Facing the task of building a social media following for your small business can feel like an uphill battle. What’s the use of wracking your brain to create engaging content when you have just a few dozen followers? If you create a social media post, and there’s no one to read it, does it even matter?
Have faith, new business owner. It is worth your time to build and nurture your social media presence even when your business — and your online audience — are small.
Here are a few ways to maximize your social media effectiveness now to develop good social marketing habits as your business grows.
Build an emotional connection
Take some of the drudgery out of creating social media content by remembering what sort of content you enjoy seeing online. What makes you smile or teaches you something you want to share with a friend?
By thinking about why you appreciate the social media accounts you follow personally, you might be inspired to mimic that successful content on your own social media profiles. Not every post needs to actively sell a product. Your Instagram feed, for instance, might feature neighborhood scenes, behind the scenes of your latest project, or even furry friends who visit your office.
As your audience grows, their appreciation for the value your business offers will, too.
Use your social media audience as a test market
Have an idea for a business promotion, sale or special event? Test it out on social media. It costs nothing but your time to post a spur-of-the-moment special on your Facebook page and see how your fans react.
After observing the results of your social media promotions, you can determine how best to incorporate them to your overall marketing strategy.
Make it easy for people to find you
Look around your business and consider how easy it is for a potential follower to discover your social media profiles. Do you have your handles listed on your receipts, menus or truck? Do you have them listed on your front door or on your business cards?
You can create a social media presence, but people won’t join you there unless you make them aware you’re active on their favorite platforms. It’s particularly true for platforms that are still gaining popularity, like Snapchat.
Consider printing postcard-sized fliers to slip into each customer’s bag or box to let them know you’re present and active on your new platform of choice.
Be ready to respond
Social media is a fantastic customer service tool, helping you connect with customers one on one without having to wade through your email inbox or track them down in person.
But if you’re not ready to respond to their questions, comments or concerns online, you’re missing an opportunity to stand out.
Use notifications on your desktop computer or phone, so you know when a follower has mentioned you on social media or sent a private message. By responding quickly, you’ll show the follower you care about their thoughts (regardless of whether those thoughts are positive or negative). If your public response is measured and friendly, new followers will notice — say, in the case of a Twitter conversation with an unhappy customer with an issue you’re able to resolve quickly.
Your attention to your social media channels can turn into referrals. “Social media referrals are really important in the decision-making process” for consumers, former SCORE mentor Brad Smith notes in his online workshop, “The Top 10 Benefits of Social Media Marketing.” “If you can get your followers on social media and engaging with your content, they’ll become advocates for you.”