A Guide to Social Media for Small to Medium Businesses

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Written by a Social Media Marketer.

 

With 2 billion active users on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn alone, it’s no surprise businesses are joining in. Having an online presence is a great way to bring attention to your business. Welcome to my guide on Social media for small to medium businesses.

This article will cover the following aspects,

  • Why Social media is worth while
  • Getting more followers and likes
  • How social media helps SEO
  • Social media best practices

 

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Why social media for small to medium businesses is worth while

Social media gives you the chance to make your business known, valued and bring you more leads. Social media generates traffic to your website, builds your brand popularity, gives you industry authority, builds relationships and trust with prospects and can give you conversions. Best of all? It’s free and not too time-consuming.

93% of customers expect companies to have a presence on social media.

Consumers are 71% more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.

66% of marketers saw an increase in leads from social media after spending 6 hours per week on their channels.

When it comes to social media for small to medium businesses, you should bear in mind the benefits are different for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) organisations. B2C are far more likely to get more leads and sales from social media, while B2B is mainly to stay top-of mind, generate traffic and create relationships with prospects.

Getting more followers and likes

There is an online etiquette that if you follow someone they are somewhat obligated to follow you back. This is especially true for twitter. I’m going to let you in on a secret as to how to get more likes, followers and connections.

It’s easy to get carried away and believe having lots of followers is a good thing. The important element is having your target audience following you and engaging. Remember who you want to follow you.

There are 2 main elements that correlate to getting more followers, likes and connections:

  1. How consistent and relevant your posts are.
  2. The amount of followers you have.

With these two points in mind it’s now time to start getting your target audience to follow you.

Firstly, you need to be putting out consistent, relevant content that would appeal to your target audience. This shows you have a worthy, active online presence and gives them a reason to follow you.

Secondly, when you come to follow people remember to only follow people in your target audience. Following people makes it very likely for them to follow you back. How do you find them? Well, say your target audience is people in Sussex. Type into the search bar of Twitter or Facebook “Sussex” (in LinkedIn you can choose the location of your search). You now have a huge list of people and businesses related to the location Sussex. The great thing is, the more similar the accounts you follow (e.g. in Sussex), the more followers you will have with these similarities.

Other ways of getting more followers, likes and connections is to join communities and generally ‘Digital network’. When you get a new client, post about them on social media and tag them in it. All their connections will be able to see it and you can open your reach to get not just more followers, likes and connections, but also prospects too.

 

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How Social media helps SEO

Each social media site is a search engine in itself and you can ‘piggy back’ its SEO qualities quite simply. If you search for a business on google, quite often their social media pages show up in the results.  How many times have you searched for a business or a CEO and their LinkedIn profile shows up? Make an account… fill in as much detail as you can… include pictures… and it will show up after time.
There is evidence that social media helps with your sites SEO too. Here are some things you can do with your social media that will help your rankings:

  1. Posting Links to your website – It’s commonly known that relevant links to your website helps SEO greatly. That being said, social media links are ‘No follow’ links (meaning Googles SEO spiders ignore them). Links to your site from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + helps Google know if your website is credible, which can influence your sites rankings for certain keywords.
  2. Use the keywords you want to rank for in your social media posts – Google links your social media profiles to your website, so state your keywords in your posts.
  3. When you bring out a new blog, link to it from your social media posts – This speeds up how quickly your content gets indexed by google. Blogs that have been extensively tweeted about can cut indexation time by 50%.

 

Social media best practices

Here are some best practices to get the most out of your social media marketing

  1. Track and analyse! Track the time of day you post, the topic of the content you post and how many likes and tweets you get. Knowing this information allows you to:
  • Know when the best time of day is to post for your audience.
  • Know what type of content your audience prefers
  • Shows your progress over time

What can I use to track social media information? Don’t worry, I’ve uploaded the template I use which you can download for free!

  1. Follow back your followers and unfollow the people who don’t follow you. You can use tools such as crowdfire to manage your lists. If you unfollow all the people who don’t follow you, this gives you another chance to get followed by them if you were to ever follow them again. Following people who follow you means they are unlikely to unfollow you if they use tools such as this.
  2. Digitally network with your target audience.

In the book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott, he states that the internet is a city and social media makes up the bars and pubs.

“Do you go into a large gathering and shout, ‘Buy my product!”?

Do you try to meet every single person or do you have a few great conversations?

Are you helpful, providing valuable information to people with no expectation of getting something in return?

Or do you avoid the social situation of cocktail parties altogether because you are uncomfortable in such situations?” – David Meerman Scott

Reply to your audiences comments, engage with their posts and talk to people and communities.

  1. Set goals and Key performance indicators. This gives you an idea of what you need to be doing each month to get the desired goals you need. For example if you want to get one lead a month of social media, you will have to measure how much views on posts you need, how much referrals to your website, how many times forms are filled out etc. Measuring everything gives you a good idea of where to go next.
  2. Choose the right Social media channels that suit your business. LinkedIn tends to be popular for businesses. If you are B2B I would recommend LinkedIn. Are you a fun, energetic business? Or are you a formal, serious business? Think about the type of people on the sites and how you can attract them to your business.

 

So there you have it, a Guide to social media for small to medium businesses.