6 Ways Small Businesses Go Big on Social

Last month I spoke about tactics for maximizing social engagement for small businesses at the Building Buzz Conference hosted by CCA Global Partners in Dallas. When budgets are small and resources limited, it can be challenging for young start-ups and promising entrepreneurs to build the right network on social media, let alone devote the time necessary for growing their brand online. But with the right approach and tools, small businesses can successfully roll out and execute a social strategy that drives revenue and engagement.

One of the biggest misconceptions about social media for businesses is that it takes a huge investment, both in time and money. In truth, making strategic moves with even tiny budgets on the right platforms can yield huge ROI. There are a few rules to follow in order to know where to place the right bets.

1. Set reasonable expectations

Unemployed real estate salesperson George Costanza asks his pal, Jerry, if he thinks he could be a great sportscaster. George feels he makes interesting comments while watching baseball games and because of that, why couldn’t he sit side-by-side in the broadcast booth with Keith Hernandez? “Those jobs,” Jerry fires back, “usually go to former ballplayers, and, you know, people IN broadcasting!” Clearly, George’s expectations are ungrounded… In social media (and in the midst of the Summer Olympics in Rio), content takes gold, distribution slots in silver and quality snags bronze. Because quality takes precedent over quantity as more does not mean better. So, focus your efforts in an efficient, meaningful way to deliver long-term results.

Building a network for 1 million followers takes time. When investing in a strategy, set small goals along the way that lead up to accomplishing the big objective. If the aim is to build a network of 1 million Instagram followers in a year, expect to post new content daily and adapt along the way for what is trending vs. falling flat.

2. Remember your brand

Standup comedian Jim Gaffigan delights in a recent series of ads for the Chrysler Pacifica, claiming fame to his self-proclaimed “Dad Brand.” As a father of five young children, being the owner of this minivan can make life a lot easier.

Brand awareness via social is an effective tool to reach consumers. In social, anything published needs to fit the brand image. The tone and voice of posts across platforms must fit personality and values of your brand.

It is crucial to focus on building and enhancing consumer relationships rather than focusing solely on transactions or conversions. Err on the side of caution and always maintain a high level of professionalism.

Image found here

3. Pick a platform

The donut example (see above) has been used for several years now when explaining the core functionality of how each social network operates. It’s time for businesses to focus more on where their target audience resides, the type of media they consume, and what social networks they are on.

4. Content strategy

Determine your content objectives. Do you want to inform or entertain? Then decide whether to use original content, curate, or some combination. Include photo or video content with each post to increase engagement. Keep a close eye on current events and proceed with caution!

The chart below highlights the types of content that exist in today’s social ecosystem:

5. Publishing & Planning

With a strategy and content goals in mind you should review some best practices for publishing. Here is a list to get you started:

  • Share one-to-two posts per day to create deeper fan engagement
  • Save some time and schedule your content in advance
  • Provide call-to-actions with copy when possible
  • Acknowledge fans when they share and retweet their content
  • Participate in customer conversations via a relevant Hashtag

6. Customer Care (Responding/Moderation)

Begin by establishing your organization’s strategy for social media customer care. (a) How will you manage an angry customer? (b) Do you have a plan in place for a crisis management situation? (c) Decide whether you want to respond to everything or only select pieces of content. (d) When will you choose whether to respond or not? (e) Have you developed “boilerplate” text responses on a variety of issues you foresee inquiry?

To stand out from your competition, you must consistently strive to deliver world-class customer care and service. And most importantly, keep tabs on the pulse of your audience and what they are saying (positive and negative) on social.

By instituting a targeted social media strategy, staying on course, and looking at the big picture, you can find success for your brand on social. But social is consistently shifting, so go with the changes, and keep up with new networks and social trends attractive to the millenials, as most things digital are being built with them in mind.

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Adam J. Honig serves as Senior Strategic Customer Partner at Spredfast, responsible for managing, optimizing and growing brand and agency accounts across sports & entertainment, broadcast media, retail & luxury goods, automotive, healthcare and education. Mr. Honig has over 12 years of integrated media experience across broadcast business development, sponsorship activation, property representation, and digital & social media customer success leadership. Most recently, he was Head of Client Services at SPORTS195, a global sports social network, where he launched the department and built a team to activate campaigns across platforms. He has held senior roles at Accenture, IMG and Cablevision.