Locators, RT’s and media queries — a Small Business Saturday social media campaign is an independent merchant’s best promotional plan going into the holiday season.
Earlier this year, the Pew Research Center came out with a startling statistic. Actually, a startling adverb modifying a statistic. “As smartphones and other mobile devices have become more widespread, 28% of American adults now report that they go online ‘almost constantly.’”
Among households with college graduates, it’s 34%. Another 45% of Americans say they go online “several times a day.”
This Small Business Saturday, remember — good salesmanship meets customers where they are. Lead the way with online breadcrumbs!
Kinetic Business by Windstream is proud to support local small businesses by delivering reliable internet connections – with new gig speeds in many locations – that make your social media presence a reality. If you are just starting to test the social waters with your brand and promotions, the steps below will get you started – all in time for Small Business Saturday.
Let’s get to planning your Small Business Saturday social media efforts.
1. Define your audience and pick your platform
For some exciting businesses that appeal to a very social media savvy demographic, your audience finds you. For the rest of us, there’s planning.
Who is your target demographic? Age? Income level? Neighborhood? Job?
What type of content motivates them to engage with your brand? Be strategic about picking which social media platforms to be active on based on these answers.
According to the Pew Research Center, about 7 in 10 Americans engage in Facebook at least occasionally. The next most popular is Instagram, the photo sharing platform, with about half the users. Twitter, beloved by the media and politicians, is used by 22% of Americans. But, don’t get too caught up with these percentages! In most cases, certain platforms are more effective when trying to communicate with specific audiences. For example, Instagram is a great communications tool for reaching young adults and Millennials through pictures and videos, while Facebook is a better choice for communicating promotions and in-store events to a middle-aged target.
2. Build (or update) your profile
Because we’re talking Small Business Saturday social media ideas, let’s assume you’ve already built your business’s profile page on whatever platforms you pick. Make sure your images are sized to look their best across devices (desktop monitor down to smartphone screen), because so much business is generated on the go. Download our full Small Business Saturday Social Media Guide to get specifics on image sizes and more for the most popular platforms.
And, double-check that the location and contact information listed on the page is up-to-date.
3. Post fresh content
Based on your audience, what kind of material do they like to consume? Remember, not every post has to be promotional; some are just inspirational or humorous. Not every second of every minute spent on social media is a value proposition, so not all or even most of the content should directly promote your sales.
- Create a short list of target Small Business Saturday social media hashtags.
- Upload images as often as possible.
- Reply to customers, of course, but converse with other small businesses, too. Social media algorithms are secret, but clearly all platforms reward accounts that interact and author posts that resemble a conversation, not an announcement.
- Other Small Business Saturday social media ideas: announce news on social media, create surveys or polls for interactions, be strategic about posting onto and from your personal account to your business one, and tag friends and associates in photos you post.
4. “Boost” your posts
It used to be that posts from both acquaintances and brands all swirled around on social media platforms. Now, for a business account, you pretty much have to “boost” your messaging to get it seen by a wider audience.
For most social platforms, that means paying for it to surface in social media feeds of users that may not already follow you, thus gaining additional “impressions.” Learning the basics of boosted content will put you ahead of the curve.
5. Continue the momentum: Build a following and expand your reach
If you don’t already promote your social handles on your packaging and digital assets, such as email communications and your website, then do so.
Use tactics such as surveys and questions to encourage followers to engage with your posts.
Reward in-store visitors that “tag” themselves at your business or enter followers that @ mention your business or use a custom hashtag in their own posts into a prize drawing.
Respond to your customers – be it happy or angry ones. Social media should be a two-way conversation if you want it to work hard for your business.
6. Reviews and IRL
In all of this work around Small Business Saturday social media, don’t discount the value — or harm — of a close cousin of traditional social media platforms — user review sites such as Yelp and Google.
Monitor your presence in these places. They typically top the list of search results or finish on the first page, and most criticism and praise here is concerted and earnest. Increasingly, people are turning to review sites for “research” to aid their purchasing decisions.
If you don’t see yourself there, enlist customers to please review your business and service. Even moderate reviews serve you better than nothing at all.
Finally, invest just as much thought and strategy into your offline plans for Small Business Saturday as you have your social hype . The kids call it “IRL” — in real life. For tips on how to create a memorable and engaging in-store experience on Small Business Saturday, check out our Customer Experience Checklist.
For more tips and tricks, like optimal image sizes and ideal post lengths for each social platform, check out our downloadable Small Business Saturday Social Media Guide today!