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Which social media is best for small businesses?

Amid the proliferation of social media platforms, how do you know which ones your business should be using?

Maintaining a presence across multiple platforms is important, and increasing your business’s presence online will, in turn, create more opportunities for consumer discovery and interaction.

For small businesses focused on community and individual customers, this makes social media a powerful platform for connecting directly with an audience to build brand awareness and brand loyalty. Even better, social media is also an effective platform for lead generation. You can create the content and resources that will provide added value to your prospects and customers, all the while nurturing their brand affinity. When users click on your content or offer, they are actively looking for it or opting in to receive updates by following your business. Because these people have already opted in, they’re more likely to convert than a random person seeing an ad or offer unrelated to what they need.

Social media is a free and easy tool for businesses to connect directly with people interested in their brand, and it’s fun (c’mon, we have gifs!). Free, easy, and fun doesn’t mean that you can just log in and start posting, though. Before that, you need to set a social media strategy.

Why your small business needs a social media strategy

Back in the day, with only a few options for social media, and before its specific value-add had defined each social platform, businesses could just pop in and post whatever, whenever. The world of business on social media was sparse, and the capabilities of businesses to connect with their target audience even more so.

Social media is now an important part of an inbound marketing strategy. Creating valuable content and ranking well for it on the SERP is one thing, but sharing that content out to the right people and getting those people that are interested in your brand, product, or service back to your site is another.

Sharing these five social media trends for small businesses.

Vanity metrics are losing their emphasis.

The reign of the social media ‘like’ is almost over. In an attempt to have a positive impact on mental health, both Facebook and Instagram have been trialling a reduction in the visibility of ‘likes’ on their platforms. Australia has been one of the first countries involved in these trials.

Some trial social media feeds have noticed that other people can no longer see their numbers of ‘likes’ and ‘views’, although they can still see it for themselves. If trials prove successful, this removal of visibility will shift the focus of social media marketing in 2020 towards higher value and community-based content.

However, it’s worth remembering that engagement measured in numbers is not as important as engagement measured in sales. It may well be that a shift in your content style and your community engagement strategies bring about the results you’re seeking. This trend will have particular significance for industries that utilise high volumes of social media images and videos. For example, the beauty market includes beauticians and hairdressers.

Social media will become vital to customer service.

When a customer complaint is posted online, it has a large audience. Negative responses to your small business services can be highly visible and have the potential to be damaging. You might be surprised how many negative reviews, complaints and comments about your business are out there.

Failing to respond quickly enough to consumers is a mistake you don’t want to make on a public platform. Globally, over a third of social media, consumers expect an answer to queries within 30 minutes.

The personal training and fitness market is a good example of how important social media feedback can be. With this type of one-to-one service, connection and relationships are everything, making negative feedback particularly damaging.

The good news is that social media can give you great opportunities to provide excellent and publicly visible customer service. This is an important social media trend for 2020. By learning more about social media for business and developing a solid social media customer service strategy, you can enhance your public profile and build consumer confidence.

Video content is strong and growing.

If you already have a social media side hustle going, you’ll know that social media video content continues to be really popular. Video is one of the key social media trends for 2020. By 2022, it is predicted that 82% of traffic on the global internet will be video traffic.

This means that social media platforms are going to be maximising on the potential of video content. It also means that social media platforms such as TikTok, which specialise in enhanced and community video content, are going to see an increase in popularity.

For small businesses, response to this prioritisation may well require a re-focusing of social media efforts and the development of new social media skills. Online training is a great way to build your social media toolkit. Upskilled’s 10118NAT - Diploma of Social Media Marketing is a nationally recognised course, which includes units on planning, implementing and managing social media marketing strategies.

Influencers will require increased authenticity.

The continuing popularity of social media means that influencer marketing is going to be with us for some time to come. Paid social media advertising campaigns can be expensive, and working with influencers to promote your brand is a useful alternative. Not only can the right influencers generate sales, but they can also up your standing in important online communities.

Influencer marketing has recently had some bad press, and there are suggestions that the public is fed up with high paid celebrity promotions. One of the key social media trends for businesses in 2020 is that personalised comments from small, authentic influencers are going to carry a lot of weight with consumers.

Influencer marketing doesn’t have to be limited to the wider online community. Employees make great influencers and can really strengthen your brand’s reputation. As well as being good for you, employee advocacy can also be positive for your employees. It helps them to gain recognition as industry experts and can help them feel more involved in company decisions.

Social media groups will have real marketing power.

Social media began as a platform for sharing information and pictures with families and friends. As it grew, its marketing potential was picked up on, and providers started to introduce promotion-based attributes such as business pages and paid advertising.

Whilst this has seen success, this type of direct social media advertising does not appeal to everybody. Marketing strategies that operate within social media groups target a smaller but finely defined audience. This is a key 2020 social media trend from Mark Zuckerberg’s comments about Facebook Groups at the 2019 F8 conference. “Groups are now at the heart of the experience, just as much as your friends and family are.”

A social media group that represents your brand is easy to set up and gives you a fantastic opportunity to share information and offers. Not only that, your own social media group is a great way to form uninterrupted lines of communication with your audience.

Once your group is set up, it’s important to join in with discussions but avoid over-involvement regularly. You should also avoid direct sales pressure within the group. This is a place for subtlety and community engagement.

How Is Social Media Used For Business?

Social media sites are great for reaching bigger audiences. By using these platforms effectively, you can increase the visibility of your business, promote your products or services, generate new leads, and drive sales. Things like curated content and following best practices allow for businesses to market their services at maximum efficiency.

What Is The Best Social Media For Business?

These numbers above, among others, show that there is money to be made within the social media realm- but which one is best for your business?

This can be a tricky question because there’s not a single answer to this question. The best social media platform to use will vary from business to business, depending on the products or services provided, audience groups, and platform versatility. Just like each business, each social media platform is specialised for different functions, content, and groups of people.

That’s why we’re going to touch on these social media sites for business – so we can help business owners like yourself decide which platform is going to be the most profitable for you.

Facebook

The oldest site still in widespread use today, Facebook is a far-reaching platform that has users all over the world. Businesses can choose from a variety of options, including professional pages, paid post promotion, and native advertising. Facebook’s reach is so expansive that some small businesses choose to have a Facebook page and not have a website. While we don’t recommend that approach, it’s a testament to the power of Facebook’s audience.

Facebook is the grand daddy of social media platforms, a platform for sharing your life with your friends, family and people you met once, four years ago at a BBQ.

Who uses it?

95% of people who use social media, use Facebook. Statistics show that younger people are slowly losing interest; however, the adoption rate among the older community (35-50 years old) is continuing to increase dramatically. This is great as it means that older people are using it, as well as young people.

Hence the chances are, your target market is on there somewhere.

Is there a downside?

With Zuckerberg’s decision to trade publicly, users are concerned about their privacy and what information is made known to advertisers.

Twitter

This is a good platform for marketing to younger audiences. Ordinary people and businesses often have the opportunity to go “viral” on Twitter, since a string of re-tweets can help your content reach millions of people. With this heavy sharing aspect on Twitter, it’s a great opportunity to spread the word about your content. The one catch to using Twitter is the word limit. You only have a few characters to inform your audience of your products, so you’ll have to develop some serious editing skills.

A microblogging feed that has a 140 character limit and uses Hashtags to group conversations about specific topics with people you haven’t necessarily met or spoken to before.

Who uses it?

The demographic is relatively even in terms of gender; however, a slightly more mature user base is evident, and many influencers exist on this platform.

We seldom recommend using Twitter for our clients. Quite simply, there aren’t enough people in Australia who use it, and it takes up a lot of time. If you are a big brand, chances are you need it as people are already talking about you, but if you are a small business, it’s just not worth it.

Is there a downside?

All your tweets are public, and you may wind up talking to yourself for the majority of your conversations.

Linked In

The most business-oriented form of social media, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with other businesses and professionals. It’s an older platform that relies less on media content and more on text-based updates. While LinkedIn is a great place to form connections and find employees, it’s not the best platform for large-scale marketing or gimmicky campaigns. It is, however, perfect for B2B small businesses and niches.

Put simply, Linked In is Facebook for professionals where you don’t post photos of your food or cat, you post about interesting industry-related articles and career achievements.

Who uses it?

Almost anyone with a job can use it. However, there is a skew towards professionals. The platform will definitely grow, so get on it sooner rather than later.

Is there a downside?

A lot of time is required to set up your profile properly.

Google +

How to describe Google+? It has great functionality, it is great for SEO, it has a beautiful interface, but no one likes it. It is Facebook on steroids, and Google is forcing people to use it slowing but surely.

Google’s foray into social media enhances and unifies its other services such as Gmail, YouTube etc. and is great for SEO.

Who uses it?

Like Twitter, the user-base in Australia is quite low, meaning that if you’re on it, there really aren’t many people to talk to.

Is there a downside?

It’s like cleaning the house, it’s a lonely job, but it’s important, and as a business, it is a must.

Google wants Google+ to be a big hit, hence if people interact on Google+ with a link to your website, that counts as a very positive ‘Social Signal’. This results in a boost to the search engine page rankings on your site and ultimately more traffic.

Instagram

Second, only to Facebook, Instagram has a relatively large following and has been around for several years. It’s much harder to find seniors on Instagram, which has a primary audience of millennials and teens, but Instagram’s international following is similar to that of Facebook. The distinguishing factor on Instagram is its reliance on pictures; to be successful on this platform, you must produce high-quality images and video content. This is difficult for many small businesses, but it’s worth it in the end. Instagram also offers paid advertising options.

A mobile image and video-sharing platform with built-in filters. This is a great platform and is only going to grow. It also uses #HashTags.

Who uses it?

There is a slight skew towards younger females; however, the overall user-base is quite high. This is where all the teenagers who abandoned Facebook ended up.

Is there a downside?

If it is hard for your business to produce images and your images aren’t very visually appealing, this platform will be a challenge.

Pinterest

A virtual pinboard-style photo/link sharing platform. This is great again for SEO

Who uses it?

Skew towards females.

Is there a downside?

It is a bit of a sea of copyright infringements, and the high proportion of female users can be either a positive or negative aspect, depending on your brand. Again, if you find it hard to produce visually appealing content, maybe steer clear of this one.

Youtube

A video-sharing website.

Who uses it?

Anyone who wants to upload or watch videos; from movie trailers to instructional how-to’s, vlogs, reviews, comedy skits – the list is endless.

Is there a downside?

It can be difficult to grow a following or get repeat viewers, there’s no anonymity, and the unskippable ads are spammy. Also, have you ever tried to produce a video? It isn’t easy, and it costs money, again this is something that should be left to larger brands.

Snapchat

Though it is a newcomer to the universe of social media, Snapchat has taken the world by storm. Today, it has millions of users that are active several times a day. Because of this, Snapchat businesses must provide frequent content. The quality of the content is less important, but users must be able to provide a daily “story” of photos and videos. After one day, your content expires, and you have to start all over again. If this sounds difficult to you, you’re not alone. Very few businesses use Snapchat, especially small businesses, because of the constant updates and content that are necessary for success.

A mobile video and image messaging service that sends content which cannot be viewed more than once. Snapchat also refrains from collecting any data on its users and has a sense of anonymity, which also appeals to youth.

Who uses it?

Younger users aged between 13 and 24.

Is there a downside?

There is no hard data to support the audience demographics as SnapChat’s service is so minimalistic that users don’t need to enter their country of residence, thus making data (in particular, Australian audience numbers) particularly difficult.

Now that you have all the information you need to set a social media strategy that works for your business and your business goals, you’re just about ready to get going.

Tracking your progress will be one of the most important aspects of executing your social media strategy.

As you begin posting to social media sites from your business, remember to keep track of which types of your posts, your audience responds best to on each platform.

 

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