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Navigating social media

Transform your business’s social media strategy from a time sink to your super power.

minute read

    As a business owner, your time is your most precious asset. And when you’re tasked with constantly making important decisions, it’s easy to let your social media presence slip.

    If social media has fallen down on your priority list, it might be time to reevaluate. More than one billion Instagram users follow at least one business, and 90 million small businesses are already using Facebook’s B2C tools. Over half of all consumers use social media for product research.

    With social media, a little effort can go a long way. Being selective about your platforms, thoughtful about engagement and diligent about maintenance can wring a lot of impact out of a small investment of time.


    So many platforms, so little time

    Social media is the new digital Main Street. People are there every day, doing business, sharing their favorite spots and talking about what matters to them. Every business needs a presence. But just like a physical location, digital real estate must be chosen intentionally.

    Which platforms you choose depends on your customers. Ask yourself:

    • What demographics do my customers fall into when it comes to age, location, and other relevant characteristics?
    • Why might my customers be on social media?
    • What kinds of content are they likely to enjoy?
    • How much time are they spending on social media?

    Match your customers to the strengths of each platform

    • Facebook users often want to stay connected to family and friends. Photos, videos and event announcements play well.
    • Twitter is all about starting public conversations and engaging people in real time. To stay relevant, try to post as often as one to five Tweets per day.
    • Instagram runs on relatable videos and images. Post a mix of engaging reels, photos, and stories to invite people into the world of your business.
    • LinkedIn caters to a more professional audience. People are there to network and tend to respond well to business updates, thought leadership and shareable content that’s relevant to your industry.

    Too many platforms can slow you down

    It’s tempting to try to do it all on social media, but each platform requires a different approach. It’s better to focus on platforms that align with your target customers. Internet users visit an average of 6.7 social media platforms per month, so the odds of missing customers by focusing on one or two platforms are low.

    Be part of the conversation

    You don’t need to be a TikTok star or a 24/7 tweeter to be seen. You simply need to meet customers where they are and interact with them in an authentic way. Just as a welcoming sign and a smile can set the tone for a walk-in business, a friendly presence on social media is your ticket to meaningful digital customer engagement.

    These are some easy ways to build engagement on social media:

    • Respond to feedback, both positive and negative.
    • Post polls, ask questions and host contests and giveaways.
    • Encourage followers to show off how they use your products or services.
    • Call out and reward active community members.
    • Educate customers about your business.

    Scheduling saves time and improves strategy

    Finding the right time — or any time — to compose a tweet or post to Instagram can be a challenge. Social media management tools let you plan and schedule your posts days or even weeks ahead of time.

    Scheduling in advance helps you establish a cadence and post at times that are most impactful. Maybe your customers use social media on the weekends or on their lunch breaks. You can target those peak times, trusting that your content will find its audience.

    The keys to creating an effective posting strategy are watching and listening. If you find engagement is down after a certain number of posts per day or at specific times, mix it up and experiment with a different rhythm.


    Check in every day

    A healthy social media presence requires some daily maintenance. Regular engagement is the "social" in social media. It’s an opportunity for you to learn about your customers as they learn about you.

    • Daily check-ins show customers that you’re still active.
    • Weeding out problems like trolling or arguing keeps your presence positive.
    • Dialogue builds goodwill: 93% of people who follow small and medium-size business on Twitter plan to buy from them.

    Have fun

    If social media seems too time-consuming, you might be making it more complicated than it needs to be. Relax. Be open, honest and unafraid to show your human side. Building rapport is the goal, so be yourself.

    As a business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about ROI. But there’s another side of social media: It’s fun. People can be funny and surprising. They show love when you do a good job and genuinely want to connect with your business. Don’t pass up this opportunity to enjoy being with your customers and connecting your business to the world.

    Keep building on your social media success. Marketing in a Digital World is an online program that offers tips and insights to help you find your audience, explore your options, elevate your brand and keep learning.

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