20 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know About Social Media

In this blog I'm going to share with you 20 truths about social media, that as a business owner, you need to know.

In this blog I’m going to share with you 20 truths about social media, that as a business owner, you need to know. You might not agree with them all but hey, that’s cool, we can still be friends.

1. You’re probably doing social media “wrong”

If you listen to other people for long enough someone is bound to tell you you’re doing it wrong. Even professionals in the industry will all have a different opinion on how best to use social media. The fact is, even the best in the industry can get it wrong and that’s ok.

2. Guess what’s worse than doing it “wrong”? Not doing it at all!

It might seem obvious but it’s true. Remember that old saying ‘Try, try and try again’. It didn’t say ‘Don’t even bother in case it’s not perfect’.

So, go on, what are you waiting for? Just give it a go!

3. Practise makes perfect.

The more you use social media, try out new things and figure out what works for your audience, the better you’ll get at it and the more rewarding it will be. It takes time to build the right following, so be patient and use the time to practise and perfect your content, brand and tone of voice.

4. Your followers don’t see what you post.

Well, that’s not strictly true, some of them will. Some of them won’t.

If you check your stats, chances are, most of the time the reach of a post will be less than the number of followers you have. What does this mean for you? It means you can repeat your content and it’s ok! Posting something once in no way guarantees someone will have seen it. So, if there’s important stuff you want to tell your followers, you need to keep posting it. Not every day but make sure you repeat your key messages over the course of a month.

5. Different platforms are aimed at different people.

There is some cross audience over on social media platforms but ultimately they are some overall differences to the most popular social media networks.

  • Facebook is typically an ageing audience. You’re more likely to find your parents on there than your kids.
  • Instagram is more popular with a slightly younger audience, people like you and me (assuming you’re a 20-40 something).
  • If you’re looking for teenagers, TikTok is where you need to be.

You see, every platform has its nuances and you need to understand who your ideal clients are and which platforms they’re using if you want to get in front of them.

6. You don’t need to be on every social media platform.

On that note, not all platforms are going to be relevant to your ideal client and it might not be everyone’s view (but it’s totally mine) that you’re be better off choosing one platform (the one where you think the majority of your ideal clients hang out on) and making 100% effort with it. Doing a great job on one social media platform is better than doing a rubbish job on three.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t be active on more than one social media channel, if it’s right for your business, but if you’re overwhelmed, just do one and do it well. Then when you’ve got the hang of that and you know what works, challenge yourself with another platform.

7. Branding is soooo important.

I’m sure you’re heard it a million times but branding is more than just a logo. It’s everything about your business from the way you email people to what you post on social media. You don’t have to have your logo on every social media post to be “on brand” but you do need to think about whether your posts suit your brand voice and values. Think about brands you follow on Instagram for example. When you’re scrolling through your feed do you recognise the brand without reading the handle? Even if it’s just a flat lay photo? That’s what you’re aiming for!

8. All your social media handles should be the same.

Ever looked up a brand on Instagram and can’t find them? Well I have and it’s blooming annoying. Don’t let that be your potential customers. Your handles (your @name) should ideally match on all social media platforms.

Not only does that make you consistent and easy to find but the bonus is, when you’re adding the info to your marketing materials it looks so much more polished if you only need to add the one handle.

9. You need to optimise your pages and profiles.

If you’re posting content regularly but you haven’t reviewed your actual profile in ages, make that a priority today. Appealing to your current audience is one thing but most businesses also want to build a bigger following. If your profile is wildly out of date and lacks information, someone visiting your page for the first time might just wander off again without hitting that like button.

Make sure everything possible is completed and accurate. Go through your profile or page, section by section and don’t forget to fill in your contact info including your website! The number of profiles I see without their web address filled out is infuriating!

On Instagram your profile name and bio act help you get found on the platform so don’t just write your name unless that’s what people are going to be searching for.

10. You need to know what you want to achieve or it’s all a waste of time.

Maybe you want to find new customers or perhaps you just want to have content going out so that when people check your profiles, they’re active. Whatever your goal, it doesn’t have to be the same as the person next to you. There’s no point getting on the social media train if you don’t know where you’re going.

11. Content matters

There are so many things you can write about and your products or services is just one thing on an exceptionally long list of possibilities. If you need more ideas, take a look at my 35 Content Ideas for Social Media blog.

Bear in mind our audience don’t constantly want to be sold to, so don’t do it! There are subtle ways to “sell” your business to people without coming across as a used car salesman.

12. Don’t post the exact same thing on every platform…it’s lazy and it’s rubbish.

I’m not saying you need to come up with completely different content for each platform you use but ideally you shouldn’t be copying and pasting or just sharing from one platform straight to another without making some adjustments.

The number of Facebook posts I see that are just shared directly from Instagram and contain 30 hashtags. It’s not cool guys. By all means share it but then edit the post and remove the #s.

13. Images matter.

In this day and age there’s no excuse. Phones can take amazing pictures and if you’re selling products and don’t have the money to invest in either a photographer or a fancy camera, there are tutorials all over the internet on how to take decent photos using a mobile.

If you’re a service-based business it can be much harder to create images but there are loads of stock image sites out there you can use until you have the money to invest in working with a photographer.

I’ve written several blogs about this so check them out if you want more help/advice on this topic.

14. Hashtags are how you get found beyond your immediate audience

If you want to be discovered by people outside of your immediate audience, hashtags might help you. On Instagram you can post up to 30 hashtags but I’d recommend no more than 10. I personally think a huge list of them looks spammy and can you really think of 30 hashtags that are totally relevant to your posts and profile? No? Didn’t think so.

15. Consistency is key!

Peaks and troughs in your content won’t do you any favours so you need to be realistic with yourself when you decide how often you’re going to lost on social media.

There’s no point saying you’ll post 3 times a day and then only maintaining that for 4 days and not posting again for a week. You’re much better off posting three times a week and keeping that up for 6 months.

If you’re inspired and you’ve suddenly got loads to say, schedule the content over the next few days, don’t just go wild one afternoon!

16. Plan ahead and spread your content.

I guess it links to the previous point but planning ahead can really help when it comes to spreading your content.

You can’t plan every post you’ll want to make but at least put together some general posts and schedule/post them throughout the month. There will always be certain things you want to cover, like the services you offer. This content can be easily planned in advance and spread throughout a month.

17. Use a scheduler

To help with planning and spreading your content, use a scheduling tool. That way if you’re hit with inspiration and come up with 10 ideas you can schedule them all and you’ve got yourself 10 days worth of content.

If the platform you’re using provides a scheduling tool I highly recommend using it . Facebook for example much prefers you to use their scheduling toll (Facebook Creator Studio) than a third party.

You can schedule Instagram posts through Facebook too but if you want to use something that shows you your grid design before posting, my favourite is Later.com.

18. Keep in the loop

Sign up to one or two SM newsletters. Facebook do one which covers their latest updates and new features and even if you don’t want to use their scheduling tool, I’d suggest signing up to Later.com emails. That way, you’ll be amongst the first to know when a new feature is out.

19. The clue’s in the title. Social Media is meant to be social.

It’s much easier to engage and interact with people on a personal level through an Instagram profile than it is through a Facebook page but social media is about building relationships with people. Find your ideal clients and become useful to them, be sociable with them, make them want to be your friend (not in a creepy way).

20. Base decisions you make on your analytics

Don’t decide when to post your content based on when it suits you. Make that decision based on when your audience are online. Facebook and Instagram both provide free, useful analytics for your profile, use it.

21. Finally, algorithms suck…

…but the moment you start blaming them for your failings or getting hung up on them is the moment you’ve taken a wrong turn.

Nothing annoys me more than people going on about the ‘new algorithms’ because guess what? You have no control over them whatsoever.

What you do have control over is the content you’re creating and the audience you’re growing and if they want to see what you’re doing, they’ll look.

I can’t be the only person in the (metaphorical) room who has thought “oh, i haven’t seen much from ‘insert name here’ and then gone and looked for their profile to see what they’ve been up to.

Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Take control of what you can.

Well, that’s it folks! Yes – that was 21 and I said it would be 20. That right there is called exceeding expectations ?

If you’ve got any questions or want to book in for a social media review, just get in touch.

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