Social Media Engagement: 5 Tips For a Small Business

May 16, 2014
Abraham Villegas

Boxless Media | Chicago Digital Marketing Agency | Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

As we conclude the end of National Small Business week, we want to discuss 5 ways to increase your engagement levels on social media. Too many business owners have the misconception that once they are on social media all they have to do is post a status update and the customers will come in through the doors. Unfortunately, it takes a little bit more than sales focused status updates. People come on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to engage, not to be sold on products and advertisements. So give them what they want, and here’s how you can do it.

1. Find your audience

Way too often, businesses forget the reason they are on social media and who they want to target. We experienced this not too long ago, and it drove us to evaluating our audience and repurposing our content. We realized that a lot of our followers were already social media experts and we want more followers who are small business owners. With that in mind, we redefined our audience and created a chart with details and characteristics that reflected our audience. Make a chart of your audience in order of importance so you can prioritize your efforts around them. List characteristics for each target audience and what message you want to deliver to them. Once you’ve created a profile for them, find out what social networks they’re on. If your target market is an older crowd, chances are you won’t find them on Instagram. Do your homework!

2.Focus on the community

As much as we’d like to think social media is the place to self promote, it’s really the place to give the audience a chance to speak. In order to get them to engage, ask questions and find out relevant information to your business. If you own a restaurant, determine some of your audiences’ favorite dishes. Upload an image of a famous dish and ask who’s up for lunch? Own a bar? Capture your famous drinks and ask who likes enjoying those on a nice summer night. Get the point? Engagement is more about the community and less about you. You don’t have to engage every hour on the hour, but make a consistent schedule and use tools to free up your time. Using tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social will help you schedule content so you can engage even when you’re busy doing other things.

3.Timing is everything

Just about everything on social media has to do with timing in one way or the other. Timing is crucial in social media as it makes all the difference of posting during peak hours or when people are sleeping. A post or a tweet is more likely to get engagement around noon when people are on lunch breaks or later in the evening when they’re not at school or work. They’re less likely to engage when you make an update at 3 a.m. Tools like Tweeriod or Facebook Analytics allow you to see when your audience is most likely to engage, so frame your posts around that time. You can access Facebook Analytics from the Insights section in the page(s) you manage.

4.Get visual

As you see from the first tip, asking questions is a great way to have a conversation with your community. Using pictures will get more engagement levels. So use photos whenever you can because audiences focused on visuals and aesthetics will be more likely to engage by either liking, sharing, or commenting on your content. Word to the wise, if you do use images make sure they are visible. No one likes engaging with crappy pictures taken from your first generation Iphone. Use Instagram for the filters and get with the 1080p! (or at least 720p)

5.Unify your brand across all social media networks

Whether you’re on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. make it a priority to synchronize all of your social media profiles. This helps your audience recognize you across all social platforms and reduces the likelihood of confusion when they find you on these platforms. Your audience will be less likely to engage if they feel they have the wrong social media profile. This also applies to your social media names and tags across your platforms. If you are Business XYZ on Twitter, your Instagram tag shouldn’t be Business XXI. The more consistency you have in your pages, names, and URL’s the easier it will be to find your business and interact with it.

Got any other ideas to share for small business owners to use on social media? What is or isn’t working for you? Let us know by leaving a comment, tweeting us at @BoxlessMedia or connecting with us on Facebook!

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