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It might not feel like that long ago that a small business’ only form of advertising was to put advertisements in the newspaper and pay youngsters to leave flyers under windshield wipers, but that certainly isn’t the case anymore.

With 2.34 billion social media users worldwide, there’s plenty of potential customers just a click away for small businesses, which begs the question, are you making the most of it?

If you’re not sure, or want to make sure you get it right, here’s a rundown of the five essentials you need to master in order to be successful on social media.

Which platform is for you?

Depending on your brand and industry, not every social platform will cater to your needs, even though it can be tempting to sign up your business to all of them.

Choose one channel where the majority of your target audience is, and start posting. You’ll find your time is much better suited to putting all your energies into one channel, rather than spreading yourself thin by posting little bits now and then on each of them.

If your business is graphic design, Instagram and Pinterest will serve you well for showcasing your latest work and flaunting your portfolio. However if it’s IT consulting that floats your boat you’d be better off with a professional profile on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Don’t let them forget you

If you want the benefits of social media for your business then it goes without saying that you’ll need to update your profile with some posts at some point.

Whichever channel you’ve decided is for you, you’ll need to do some research about the posts that perform well and how you can use the platform effectively.

Keeping active on the social account of your choice is imperative for enticing out those potential clients. As a general rule you should post a minimum of once a day, and a maximum of six times a day.

Run with the right crowds

Knowing who the right people are to follow is important if you want to reach the your target audience, and interact with people who fit that criteria.

If you start by following spam-filled accounts, you aren’t going to make yourself look like an attractive company for potential customers.

Start off by following the influencers in your industry, both individuals and other brands. News channels are also usually a good place to start; they’ll keep you up to date on anything that might be trending or become a hashtag, so you’ll be on the beat when industry news crops up.

Show off that winning personality

Your brand’s personality should shine through on social media, and who are you to not let it?

A lot of brands are now famous half because of what they do, and half because of their fantastic brand image upkeep on social media.

If you want to keep up with the best of them then you need to create a great brand personality that allows you to successfully convey the language of your brand, with an angle that’ll keep people interested.

While you want to show off what your small business has to offer, don’t get carried away. There are plenty of bad examples of social media campaigns gone wrong, so don’t think everything you read is a good decision, and use common sense when creating campaigns (you’ll be surprised by the number of companies that don’t).

Keep ‘em talking

The main point of social media? No, not to show billions of others that your cat can play the piano (although we will still watch).

People join social channels to chat with others, and so chat they shall! Keep the small talk flowing with customers, freelancers and other brands. It’s the perfect opportunity to show off who your brand is while advertising your services.

At one point it’s likely you’ll receive customer queries or concerns. Answer these promptly and in the tone of your brand voice to keep customers interested and happy with your service.

Do you detest tweeting? Or are you in love with sharing your business’ experiences online? Let us know what you think of using social media for business in the comment section below!

About The Author

Stephanie Whalley

Serial snacker, compulsive cocktail sipper and full time wordsmith with a penchant for alliteration, all things marketing and pineapple on pizza.

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