a day stands a 500% more chance of being seen or responded to than posting only once a week.

Create a schedule that enables you to share content regularly throughout the week. Help your followers and customers by getting used to expecting content at certain times of the day on certain days. If you are consistent, people will be more likely to look out for or identify your posts when they go out.

Pain point 7: I need to strengthen my brand

If you are out of sight, you are out of mind. A big issue for many is that of “if only more people knew about us”. And it’s a truism that the wider you are known, the greater the likelihood of new business. Yet advertising can cost money. So how can social media help with this, without looking like annoying sales spam?

Solution:

Every time you post something, you ARE promoting your brand. The more you post, the more it’s seen (but be careful to not be too spammy). If you post a variety of informative and useful content, you can elevate your brand visibility without coming across as always selling something.

Sharing ideas, advice, tips, statistics, opinion and so on with the right hashtags will get you noticed by people looking for help on those matters. Again, if you post often (at least daily), you increase the chances of being visible and in doing so building your brand both visually and subconsciously.

In the UK there are approximately 35 million Facebook users, 13 million Twitter users and 20 million on LinkedIn. By ignoring these social media channels as an essential part of your marketing strategy, you are missing out on new potential customer opportunities.

A good social media strategy will certainly help your sales efforts as it increases the exposure of your business, its value and gets people talking and sharing. That’s where we can help.

Socialsendr is a social media marketing app developed for small businesses who don’t have the time, money or creativity to grow their digital communities in a consistent and frequent way. 

Super simple to use, you select your industry/interest preferences, then set how often you want posts to go out. That’s it! Each day you will see additional content that you can share as well. And everything is fully editable.

Try it free for 14 days.

Can we ask a small favour?

Just like you, we try to build our business and brand through shares, likes and referrals. If you’ve enjoyed this post or think you know someone who would, please use the share buttons below (and above) to let your communities know about it too.
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