Algorithms. Organic content. Digital advertising. These might be unfamiliar terms, but with the right information, you can make sure social media helps grow your small business and connect with your customers.
To provide some insights, we spoke to Samantha Kodila, content coordinator at The Social School. She shared some advice about making sure your social media content doesn’t get lost in the noise.
“You don’t have to invest hundreds of dollars into each piece of advertising you create for your small business,” says Kodila.
“You can get your content out there with as little as $20 – you simply need to know how to wield it.”
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How social media channels choose what goes first
Social media channels are organised through the use of complex rules called algorithms. They push content that users are likely to engage with to the top of the feed.
“Social media algorithms dictate what users see – and what they don’t see,” says Kodila.
“Figuring out how to work within their parameters is incredibly important if you want to have your content seen by as many people as possible.”
But you don’t have to be an expert in the systems behind social media channels to make sure your content is seen.
What you do need to make sure of is that your content resonates with your audience. If they engage with what you’re posting, your content will be “boosted”.
That means, the more your audience engages actively with your content – by liking, commenting, clicking or sharing – the more likely it is that users will see your content towards the top of their feeds.
Getting your content seen, for free
Organic content means any content that you’re not spending advertising budget on.
Having a regular schedule of high-quality content across your chosen social media for small business channels shows your expertise, and will keep your audience coming back.
Kodila shares some simple advice about where to start:
- Learn from the huge range of experts out there.
“Read, read, read from reputable social media marketing websites and blogs. They’re always updating the world on the latest social media features, breaking them down so they’re easy to understand and digest.”
- Use a variety of content types wherever possible.
“It’s important to use Facebook and Instagram‘s various features – like stories, buttons, hashtags and multiple photos.”
- Build an online community from the ground up.
“Engage with your small business‘ online community, as their engagement with your content will bring more attention to your brand.”
Paying for a content “boost”
If your marketing budget allows, spending money to “boost” your content is a great way to make sure it gets the attention it deserves. And there are a few simple steps you can take to get started. First, you need to work out how much you can spend, and how you’ll measure return on your investment.
“Spending more money doesn’t necessarily equate to better advertising success online,” Kodila says.
“Just like any marketing plan, you want to make sure your return on investment is worthwhile.”
This could be measured through a growth in website traffic, the number of products you sell, or the amount of leads generated.
Next, narrow down your audience. You’ll achieve stronger engagement if you target a more specific audience, rather than attempting to reach everyone via social media.
“Set up Custom Audiences – a target audience of people who fit into your brand’s demographic – and go from there,” suggests Kodila.
You need to choose the channels and content that are right for your audience. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn offer a wide range of features and functions.
The first article in our Social Media for Small Business series gives a breakdown of the channels available, and can help you make the right choice.
Finally, make sure you review the performance of your social media content regularly. Expect to see results happen over time, as growing online audiences takes some testing and learning.
To make sure you’re on the right track, there are a range of simple tools and services you can use, including The Social School’s Instagram engagement calculator. It can help you understand how well your posts are connecting with your audience.
Keep an eye out for the next part of our Social Media For Small Business series. We’ll be looking at how you can use social media to respond to customer and client feedback. Missed part two? We spoke about how to develop your social media for small business tone of voice. Click here to read it now.
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