Social media is a boon for businesses. It offers reach, engagement, and more at a low cost — it’s virtually free. Indeed, many small businesses eschew websites altogether in favour of a social presence instead.

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    But social media provides more than just a convenient way to communicate with your customers. It also offers sales, data, branding opportunities, and more. Consequently, social is almost a necessity for businesses in 2019.

    Maybe you haven’t launched a social strategy yet. Or perhaps you already do, but you want to take it that bit further. Whatever your position, the tips listed below will help you use social media to make a real difference to your business.

    Use social media to tell your brand story

    Social media is just that — social. It’s about people, a platform for users to share their lives with their friends, family, and beyond.

    The same applies to your business too. Use your social channels to tell your brand’s story.

    Impersonal sales pitches don’t land well on social. Instead, showcase your business’s human side. Let your brand personality shine through.

    Your copywriting is what makes this work. Your vocabulary, cultural references, tone of voice — these should both reflect your brand personality but also that of your audience too.

    Create a set of brand guidelines to standardise your writing style. These should include:

    • Grammar and punctuation rules
    • Tone of voice
    • Example copy
    • Brand values
    • Do’s and don’ts
    • Emoji usage

    This is just an example, but it serves as a good benchmark to create your own and ensure your copywriting stays coherent across your channels.

    But visuals are also important too. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest place great emphasis on strong visual content, and this format is ideal for showcasing your brand personality.

    Lean on social for fresh content ideas

    Filling your content calendar is a necessary but challenging chore. Coming up with fresh ideas that resonate with your audience on a regular basis is a full-time job in itself, even without factoring in the actual content creation.

    But social media is a valuable resource for content ideation.

    Social media monitoring is crucial here. Tracking what your customers are saying online gives you an insight into what they want. This has the benefit of providing content ideas that are guaranteed to resonate with your target audience.

    For instance, let’s say you’re a cleaning brand and you notice that customers ask their peers for tips on getting red wine out of a white sofa. You could then create a guide (featuring your own products) that explains just how to do this.

    This is just an example, but it shows how valuable social media is when it comes to content ideation.

    Give yourself some breathing space with automation

    Planning and coordinating a social calendar is a demanding task. Between ideation, content curation, writing posts, and the other myriad tasks associated with a social strategy, it requires a huge investment in time and money.

    Thankfully, like most things in life, there’s an app for that. Or rather, there are lots of apps, dedicated automation tools to help you plan, schedule, and monitor your social strategy.

    Sendible offers a social management solution that lets you allocate posts to calendar days with ease. The dashboard also presents vital metrics to help you track each post’s success in real-time.

    Create an editorial calendar spanning two weeks at a time then, once they’ve approved, upload them to your chosen automation software all at once. This gives you a two-week space in which to research and plan the next couples of weeks for your social calendar — simple.

    Track, measure, and quantify every step of the way

    For many small businesses, a social media strategy feels like something they should have but without knowing why. They see it as more of an exercise in vanity than something that delivers tangible results.

    But monitoring and tracking your social strategy helps you monitor business growth, spot top customers, and hone the rest of your marketing channels too.

    Link tracking is one of the easiest methods of quantifying your social strategy. It helps you identify when customers enter into your sales funnel and gauge how many conversions your posts drive.

    It’s worth mentioning Bitly here. Its link shortener offers built-in analytics that let you monitor in real-time how often a link is clicked, when, who by, and more. It’s easy to use and intuitive, so you don’t need to have a deep analytical knowledge to benefit from it.

    Alternatively, if you’re using an online store builder with advanced marketing features, you can integrate your social media and sales data. This helps you track sales made from social and monitor your customer’s journey through to conversion with ease.

    Use social to drive offline events

    Pop-up events and social media go hand-in-hand. From pre-event promotion and competitions to live coverage of the day, it’s the perfect combination that makes a noticeable difference to your business.

    Create hype for your event on social with teaser posts. Build on this with competition for freebies or VIP tickets. Share posts that actively encourage engagement: questions, contests, and giveaways are a few examples of this.

    As well as boosting your online engagement, this strategy also gives your social follower count a quick shot in the arm too.

    Pop-up events are also ideal for using as a sales channel in their own right too. POS systems are easy to install and low-cost into the bargain. Shopify’s own POS system, for instance, offers easy and secure payments that integrates your offline data into your other sales figures too.

    This puts offline retail into your hands, without the need for expensive overheads or investment in permanent retail infrastructure.

    In this way, pop-up events both drive offline sales and social engagement in one push. It’s a simple event that’s relatively easy to coordinate, but has lasting benefits for your business into the future.

    Social media is a powerful asset for a brand. But with new features being added all the time, there’s always space to take it further for your business.

    Let social automation free up time and resources to focus on other tasks. Lean on your social community to source fresh content ideas. Use pop-up events to drive offline sales with online social results. And above all, ensure you measure and quantify every step of the way.

    Follow the tips above and enjoy a flourishing social strategy that makes a difference to your business time and again.

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