Social Media Marketing - Our Top Tips for your Small Business
The outer space that is social media can be an overwhelming place for small businesses. And, as an equestrian business owner, you’re likely restricted on funds, time, and/or manpower. In other words: You need to enter this space with a game plan, because without one, social media marketing will quite literally be like traveling to outer space without a tour guide.
So to help you out, here are our best tips for where to start, what to post, and how to measure your success!
First things first
Despite being a fairly simple concept, there are some things we suggest you keep in mid when you first decide to get started with social media for your business!
"Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks".
1. A lack of social presence may make customers question your legitimacy. Any business with a social media presence is automatically viewed as more thoughtful, competent and focused than those that don't. In other words: It’s no longer a question of whether or not you should get on social media, but rather what platform you should focus on. An active social media account shows customers that your company runs smoothly and takes care of everything, down to the online marketing presence. Read our post about the do's and don'ts to optimise your brand (or yours!) online presence here!
Tip: When you first get started, combat the lack of presence by pushing as much brand-related content as possible on a regular basis. Aim is to build that online presence that your competitors already have!
2. Narrow down your target audience. Your products or services aren't for everyone, so make sure you’re speaking to the right people! Don't try to please a wide audience, and play within the niche you have set for your business to get the followers that will benefit your brand.
Where to post
Over the years theres been a prevailing attitude suggesting that you need to be on specific platforms. Research shows that 80% of customers are more likely to purchase after checking your brands facebook page, but irrespective of that you should chose platforms that suit your business. No single platform is a requirement!
3. Only take on what you can handle
Planning, creating, scheduling social media content alongside having conversations with potential customers AND running your business takes time. Thinking of signing up to all the social channels under the sun? No doubt you will spread yourself too think and your content will perform poorly. Strategise and keep true to the marketing plan and aim you have set for your brand!
4. Start where your customers are
Just because you love instagram doesn’t mean your customers are there. Figure out what medium your ideal customers use, and learn how to use that platform to reach them.
Tip: In the world of choosing social platforms to concentrate on for small businesses, less is often always more!
What to post
What sort of content is your audience interested in? It’s going to take a lot of trial and error to figure that out. As all brands are individuals, we can only provide generic tips, but no doubt that these should get you going!
5. Entertaining and useful content
Why do you go on social media? Generall, we use social channels to be entertained and communicate with likeminded people. As a result, whatever your company puts on social media should be built to engage first and market second (if at all!). Besides from being entertaining, being ‘useful’ to your followers is also crucial for engaging your audience. Got a book full of old tricks? Share them!
6. See and repeat
What do other businesses do to catch your attention? You can find ideas anywhere, but be sure to take your cues from your competitors and the content they post. Analyze and watch what they do and the content of their posts. It’s also important to monitor what other businesses and companies are doing that catches your attention.
Tip: Sign up for newsletters with social media articles and tips so you can daily or weekly receive emails with all sorts of new information, inspiration and social updates!
7. Images are key
Use high quality, crisp visuals. Recent research shows thatTwitter updates with images receive 150% more retweets than those without, and Facebook posts with images in them receive 2.3 times more engagement than those without.
Tip: Download apps that allow you to make stylish, custom images. Some free and other low-cost, you will suddenly have a marketing team in your pocket! Check our Canva, Over or Wordswag. Stuck for images? Check our Pferd Images - providing equestrian stock images as low prices. They regularly update their portfolio, and are a really helpful and dedicated team to work with!
8. Plan your posts
Small businesses can quickly get so caught up in strategy and SEO that they forget the most important part: to post consistently. Don't get wrapped up in the overthinking - get started with a simple posting plan to start. Then actually carry out and develop that plan consistently over time. Once you get comfortable posting on a regular basis, you can invest more time and money in a deeper strategy.
9. Invest in a scheduling tool
Investing in a scheduling tool to schedule you posts in advance. The tools will save you hours of time each week! We like both Buffer and Hootsuite for a variety of reasons, but the main takeaway here is: The tools allow you to schedule posts across multiple social channels for the day, week or month. This way you don’t spend 30-60 minutes every day on social media planning your content, but rather engaging with your followers through comments, retweets and likes.
Social media moves quickly, so you need to be more reactive here compared to your other marketing procedures. You need to be engaged with what’s happening; if you plan on just setting something up and walking away, you are better not having social media at all.
10. Two way street
When people mention your company on any of the platforms you utilise, let them know that you’re listening. If it’s a question or positive comment, respond ASAP. If not, make sure to like or favorite the post so they know you saw it. Little gestures goes a long way!
Tip: Look for local organizations with whom your business has a natural affinity of demographic crossover. Find them, follow them and engage with them! Retweet and repost their content, and look for opportunities to feature them in your content. You will find that their audience becomes your audience too.
11. Set yourself up for success
Optimise your other channels/content for social sharing. It is simple as using emails to promote social media content and including your social icons within the footer of your emails to build an audience. Incorporate social icons with a share functionality on blog pages, and icons with follow functionality should be placed in the footer or header.
One of the biggest challenges for social media marketing is proving the return of investment, both time and money.
12. Take advantage of the built-in analytics tools
You can’t manage what you don’t measure: Take advantage of the wealth of information provided in built-in, free analytics tools like Facebook Insights, Instagram statistics etc. The key is now what to measure – the important numbers to watch are engagement and impressions! Don’t worry too much about gathering a million followers.
Tip: Don't get swayed by vanity; number of followers, likes and retweets are good measures for success, but they can also be deceiving. Remember, not every follower is useful to you. It is better to have 500 great followers that are existing or potential new customers, than 5000 followers in cities or countries that will never use your services products.
Not going as well as you hoped? Testing of your social media content needs to be ongoing. You need to have a monthly if not a weekly check of how your content is performing, and what can be done to remedy not optimal numbers and figures. Bettering your campaigns can be done by optimising timing of posts, include stronger call to actions, improve the curation of industry content etc.
14. Be patient
A lot of users aren't aware of all of a platforms capabilities, or gets frustrated when they don't see a high engagement rate. If you aren't getting the results you want, go back to the basics; optimise your Facebook page, follow relevant accounts on Twitter, post regularly on Instagram and so on.