Small Business Support: The Five W’s of Social Media
Is your business anti-social? Have your clients expressed concern about not being able to connect with you online? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, there is always room for growth when it comes to social media and sharing content with your target audience. It’s called social media for a reason. It exists primarily so that people all over the world can participate in social networking without sitting face to face; the opportunities are limitless, and the outreach potential is enormous. There does not need to be an associated cost, only effort.
“A social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears.”
– Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva
Whether you’ve yet to open any social media accounts for your business, or you post on a daily basis, this blog post will help you discover the why, who, where, what, and when key factors of a smart social media approach, and why this is essential for the ongoing success of your business in the digital world.
The Why: To Enhance and Manage Your Public Image
If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. Okay, maybe your mom, but you get the point. If your business doesn’t take control of its social media presence, nobody else will, and then you’ll be missing out on valuable opportunities to connect with existing and future customers that are looking your business up online. For example, if your business isn’t listed on Google, and has no images or website links, a potential customer may simply choose a service elsewhere. Similarly, if your business has no social media presence, a rising number of people will see your company as a less trustworthy source.
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”
– Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon
The Who: Your Target Audience
Your target audience refers to a generalized group of people that your business tends to cater to. For example, at Mentor Works, our target audience is small-to-medium-sized business owners, because those are the leaders making decisions about government funding. Knowing your target audience can help you plan, schedule, and share the proper content using social media platforms. If you don’t know your target audience, these demographics, along with other key metrics, can be found via resources such as Google Analytics or Moz.
The Where: Social Media Platforms to Utilize
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Make sure to use more than one social media platform, and pay close care to the ones your business uses after you’ve established where your target audience is most active.
A list of heavily registered social media platforms, their features, and key demographics:
- One of the oldest and longest remaining social media platforms on the internet.
- Key business features: Capability of paid social posts in visual formats which guarantee views and clicks.
- A total 1.6 billion daily active users; caters mostly to Canadian women aged 28-49.
- A rapidly advancing social media tool for marketers, owned by Facebook.
- Key business features: Organic discovery via hashtags and localized stories.
- More than 500 million daily users; caters primarily to millennials and youth.
- A smaller and harder outreach than other platforms, but a mighty force in business sharing and community involvement.
- Key business features: Businesses are most active on LinkedIn and Twitter, with a more professional outreach and potential in social resharing and linking.
- Roughly 145 million daily users on this platform; caters primarily to adult men.
- 91% of business leaders rank LinkedIn as their first choice for professional content.
- Key business features: Company pages, group updates, and team member overviews.
- 303 million monthly active users; most popular with 25-to-49-year-old adults
- The Netflix of social media, YouTube is the most popular social media site in North America.
- Key business features: Unlimited video creating and sharing capacity.
- YouTube reaches more 18-to-49-year-old adults than any other social media or cable network in North America, with more than 2 billion active monthly users.
- Businesses using Snapchat are unlikely to reach older generations, but there’s a huge potential to connect with youth.
- Key business features: Video sharing and interactive digital content.
- The majority of users are aged 15-27, with 210 million daily active users.
- Ranking as the number one app for the category of entertainment, businesses utilizing TikTok can create short-form videos to educate and promote their services on a variety of topics to boost their brand.
- While the platform remains to be dominated by demographics of youth between the ages of 10-19 consisting of 25% of users, there has been a significant uptick in older demographics downloading the platform with 60% of users falling between the ages of 20-49.
- As of 2022 statistics, TikTok now has over 1.5 billion monthly active users.
Our suggestion would be to choose at least two of these platforms, and start posting daily with a key set of hashtags that are relevant to your business operations. A free and easy-to-use tool that can help you find trending, relevant hashtags for various platforms is Keyword Tool. You can use it to discover keywords that will appear in people’s feeds, stories, and even blogs if influencers have embedded versions of plugins that are tracking specific hashtags.
The What: How to Share What Your Audience Wants to See
A common issue that comes up across companies in all sorts of sectors is that they feel they have nothing to share, so they share nothing at all. The easy solution to this is simply to start posting content, because social media is a continuous and changing endeavour. You don’t have to post anything elaborate; you could start by simply resharing other relevant content until you’ve built up ideas of your own. One easy way of identifying what your target audience would like to see online is by pinpointing the internal resources they already enjoy.
The When: Best Times to Post on Social Media
When it comes to posting times and platform specifics, it’s hard to determine because every industry and time zone have their own best times to post. Despite this, there are industry benchmarks that naturally apply across the board, as illustrated via this Hootsuite graphic:
Government Funding for Social Media and Digital Enhancement
Social media is an important, and relatively free, tool to help run a successful small business. It allows existing and future customers from the local community to receive updated news about your business from the comfort of their home. This can be a benefit to businesses when return customers know exactly where they can easily attain daily information.
There are several government funding programs that support digital innovation costs, which could include projects that aim to enhance the use of social media.
If you have a digital innovation project in mind, please contact the experienced team of specialists at Mentor Works for support in the government funding application process.
Great post here Alena – we are in 2020 and it still surprises me how many organizations have little or no social media presence or for that matter a dynamic and informative website. Understanding where your intended audience “plays” online and what they want to see in terms of content can definitely amplify your corporate voice.
Thank you for sharing your opinions, Andy. We agree, in a business world moving more towards digital capabilities and overall online functionality, it is rather strange how many small businesses have yet to utilize the use of social media platforms. We hope this article may help at least one company in feeling confident enough to start engaging more with their customers and interacting in a more dynamic way online. Have a wonderful day!