‘Be intentional’: Consistency, community cited as keys to small business social media

Social media is becoming increasingly important to helping small business owners find new customers and grow their revenue. Nearly 60% of people say they are more likely to buy from a brand if they follow it on social media, according to a report from Sprout Social, a company that makes social media management software.

On Friday, Tanner Butler, an account manager at Fierce Creative Agency, a digital marketing firm in St. Charles, discussed things every small business should be doing on social media. Maintaining a consistent posting schedule and brand are key to having a strong social media presence, Butler said.

Butler spoke during a Facebook Live in Missouri Business Alert’s Small Business Network, a new Facebook group to connect business owners across the state.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Missouri Business Alert: What would you say are keys to having a strong social media presence?

Tanner Butler: A strong social media presence comes from being intentional. That’s the first piece about it. You should be intentional about the things you post, the intention about your planning, and just be intentional about your overall social media strategy. And then, that goes into your consistency.

There’s a couple different things that come along with your consistency. The first would be quite literally just being consistent on the channel — so making sure you’re posting consistently, whether that’s once a week, if that’s all you have time for, or up to one post a day, to make sure that you’re consistently there. This is for your audience to see you, as well as the social media’s algorithm. Basically, they’re going to reward your account for posting more often, so they want to see that you’ve got engaging content all the time.

And then the next piece of consistency would be consistency for your brand, so making sure that the image that you want to put out there is great on social. Talk about your brand itself, that is the way that you write post captions, and then that is also the way that your brand looks, so making sure that all your graphics fall into your brand standards and making sure that you’ve got a nice cohesive feed on social.

MBA: What would you say are types of content that tend to perform well?

TB: The number one thing is sharing your story on social media. The audience goes crazy for it every time, across the board, no matter what your business is. This is great for small businesses. So that is posting once a week, a day in your life. What you’re doing today, or a picture of you and your family and why you started your business or what keeps you motivated throughout the week. We have just found that telling that story of the business owner is key in getting our audience engaged in the story.

MBA: What are some of the biggest mistakes that you have seen entrepreneurs do on their social profiles?

TB: One of the biggest mistakes we see is when brands are not consistent, and they post stuff that is not great for your business to be posting. Your business account, as much as we want to hear your personal story, it’s not your personal Facebook page. You should not be posting memes on there. You should not be posting things you find funny. You should make sure it relates to your business. Go back to that, “What’s in it for me? What’s in it for your audience?” And if it’s not something that directly relates to your business, don’t post it.

And then … just share your content. A lot of people get hung up with starting the account, getting those posts out there. So one big mistake is just not posting enough. Make sure that you’re posting at least once a week and getting your content out there for the algorithm and for your audience.

MBA: How do you define a successful social media page for a small business?

TB: There are a lot of elements that go into defining success. You do need to look at your metrics on social to see how things are performing, but certain things are vanity metrics. Vanity metrics are things that look good, but might not matter that much. So, the number of likes a post gets, that would be a vanity metric, because it’s just like, “Oh, yeah, that looks great. We got 50 likes, but did anyone do anything because of the post?”

Really, what we like to look at would be engagement rate. So, are people clicking the posts? Are they clicking the link in the post? Are they commenting on the post? That kind of goes into creating community, which is another way to measure success on social (by) making sure that your audience feels empowered to engage with your brand and feels like they can respond back and forth with you and interact with you there.

Finally, the one that translates all the way through to your business would be those conversions. Is your social media community converting to your customers? Are they engaging with you outside of social? You want to make sure that you’re converting these people into lifelong fans. If you run a little shop, you want to make sure that people are talking about your brand on social and then they also come to visit your store.

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