Social Media for Small Business
If you’re a small business getting started on social media, it can be really overwhelming! Most of us use social media for personal use, so it can be difficult to think of how to best leverage it for small business. Facebook is the worst offender for this, in my opinion. As soon as you make a Facebook page, Facebook starts messaging you on how you should boost posts and make ads to get your small business seen on social media by new customers. It’s also true that Facebook favors paid postings in its algorithm instead of organically appearing, like the old days. However, as cheap as it is to buy a Facebook ad to advertise your small business, it’s also very easy to waste that money. Before I became a professional social media manager, I wasted over $500 on Facebook advertising that frankly, was useless. I’d see an increase in likes and followers, but they were invisible people who never came to my events or commented on my content.
So now that I have you really depressed, how about some recommendation for resources that really work when it comes to putting time and money into your small business’ social media presence.
Go To (Social Media) School
Social media is aggressively changing at breakneck speed. Whereas you might be able to learn how to write effective content or create good looking graphics and use that core knowledge for years, when it comes to social media…forget about it! For example, just as I’m writing this post, Snapchat is sinking fast as a social media platform, while the other big players are slavishly pushing live video and “stories”. Suddenly being a social media expert means being an expert in video and editing! I often recommend keeping something established that works (like this written blog post list of resources), while being sure to devote some time every month to the latest trend.
So, how do you know what the latest trends in social media for small business are?
Social Media Examiner
Yes, the throwback beach layout of the site with bamboo and old paper graphics is decidedly weird in this age of responsive, infinite scrolling minimal websites, but this is the granddaddy of social media trends. They’ll often have incredibly detailed and researched articles that you just won’t get anywhere else. It is definitely worth subscribing to their newsletter!
If it’s not on Social Media Examiner, it’ll surely be on Social Media Hat. Again, you’ll get some really granular, in-depth articles like feature changes to Mailchimp, how to use Facebook tracking Pixels, and more.
People often skip a social media platform’s own resources, but don’t! Ultimately, Facebook wants you to have effective social media advertising for your small business, so take a moment to follow their own guidelines for how to create effective advertisements. Similarly, you can learn a lot from Twitter for Business, LinkedIn for Business and so on.
Are you still logging on to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more to individually make posts? Oh, dear.
They’ve got tools for that now – over 30 social media automation tools alone. There are some, like Sprinklr or Hubspot can track thousands of leads across every platform known to man and pretty much do everything but bring you breakfast in bed. Presumably, your small business has financial constraints, unless you’re independently wealthy.
I use SmarterQueue for my social media posting because it reposts my evergreen content. (If you don’t know why this is both important and amazing, click here, here, and here.) Not only that, but a lot of people, including social media managers, plan out a month of content, post by post, on a calendar, then upload each post to each day. Now, a social media tool will still save you time because you can do all that on one platform and also do stuff like see the analytics.
But SmarterQueue lets you assign all your content to categories, then schedule the categories to days of the week. That means I can upload 20 inspirational quotes to my Inspirational Quotes category, then tell it to post every Monday. It really doesn’t make a difference to me which quote is shared, as long as a new one gets posted. Also, most people don’t see your content when it posts to social media, so it actually makes sense to repeat it (a good rule of thumb is once every three months, but you can get away with a shorter cycle on Twitter, where only a tiny, tiny, tiny amount of people see a particular tweet.)
That means I have absolutely no need to start scrambling at the end of the month and spending hours planning every post for every platform. I add content when I feel like it, and mix in topical posts from time to time. But the pressure to constantly post every day is gone.
The only weird thing about SmarterQueue is that they have really competitive pricing compared to other tools, but its a secret (WHY?!?) So you’ll want to reach out to their customer service to unlock their custom pricing options.
Buffer is extremely easy to use – you can get set up and fill up your queue within 10 minutes. It is very, very easy to share content you find on the web with their bookmarklet tools, or you can even add retweets to send at peak times via Buffer. It is difficult to create that purposeful, this-post-on-this-day content calendar that businesses need on Buffer. You can’t organize your content to categories and its a pain to assign a particular time/day. Also, once you post your content, your queue empties. There is a feature to re-add your top performing content, but it is still one-by-one. A lot of people I know use the both Buffer and another tool, especially since the free version of Buffer is awesome. It is definitely worth a look!
HootSuite and Buffer are the top two tools out there, so they need to be on the list for that reason. HootSuite is powerful AF and has about 8 billion integrations with everything from WordPress to Facebook Ads. I’ll be honest that I can’t deal with the multiple streams and raw information.
That’s 100% my personal preference, and I certainly know a lot of people who are absolutely in love with Hootsuite. For price value, the returns and features you get from it are amazing. You can either exactly schedule every single post or use an auto-scheduler like Buffer’s. You can reshare and reply to people right within the tool. You can access business tools for Facebook, like targeting, tagging, and even creating ads. It powerfully suggests content, for example when I install the Hootlet browser extension and search for something in Google, it shows people who have recently tweeted about that term and lets me add them to my library. It is also great for teams/multiple employees working on a company’s social media.
The biggest reason I hit the wall with Hootsuite is that it doesn’t have a bulk upload option or an evergreen content rescheduling content. Yes, you can technically upload content from a .csv, but it would take about as much time to format the spreadsheet as it would to manually cut and paste every cell into Hootsuite directly. I can’t live without bulk uploads and evergreen recycling, so Hootsuite and I are just a doomed romance.
Graphics – Canva or Spark by Adobe
Adobe Spark is a free online and mobile graphic design app. Enter your brand’s logo, fonts, and colors to create branded images, videos, and web pages that make you stand out on social. Canva for work has similar features.
Until you can afford a super fancy customer relationship manager (CRM), Mailchimp will work fantastically to keep customers organized and in contact with you. Its always adding new features, like Google ad integration.
If you use WordPress for your blog, you should install Yoast. I’m using it right now, as I write this post! Sure, it tells you exactly how to make your articles show up well in regards to Search Engine Optimization. But, did you know it writes code to make your Facebook links show up properly?
What’s a problem you’re struggling with as a small business that you’re still looking for help with? Leave a comment below.