I own a small artisan/craft business and I think a lot about how social media can be best used for small businesses that have few employees or in my case one employee–me!. Facebook has been my main mode of communicating with customers in the past two years and has been great but now I’m looking to expand and look at new applications that would suit a smaller business. In my research I came across many lists of tips, some helpful and some more suited to big business. The Forbes article below had some interesting points that got me thinking. Most of the tips can be applied to any business but here are a few of the highlights that I think are helpful.
Have a realistic expectation for what you want social media to accomplish for your business and a good plan to execute your needs.
Very good advice to have a business plan in general but research the areas of social media that can best serve your business. I’ve stuck with Facebook because it is relatively safe and easy to use but perhaps there are better and more efficient ways of getting my products to potential customers. For me, Pinterest and Instagram are on my list to tackle next.
Explore who your audience is and what social media channels they hang out on.
Key to helping you pinpoint where to best put your money and effort.
Set a pace for social media and make it maintainable for the size of your business.
Putting together posts and photos and trying to figure out the best time to post can be a challenge. It’s only through experimentation that I have had mini breakthroughs and a few surprises along the way. This tip goes hand in hand with knowing your audience and where to find them.
Quality posts over quantity
Do you post ten times a day or once or twice a week? Personally, I like to think that quality posts that are helpful and informative are preferred to a bunch of posts with little to no content. I guess it depends on the type of business again.
Know who your audience is following and follow similarly
A little spy work can come in handy. In my knitting world this is not difficult. There are a plethora of blogs and websites out there that have huge followings and can help you keep your ear to the ground when it comes to what’s new and what people are following, ie. Ravelry
Be confident and put yourself out there and have a professional manner when responding to criticism, comments, questions
Putting yourself out there is a huge step but once you start posting and getting positive responses especially from people you may have never met, your confidence builds and you start to get excited about possibilities. Of course with the positive comes the negative and it’s important to have a plan in place for when criticism and negative comments come your way. Try to stay above the situation and remain professional.
Social media is always changing and what works for one business may not work for another so stay open-minded and go with what feels right at the time. You may start out in one area of social media for example Facebook and over time migrate to new areas like Pinterest or Instagram depending on the style of business and what your clientele is looking for. Be flexible and have fun!
What strategies or tips have you found to be helpful?