But if there’s one thing to be said about social media – it’s pretty quick and easy to get up and going with some at least half decent activity. People value authenticity – or perceived authenticity – in their social media interactions with individuals and brands alike. You don’t have to look like a slick operation out of the gate – and it’s even more personable and engaging if you don’t.
With that in mind, here are 5 quick ideas to kick-start social media activity in your small business.
Get yourself set up on Hootsuite
We mentioned authenticity – but a keyword is “perceived” authenticity. You can create the impression that you’re updating your social media on the regs without actually having to actually sit there a do it. Invest a bit of time upfront and you can queue up a slew of posts which get posted daily without you having to do anything. This is a massive time-saver and ensures your followers stay engaged. So, how are you to achieve this? Set yourself up on a tool like Hootsuite. There are plenty of social media monitoring and scheduling platforms out there, but I mention Hootsuite because they have a free package allowing you to manage up to 3 social media accounts. You can also share the same message across as many accounts as you like (providing it falls within the character limits and other restrictions of each), saving you even more time. There is also the additional benefit of being able to create streams, which you can use to monitor particular accounts, keywords or hashtags.
Follow related accounts
Don’t be afraid to get out there and start following other businesses and individuals within your industry. Not necessarily competitors, but similar businesses are great to follow and engage with, and useful for getting some engagement with while you’re starting out. If you’re stuck for posting ideas, a strategic retweet or link share can show that you’re engaged with the industry without having to produce your own content. Use this wisely though – there’s nothing worse than a Twitter feed comprised completely of retweets (snore).
Share some testimonials
If you’re a relatively established business, chances are you’ve got a few happy customers who will be willing to sing your praises. Hit them up for a short quote about how much they enjoy working with you, and how much your product/service has helped them, and let them know you’re going to share it on social media. You can post this as just text, or for bonus points you could work it up into a nice image. You don’t need a Photoshop license or any design props to do this – maybe try a tool like Pablo by Buffer. Upload your own image or overlay text onto stock photography to create quick, shareable images – they come ready-made in ideal sizes for either Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook and Twitter (perfectly usable for LinkedIn too). When you post the testimonial, make sure you tag your customer if they have an account – they might share the post on their feed, giving a bit of extra exposure and engagement.
If you don’t have the time or resource to start up a blog and share your own content, sharing interesting articles related to your industry with added commentary from your unique perspective is a great place to start. A great way to find these stories is to set up Google Alerts for set phrases and keywords, and you’ll be emailed when news is published around these keywords at a frequency that suits you – as it happens, daily or weekly. Depending on the nature of your industry, you can choose to be informed only about results from the UK, and you can control the quality of the results you’re informed about by selecting “only the best results”. To make your alert specific, make sure to add quotes around your query, for example “education technology”. This will pick up on articles specifically mentioning that phrase, rather than everything mentioning “education” and/or “technology” – which could be significantly more to trawl through, and might not all be relevant to your business.
Once you’re off and running, make sure you’re using the right hashtags to give your posts that extra boost and exposure. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, a hashtag is a word or phrase appended to a social media post, which groups your post in with others using the same hashtag. So you can see what the benefit here is – if someone is monitoring the hashtag #catsareawesome, and you share a post with that hashtag, they’re more likely to see and engage with your content. Use them cleverly and conservatively though – over-doing it on the hashtags can be an instant engagement killer, and you can end up trying to be in too many places at once. Better to be focused and highly relevant, sticking to 2 or 3 hashtags, and most 5. Use a tool like Hashtagify to find popular hashtags for your content. Note that LinkedIn now uses something called Communities – when you use a hashtag, it’s no longer just that – each hashtag on LinkedIn is now linked to a community. To make sure you’re slotting into one that’s, you know, actually a thing, premium users can get a suggested list when they post. If it appears in the list, it’s a Community – and you should include it.
Keep at it
As I said at the start of the article, getting a sustainable social media strategy in place that really sets your communities and industry alight is no mean feat. But it’s so easy to get going even with the most minimal activity – all you need is some free tools and some internet smarts! If you’d like some more advice and a helping hand driving your social media strategy, get in touch.