Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Family-Run Business
Your family-run business was doing great; then the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK and suddenly, the whole country was in lockdown and your foot-trade was gone. If you weren’t into social media for your business at all, or you had social media platforms but rarely used them, it was a case of rapidly changing the way you marketed your business to online customers.
So many small, family-run businesses were caught out. Almost overnight, the rules of marketing your small business changed forever. Digital media, be it your website (if your business had one) and your social media platforms became your lifeline to business survival. Vodafone UK’s research showed that 71% of small businesses were now relying on just their digital sales to generate income during the coronavirus lockdowns.
But if you’ve never marketed your small, family-run business on social media platforms before, how do you know which channels are right for your business? With so many social media channels to choose from, it can be mind-blowing. So, to help you sort the ‘social wheat’ from the ‘social chaff’, we’ve put together a series of top tips to identify the right social media platforms for you.
Tip 1: Who are your target customers?
Before you can start working out which social media platform is right for your business, you have to understand who your customer is. For example, are they in the 21-35 age bracket or the 50-65 age bracket? If your business is fashion retail, do you sell more to women or men? Are you predominantly selling to businesses or to consumers?
Once you’ve gathered this type of information, you then need to ask yourself about your typical customer’s interests, how they use social media themselves, i.e. to read the news or follow fashion trends, and the type of content they want to see. You won’t get it right the first time; be prepared to be flexible and adjust your social media content over a period of time.
Tip 2: What do you want to achieve?
Don’t be tempted to load your social media platforms with as much content as you can and bombard your target customers. Not only will you find it difficult to track and measure what’s working and what isn’t, but you could also very well end up driving your customers away, too.
Decide what you want to achieve with your social media marketing so that you can focus on posting the right content that’s going to attract old and new customers to your small, family-run business. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
- Increase brand awareness – getting your brand, i.e. your business name, out there in the big, wide digital world can often be the hardest task. Create content that is likely to increase awareness of a brand, such as communicating and engaging with your audience by talking about how your product or service can solve their problem.
- Promote a product or service – do you have a bestseller or launching a new product? Gear your social media content to drive sales with special offers, introductory discounts or even a competition.
Tip 3: Research the different social media platforms for businesses
So, you’ve worked out who your typical customer is and what you want to achieve; next, it’s deciding which social media platform is right for your small business. Let’s consider the most popular social media channels for businesses.
- Facebook for business – with more than 2.45 billion active users per month, of which 1.6 billion use the platform, you can understand why this is the number one choice – but is it right for your business? Facebook users want to see pictures and videos. For small businesses that sell products in industries like health and beauty or fashion retail, you’re onto a winner with this platform. However, businesses that sell engineering services may not fare so well. Facebook for business suits just about any type of content, from statistics and ‘how to’ guides to sharing resources and special offers. It is much more of a business-to-consumer (B2C) platform than a business-to-business (B2B) platform but that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t focus on selling to businesses, too.
- LinkedIn for business – LinkedIn has a reputation for being much more a B2B social media platform than others, such as Facebook or Instagram. That said; every LinkedIn business user is also a consumer. Therefore, don’t dismiss this social media channel if you are in the health and beauty industry, for example. This is a great platform for sharing stories, such as case studies, information about your business, any events you are attending or running, as well as current trends or industry insights.
- Twitter for business – posts on Twitter have a much shorter lifespan than on other social media platforms. With a limited number of characters allowed per ‘tweet’ – 280-characters – it’s a great way to announce a special offer or discount on products, an event, post an informational infographic or a poster of a new product launch. Hashtags are also a must-use with Twitter, enabling users to follow specific topics of interest and raising your brand’s awareness.
Instagram for business – if your small, family-run business’s products and services are visually-led, lifestyle brands, Instagram is a must-have social media channel. Instagram is all about creating a story through the use of short videos and eye-catching images – think online gallery!
Tip 4: Go to your audience
Pick the social media platforms that your typical customer uses – there’s no point in having a Snapchat account if your target audience is in the 50–65 age bracket. Remember that your social media marketing not only has to benefit your business, it’s also got to be of use to your customer.
Tip 5: Limit the number of social media platforms
Once you’ve got the hang of social media marketing, it’s very easy to get carried away with the number of platforms you use. Keep your online social media to just two or three channels that actually reach your target customers. There’s no point running ragged and spreading yourself too thinly across multiple social media channels. It’s far better to focus on a small number and ensure your content is engaging and useful to your customers.
At Media in a Box, we offer a variety of social media, SEO, content marketing, and website design services that are not only highly effective but will also meet everyone’s budget no matter how big or small it is. Whether it’s optimising your website, developing a social media plan or helping with content marketing, contact us today and let’s chat.