Unlocking the Social Media Vault: Social Media Strategies for Small Businesses

Unlocking the Social Media Vault: Social Media Strategies for Small Businesses

Launching and growing a business is no small feat. It's like embarking on an epic quest filled with countless challenges and unexpected twists and turns. I once lost 5,000 BakeSpace members due to a software error that simply scheduled backups. That's 5,000 customers -- poof! The journey is not for the faint of heart. And yes, I did cry.

But in today's digital age, simply having a great product or service isn't enough. You also need to master the art of online engagement and be social media savvy. That's right – in addition to wearing multiple hats as CEO, marketer, accountant, and customer service rep, you're also expected to be a master of wit and charm in the digital realm. In a sea of cat memes and viral challenges, how can your small business stand out?

Purposeful Posting

For those of you who remember the early social media days when simply adding a Facebook Like button on your website was all you needed to reach others and grow, the struggle of reaching customers feels harder than ever. Gone are the days of mindlessly scrolling through a feed and hitting ‘share’ on anything that catches your eye. No longer can you count on your followers to help spread the word -- they might not even see your post. Instead, focus on creating content with intention – content that aligns with your brand values, resonates with your target audience, and drives meaningful engagement. Every post should have a purpose, whether it’s educating, entertaining, or inspiring your followers to take action.

Actionable Takeaway: Before hitting that ‘post’ button, ask yourself: What is the purpose of this content? Does it align with my brand and speak to my audience’s needs? If the answer is yes, then unleash it upon the digital world with confidence!

Authenticity is King.

In the kingdom of social media, authenticity reigns supreme. Today’s consumers crave genuine connections with brands – not polished, airbrushed personas that feel more like robots than humans (which feels even harder to disseminate now that AI is in every corner of the web). Don’t be afraid to be a little quirky and show the world what makes your small business unique. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your team in action, showcase your quirks and idiosyncrasies, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in every post. Remember, people buy from people they know, like, and trust – so let your authenticity be your secret weapon.

Actionable Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to show the world the real you. Embrace your flaws, celebrate your quirks, and watch as your authenticity attracts a tribe of loyal followers.

Consistency is Key (but so is Variety)

Ah, the age-old dilemma: consistency vs. variety. It’s like trying to choose between pizza and tacos – why not have both? While consistency is crucial for building brand recognition and trust, variety is equally important for keeping your audience engaged and excited. So strike a balance between the two – establish a regular posting schedule to maintain consistency, but don’t be afraid to mix things up with different types of content, topics, and formats. Whether it’s a witty meme, an informative infographic, or a heartwarming customer testimonial, keep your content fresh, diverse, and always on brand. One of the best ways to create content is simply to share your fan's content. It's already speaks to your customers.

Actionable Takeaway: Create a content calendar to maintain consistency, but don’t be afraid to shake things up and keep your audience on their toes. Variety is the spice of life – so sprinkle it liberally throughout your social media strategy.

Engagement is a Two-Way Street

Let’s talk about the E-word: engagement. In the world of social media, it’s not enough to simply broadcast your message to the masses – you must also actively engage with your audience. Respond to comments, answer questions, and participate in conversations to show your followers that you’re not just a faceless corporation, but a real human being who cares about their needs and opinions. This is particularly important for jumping into conversations driven by passion -- like food, crafting, sports, etc. Consumers are savvy enough to know when they are in the presence of a true fan. By fostering meaningful interactions with your audience, you’ll not only build stronger relationships, but also boost your brand’s visibility and credibility in the process.

I had this challenge when I launched a precut butcher paper company for crafts during the pandemic -- after being knee deep in food for years, I had to start all our Precut Paper accounts from scratch.

Actionable Takeaway: Don’t be a wallflower – get out there and mingle with your audience! Show them that you’re not just here to sell, but to connect, engage, and build genuine relationships that last. Open Instagram, Tik Tok, X, Facebook (and even Linkedin) and search by hashtags and posts. Linkedin is a great resource for finding recent news stories in your given category. I love seeing a post and reading the comments -- it's full of consumer reactions. I also love reading amazon reviews for competitor products - what works, doesn't ect. That's where you find gems to add to your own product descriptions. I also love Reddit and those snarky posters. So check out what consumers are talking about and what kind of content gets them excited. Facebook Groups are another great way to be part of the conversation. Just don't spam, build your credibility first. Be helpful and others will cheer you on.

Don't Swim Upstream

When it comes to social media savvy, remember this: it's like riding a wave, not fighting against it. Sure, throwing in a curveball perspective here and there can stir up some good conversation, but constantly going against the current? That's like swimming upstream with weights tied to your ankles! Instead, find your groove by blending in with the flow while still adding your unique flair. Remember, you're at a party, not the Guest of Honor. Social media is like a never-ending party—join the conversation, but don't be the person who starts a fight.

Also, it's important to remember to not zag when you should be zigging. I once saw a famous chef post a highly-charged, political post out of context -- it was very off brand to his nice guy persona and made him seem snarky and frankly unhinged. It lacked taste and it overshadowed his brand's good will -- an unforced error. Now, it's all I see when he posts and he has no idea why I don't engage. Don't be THAT guy.

Actionable Takeaway: Engage with others respectfully and constructively. Remember, there are real people on the other side of the post -- try not to offend someone cause you think it's cool to jump on the bandwagon. You have one job -- and it's to sell hamburgers.

Slow the F Down.

In the fast-paced world of social media, it's easy to fall into the habit of quickly scanning through posts. However, this approach can sometimes lead to misunderstandings. Take the time to read posts carefully, especially those that catch your attention. What may initially seem to align with your views could turn out to be the complete opposite upon closer inspection (due to the the nuances of sarcasm). By reading attentively and critically, you can avoid misconceptions and engage (or not) with content more thoughtfully.

I recently saw a post about an important topic to me -- I was about to like it when I slowed down and realized the post said the exact opposite of my views and it shook me to my core. Not only was I truly disappointed in this person -- but I was almost an accessory to the vile statement. Now I will definitely think twice about their posts in the future.

Actionable Takeaway: A few extra moments spent on reading can save you from unintentionally endorsing ideas that conflict with your values. So, slow down, read with intent, and ensure that your interactions on social media reflect your true beliefs and principles.

Well that's it for today -- post with purpose, embracing authenticity, balancing consistency and variety, and actively engaging with your audience, slow down before posting and you’ll not only survive in the wild world of social media, but thrive like never before. Good luck!

Image was created using TastyUpdate! Give it a try today -- https://tastyupdate.com

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