7 Small Business Social Media Strategies to focus on in 2018

A lot is changing when it comes to Small Business Social Media Strategies. What should you be focusing on? 

In this post I break down 7 strategies that will help to move the needle in your business with content and social media – some of them more simple than you think! 

7 Small Business Social Media Strategies to focus on in 2018
Image by Shutterstock

BY DONNA MORITZ  |  UPDATED MAY 2018  |  CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS

It’s that time of year when I get asked a lot (a lot) about my predictions every year.  I am no futurist (far from it) but I do keep an eye on what’s working, what’s starting to work and what’s new and shiny (but not necessarily a proven strategy yet).

So in this post, I wanted to share my tips for how to approach social media strategies in 2018 to get results.  Some of the tips may seem obvious. But ask yourself, are you doing them? I bet (just a hunch) that you’ll find at least a couple of things in this list that you need to be doing more of… or need to start doing… including me.  I’m writing this for me as much as for anyone else!

i’m not going to tell you to start creating Virtual Reality Videos or start a ChatBot in this post – they are all things that can work but I’m keeping it simple. These are  low cost resources and missed opportunities that you may not yet be leveraging, but are easy to start getting results from.  Once you have these in check.. then move on to something new!

Here are my tips for small business Social Media Strategies for 2018 and most likely into 2019, in no particular order:

7 Small Business Social Media Strategies to Move the Needle in Your Business in 2018

#1.  Survey Your Audience (So You Can Give them What they Need)

Something that will remain important this year will be to survey your audience or customers.    If you think doing a survey is a daunting task, don’t worry – there are many ways to do it!

Here’s an article I wrote that shares 19 ways you can survey your ideal audience.. even if you don’t have an email list yet!

19 Easy Ways to Survey Your Audience and then Crush it with Content
Meerkats by Shutterstock

Surveying your audience gives you valuable information about what your ideal customer is struggling with, what inspires then and how you can help them. Then, guess what? … you can create content that solves those problems, inspires them and helps them.

Conducting a survey helps to identify their challenges, and then you can use the information to segment and tailor your content to give your customers exactly what they want in terms of social media content, blog content, videos and more.

TIPS TO GET STARTED:

  • Ask a simple question that will force people to narrow down their single biggest challenge. ie What is your single biggest challenge when it comes to using Facebook? Getting more customer? or keeping customer?  Whatever it is, narrow it down to one topic initially. You can always ask follow up questions but this type of initial question helps to shine a light on areas you should focus on.
  • Look for the long responses – these are the people who are likely your ideal customer.
  • Use the language they use – if you get longer, more detailed responses, take note of the language they use and start to use some of that language in emails, on your website and on any sales pages. It’s going to be more effective if you “speak their language” in terms that resonate with your audience.

#2  Create Social Video

Social video is huge and will only get bigger – with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (even LinkedIn) pushing native video on their newsfeeds. And if you create square video you can repurpose it across all the platforms!

By social video, I mean short video of 3-90 seconds.  Usually 1 minute is the sweet spot (though this depends entirely on your audience or platform). The key here is to create video. Here are some tips for getting started, in case you missed this recent post:

7 Easy Ways You Need to Create Social Video Right Now
Image by Shutterstock

If you are panicking about all the virtual reality, live video, augmented video stuff you are hearing, then stop for a moment. Breathe.. and listen. You don’t have to jump into all that tech!  Start simply with some social video. Read more here about why you don’t necessarily need to jump into live video straight away.

TIPS TO GET STARTED:

  • Use tools like wave.video and Animoto to create social videos easily and quickly. Their templates are super easy to use!
  • Make sure your videos are useful and entertaining, even with the sound off – 85% of us watch video with the sound off!
  • Consider using square video on Facebook and Instagram or even vertical video on Facebook and Instagram Stories

If you only choose thing to “start” doing from these small business social media strategies, make it video!

#3.  Leverage Locations and Check-ins

If you are a small business with a physical location, this is so important. Encourage your customers to “check in” wherever possible.

It’s the simplest way to have your audience “market” or promote your business for you, at no cost.  When someone checks in on Facebook or Instagram, they are telling their friends about your business….Simple! It’s word of mouth with a little rocket fuel underneath it!

So here’s how you can leverage it:

(a) Facebook Check-ins

You may have heard me talk about this but Facebook are really pushing check-ins and reviews. The fun part is that if you have someone “check-in” to your location, Facebook are currently sending that person an invite to follow up with a review the next day.

Why is this so awesome? That person has already checked-in, they most likely love your business as they already checked-in… so when they are asked to do a review, the chances are they will write a positive one. Winning!

Read more about it in the following post (click the image):

Image by Shutterstock

(b) Instagram Location Stories

Another very powerful way for your customers to spread the word for you, is if they add you to Instagram Stories. This can happen two ways. They can:

  • tag you in their story (giving viewers a way to click through and check out your account)
  • add a location sticker to their story which will (a) allow people to click through and find out more about your location and see other social proof about your business and (b) enable that story to be included in a summary of stories from your location.

All of these methods allow potential new customers (or returning customers) to find you and/or keep your location and business top of mind.

Find out more about Instagram Location Stories in this post I wrote here:

How to Use Instagram Location Stories to Attract Attention
Image by Shutterstock

 

TIPS TO GET STARTED:

  • Encourage customers to check in at your place of business. You can offer an incentive, but mostly they will do it if just ask them!  Especially if they like your business, products or services.
  • Respond to check-ins. One of the biggest things I have noticed lately is the number of businesses that “miss” check-ins on Instagram in particular. If you are tagged in a story, respond!  Also check your location regularly to see the stories that are being shared. Direct message those people who are using location stickers in their stories or tagging their locations in posts – especially if it’s your business they are talking about! Engage with them!

Again, if you are location based, add this to the top of your list when it comes to small business social media strategies. Leverage Location!

4.  Get Consistent with Core Content

Unfortunately the glory days of creating content and it reaching the masses with minimal effort are gone. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to get your content seen.

One of the things that still matters is to have some sort of core content that you own. This could be a blog, a podcast or a video show.  It’s important that you post these on your website so that they are “housed” on real estate that you “own”.  Don’t just rely on posting direct to social media.  Read more about this in this post:

3 Highly Effective Ways to Reduce Social Media Overwhelm
Image by Shutterstock

The key is to focus in on just one or two key platforms – either your core content and also your social media platforms.

Don’t try to be everywhere but instead try to be on one or two social platforms and do it well. For example if you focus in on Facebook, make a commitment to post regularly (ie daily) on Facebook, or maybe make a commitment to post 2 new short social videos every week. Whatever it is, consistency is key!

TIPS TO GET STARTED:  

  • Stuck for content? Do a series of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) or SAQs (Should Ask Questions – the questions that you are telling your clients or customers the answers to, but they never bother to ask the question as they don’t know they need to know the answer!)
  • Create content around the results of an audience survey – refer to item #1.
  • Pick a day and try to post on the same day every week. This may not always be perfect for various reasons, but be as consistent as you can.
  • Batch your content ahead so you have the best chance of being consistent. If you can get your content done ahead of time, it will help to ensure you post on the same day, weekly for example.
  • Repurpose your content into social video and social media posts.

Posting consistently helps you to stand out in your industry as an expert around the topic you are posting on.

#5.  Add Shareable Images to Your Website and Blog

You wouldn’t believe how many website pages and blogs and podcast show notes are out there that are missing a big opportunity – Pinterest!

I can’t tell you how many times I go to share content to Pinterest from a blog post and then don’t … because there’s no shareable image on the post for me to save (or “pin”).

Read this post to find out all about how you can optimize your blog for Pinterest to encourage shares and pins (even if you are not yet active on Pinterest).

How to Easily Optimize Your Blog for Pinterest

More saves or pins of your content = more people discovering your content.  It’s cyclical and pins have huge longevity, so they keep getting shared… months and even years down the track. Can you say that about a Facebook Post, Instagram image or a tweet?

Remember, it’s not about whether you are actively pinning so much as whether you have wasted opportunities for people that are already on your website, ready to save and share your content to Pinterest. Make sure it’s there for them to share!

TIPS TO GET STARTED:

  1.  Check through your old previous posts and pages to see if you have at least one shareable image on each.  This should include a tall image if possible.
  2.  If you have a popular post, consider creating an infographic to summarize the post (embed it back into the post).

#6.   Use Advocacy Marketing

“Now Donna”, I hear you say, “You’ve got the name wrong. It’s meant to be “Influencer Marketing” not Advocacy Marketing”.

I’m here to tell you that BOTH are a “thing”, and in many ways, “Advocacy Marketing” might be bigger than “Influencer Marketing”.

Advocacy Marketing involves your customer or client or partner or employees talking about your business, product or service. This is very powerful:

Your happy customers and employees are better advocates for your business than any paid influencer. Ever. - Tweet This! Click To Tweet

Influencer marketing involves an influencer (who has an audience) promoting a brand’s products and services.

Sometimes Influencers ARE actually a huge fan or advocate of your brand or business, but sometimes they are paid to promote the product or service regardless of their love for it.  Find out more about influencer marketing and how to find influencers in this post:

7 Small Business Social Media Strategies to focus on in 2018

Advocacy Marketing is a little more organic, and involves the customer reviewing places, locations, products or services.

Think about how you can leverage reviews wherever possible, and maintain positive reviews!  This is a great post about how to ask for reviews. It’s written for the travel industry but is relatable to most types of business.

Both types of marketing – influencer and advocacy – are important. But advocacy marketing is often overlooked by companies, when it can be huge for their growth.

TIPS TO GET STARTED: 

  • Encourage your employees to share your content. I once visited San Diego Zoo and one of the staff on the ground knew as much about the social media promotions as the social media team. Why? Because they include all staff in social media promotions.  How can you involve your staff in sharing the word about your business, products or services?
  • Ask your employees to share new content that you create – don’t restrict social media use totally, but instead use it to your benefit.
  • Encourage reviews on relevant review sites. For example, if you are in tourism, then Trip Advisor is huge. For all businesses, Google Reviews are super important.
  • Respond to Reviews – positive or negative, it’s important to respond to reviews. It’s also your opportunity to turn around a bad review.  People will see your response as much as they see the initial review. It’s also a way to turn a negative reviewer into a fan, depending on how you respond. Sometimes they just want to be heard!  And of course, there will be some #asshats that you just can’t please.  Don’t sweat it too much, learn from them (even if what they are saying is not true), and move on to making things better.

#7.  Segment your list

Not strictly one of the small business social media strategies you might expect, but bear with me.  Email marketing is still very important as part of your overall marketing strategy as it’s one of the few platforms you own.

But it’s so much more effective when you know your audience.  It’s becoming more and more important to send tailored content to your subscribers and having them on different lists so you an do this.

How do you segment your list? Again, it’s important to survey your audience (go back to #No1) – then you can email them tailored content, based on the responses they give.  It’s one of the most overlooked small business social media strategies. Too often we fly “blind” about what content we should be sharing.

Try it!  Sending emails to the most relevant section of your audience then results in better deliverability, open rates, click through rates and ultimately more sales!

 

Over to You

Tell me – are there any of these small business social media strategies you need to start implementing? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below including what you are focusing on in 2018. 

7 Small Business Social Media Strategies to focus on in 2018
Image by Shutterstock
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is the founder of Socially Sorted, winner of Best Business Blog in Australia 2014 and a Top 10 Social Media Blog for Social Media Examiner, 2015-2017. She helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
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