In my experience, many small business owners have either not fully embraced social media, are unsure which channels they should be active on or are not seeing the results they hoped for from their social media marketing activity.
In fact the Sensis Social Media Report released in June this year, found that while just under half (48%) of small and medium-sized businesses now have a social media presence, just a fifth (21%) are measuring their return on investment and just a third (31%) have a strategic plan for their social media activity.
The good news is that getting started on social media is not nearly as difficult as you might think and there a few key steps you can take to make the process even easier.
What Do You Want To Achieve?
To be successful in any aspect of your business it's always vital to plan your approach.
It doesn't have to be over-complicated but your social media plan should consider who your target audience is, what platforms you're likely to find them on and what the primary purpose of your activity is e.g. it may be to drive visitors to your website or you may want to position yourself as an expert in a particular field.
To begin with, I would advise mastering one platform before trying to juggle posting to multiple channels.
It's All About The Content
This is probably the one thing that most small businesses struggle with. What should I post?
Again the key is to always put yourself in your target audience's shoes and post information that you think they will find both useful and interesting.
And remember, while one of your objectives might be ultimately to drive more people to your website, your social media posts should not be all about you! Too much self-promotion will turn people off! Examples of self-promotion include links to your website, news about your company or testimonials from customers.
That said, depending on your industry and objectives, if you're not generating your own content you're unlikely to get the most out of having a presence on social media.
Posting interesting articles that you find in the media, sharing other people's posts and creating your own content by starting a blog or producing short videos are all excellent ways to keep your audience engaged. It's all about getting the balance right.
Once you've decided what platform to focus on, you need to build your network. One of the best tricks for succeeding at social media is to consume social media and share what you find!
In fact sharing other people's content is one of the quickest ways to get follows and shares of your own content. Scratch someone else's back and hopefully they'll scratch yours, so to speak!
Make sure you follow influencers, experts, marketers, companies and publications in your industry and you should build a great resource of news to share. Simply, liking, sharing or commenting on their content can help build your own network.
Spending just ten minutes a day checking your news feed and sharing useful content should see you well on your way to building your network in no time.
One of the biggest concerns that I hear from small business owners is that it is too time-consuming to succeed at social media but you can begin to make an impact by spending just an hour a week working on it.
Stick at at and make use of free online tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer and you can schedule your posts in one sitting without having to search for new stuff every day.