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Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses – Best Practices & Techniques

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Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses Best Practices & Techniques

Last updated on August 6th, 2020

Small businesses have only limited resources to depend while reaching out to their niche audience. For them, the precise targeting of potential customers on social media is the key to grow businesses. However, small brands need to follow best practices while doing social media marketing to get the best out of their restricted resources. Designhill conducted a panel discussion where the experts shared their experience on how to grow a business with social media marketing.

Social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are where most of the potential costumes of business live. But by simply posting content on these social platforms is not going to yield the desired results. Unless or until you devise an effective and time-tested strategy, it is difficult to emerge as a winner against the competition.

To address plenty of social media marketing issues of small businesses, Designhill conducted a panel discussion with the experts of this field on 8th June 2020. The panelists were invited to speak on different aspects of social media marketing were Andrew Cristodina, Brooke B. Sellas, Dorian Morin, Kate Paine, and Kristina Downer.

Here Is A Brief Introduction Of The Guest Expert Panelists

Andrew Crestodina is Co-founder of Orbit Media Studios and Chief Marketing Officer of Orbit Media, an award-winning 40-person digital agency in Chicago. Over the past 20 years, Andy has provided digital marketing advice to 1000+ businesses.

Brooke B. Sellas is Founder & CEO, B Squared Media in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She’s also the co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer.

Dorien Morin-van dam is a Social media consultant, More In Media and organic Social Media specialist, certified Agile Marketer, community manager, and keynote speaker. She has been in the trenches of social media for nearly 10 years.

Kate Paine is a Personal Branding Coach, and she helps authors, speakers, coaches, entrepreneurs, executives, and independent professionals stand out online to become recognized authorities in their industry.

Kristian Downer is Zoom, LinkedIn & Facebook Meeting Trainer and helping business owners and organizations use Zoom safely and effectively.

During the session, they shared their experience and showed how to drive results on social media and engage the audience. They discussed different ways to connect socially and offered social media trends, tips, and strategies with examples.

Here Is the Video Of The Panel Discussion With The Experts

Here Are The Essential Tips That Social Media Marketing Experts Offered To Small Business Owners

Designhill: When it comes to deciding the right social media platform for a business, how to go about it, and what factors should one consider while doing it?

Research Your Audience

Brooke B. Sellas: I think understanding your audience is significant. And, I also think it’s often a missed step when it comes to figuring out what platforms to be on. One of the easiest ways to figure out where you should be is to do a little bit of research. This means that you need to listen and find out where your customer base is online.

But do a quick survey by asking your audience about what social channels they are using. You can even incentivize them to answer the survey with an Amazon gift card. You should avoid blindly joining Facebook just because it is the biggest platform out there. It may be that your audience is not there. In that case, you will be wasting your time.

Not All Social Networks Are Made The Same

Andrew: I think you should keep the goals. There are social networks that are difficult for promoting content. Instagram doesn’t let you add links. Find out which social networks are more conversational and which are better for networking than others? It’s not necessarily true that LinkedIn is for B2B and Facebook for B2C. I would scrutinize and take a closer look at that thinking.

But the ideal social network isn’t just a place to dump links. I mean, it should be a place to have a conversation. So, look where the influencers are and know If the audience thinks about the goals. Think about the outcomes. That’s what the strategy is about a goal-focused plan.

Designhill: What are the criteria to decide on a suitable social media platform for your business?

Dorian Morin: I agree with what both Brooke and Andy said about listening to your target audience. But there is another critical aspect that you have to understand what your resources are. You know, there are small businesses with whom people tell all the time that they should be present here or there. My friends tell me that I need to be on Pinterest. And then, I go to Pinterest and find that this social platform is time-sensitive. It takes a lot of resources away from other places.

So, you should see where your target audience is already talking. You also need to understand your marketing budget and the resources and people you have to do the work. That is the way to be there on the social platform of your choice. The worst thing you can do is go to a platform and not do it in the right way.

Consider Your Resources

Therefore, I always look at the target audience but also look at what resources you have available right now. For example, you want to be on Pinterest, but you don’t have those resources. Then, you put this work in your six-month plan or 12-month plan as per the budget. However, while you are just going to start easy, but in six months, you should be ramping it. So, make sure that you consider your overall budget and resources as well.

Designhill: Do you think the strategy of distributing the same content on all the social channels works and how small businesses should optimize their strategies?

Kristian Downer: As a social media manager, there is nothing more frustrating than when people post something on Instagram, and they put it onto Facebook, and they keep the hashtags in the same places. And it doesn’t look quite the same if you put something on Facebook, and then put it on LinkedIn. It doesn’t look right. Such business owners struggle because they’ve learned how to use one platform and apply the same logic to the other platforms.

It is better to crush one platform and focus on it than to try and spread yourself too thin. So, you should want to treat each platform as if it has its audience, voice, style, and tribe. You should spread across the whole place because your audience can tell when you’re lazy and just spying stuff out there.

Designhill: During these coronavirus days, what social media platforms small businesses that have the audience in the vicinity should optimize?

Kait Paine: Well, it also goes back to your target audience. Whether it’s a global audience or local like in your backyard, like saloons, and restaurants, you still kind of need to understand where those people are probably spending their time online. And, typically, if it’s a restaurant or a local business, a lot of people are using Facebook, Instagram, or even Pinterest depending on what they’re doing. Therefore, if you know where your target audience lives and plays online, you want to make sure you are there.

I work a lot with LinkedIn. There is still an opportunity for anybody, globally or locally, where you can be making sure that you are positioning yourself as the go-to person in that world. For example, in our country, the US, right now, many restaurants are dealing with the COVID pandemic. If they put out content that talks about the type of people and the type of food they serve, it builds buzz. When they reopen, people are excited to get back out there. You must rebuild buzz for your business.

Designhill: Do more content posts mean more engagement and how to strategize for reaching the audience at the correct time?

Andrew Crestodina: The social media might be very frustrating because the organic reach of any specific post might be only one or 2%. Keep in mind that you can build the following, and you share content, but only a small percentage will see it. This is because social networks throttle back the organic reach of anything. They try to push you toward paid content.

If your goal is the conversation and to interact with humans, and talk to people, you’re going to enjoy it and have a lot of fun. I mean, no one tries to measure the ROI of their phone. But social media is kind of like that. If you want just to make friends interact, network, do influencer marketing, build relationships, then there are a lot of tricks.

I could give you ten ways to get more shares, likes, and comments. You can include a lot of mentions. Know that your social bios give people a reason to follow. There are strong visuals, being a little bit provocative using unexpected words triggering emotion, etc. things that can improve your organic reach a little bit.

But ultimately, that’s not necessarily social. Social media should be an interactive conversation. Every post in social is either promoting something that was created, curating something someone else made, or having the conversation. So the content on social media is about creation, curation conversation. So, you should be talking to people and listening to social.

Make Data-driven Decisions

Brook B. Sellas: Make sure that you are looking at the data, and your decisions are data-driven. I think when it comes to content, a lot of times, we go with the gut feeling and say this is prettier. This story is going to do so well. Or, we want to talk about this new thing that we have. Instead of using data, we rely on our gut, or groupthink to have us post what we’re posting. When instead, we run a simple report every week internally, we call it a seesaw report. It’s where we look at the top and bottom three performing posts of that week.

We try to uncover micro trends and patterns on that content. You want to answer the questions such as why did or did not the content do well. Over time, we found that we can deliver better content because we’re letting the data and the audience tell us what they want us to talk about versus just using those gut checks.

Designhill: Do you agree that It seems to be more of a scientific way to reach out to those audiences and build up social accounts?

Brook B. Sellas: You must pay attention to the data. And then I also would probably stress the human-centered AI, but I’m all about the human piece to the connection. So what’s that little nugget of your story that helps you be the professional that you are? You should incorporate some interest there through your content so that you build those relationships. When people think of you, they don’t just think of you like your job title or your industry, but as a human and a professional, with your reputation, integrity, and values.

Designhill: Do you suggest people have time buckets according to the geography your audience comes from?

Kristian Downer: One of the things that surprised us recently was that we were running ads for a landscape gardening company on Facebook, and the time we get the most responses to the ad is at 11 p.m. That was because people sat in bed with their phones; they switched off, and then they saw an aspirational garden. They then respond positively and say yes sir, I want that.

I don’t like prescribing a time when you should be posting your content. Even if you post at seven in the morning on LinkedIn, try it, but you should mix it up a bit kind of like Brooke said there with the data. Then, find out what is working and use it to guide you in creating your content in the future.

Designhill: Do you agree with some marketing gurus that there is a bucket of four or five seconds when people use it while waiting to stand in a line somewhere?

Dorian Morian: Yeah. What I would add to that is that you should understand your target audience and their habits. For example, when I first started working with a local soccer club, they thought their target audience was dads. But it turned out that the soccer moms were the ones who signed a check and brought their children.

Our soccer moms sit in the car and pick up the line waiting for the children to come home from school. We started posting at 2:15 to 2:30 in the afternoon in that state where we live because the school ended at 2:30. And all those moms were sitting there and we got a huge response.

Understand The Habits Of Your Audience

Another good habit of knowing, for instance, is that a lot of these moms, with their kids, go to bed, the latest by nine. At nine o’clock, these moms, just like me, would be sitting watching TV, a nine o’clock show, and having a second screen with them. Therefore, that’s another great time to put something in a timeline.

And there was a great study by one of the diaper companies that I want to refer to. They realized that a lot of new moms were up at 2 AM changing diapers, and they had all these questions, but they were on their phone. They are either bottle-feeding or breastfeeding these babies and changing diapers. And that was a great time to talk to especially very lonely and vulnerable people. This company started posting it to me because I realized that’s when people were online.

So, knowing the audience and its habits are essential to understanding when you should be posting.

Know Your Best Time To Post Content

Kate Paine: A lot of times, people ask me about the best time to post. I want to echo what Doreen said. But just remember, even if you didn’t know the best time to post, you don’t want to just always post during those best times. This is because you are competing with everybody else’s content at the same time.

One of the best times to post on LinkedIn, for example, is Sunday evening between seven and 10 PM. A lot of people look at LinkedIn during that time. Post out during that popular time, but then try to find all those other times that are not as popular and mix it up. And then also obviously think of what Doreen said about the timing of certain audiences and post at those times. I think that is key. It’s brilliant.

Consider Your Data To Find The Best Time

Dorian Morian: I want to talk here about the data that Brooke was referencing. While looking for the right time to post, the data will also tell you what type of content does best for you at certain times. I found that for busy moms, Saturday afternoon is a great time to post a lengthier video or another lengthier content.

For instance, sometimes they are sitting on the sideline of the soccer or the kids might be out in the neighborhood playing. Surely, that’s a great time to post something that’s a little longer to watch. They might be busy at work on other days. They are doing stuff for the kids, but on Saturday, they might have time to watch a 20-minute video.

Do Not Depend On Tools

Brook B Sellas: The best time to post changes all the time. Once you have your best times, I would not go off at that time, and you know that a lot of the social media tools I love. A lot of them have tools within the tool, which will tell you what your best times to post content are. But they will also tell like, here’s the best time to post on Facebook or whatever. Don’t go by those tools and write your own best times.

Best Time To Post Changes Consistently

Also, remember that those best times change constantly. We look every week at best times by the client. I recommend that you put that little section of data on the front of your radar or the top of your list to look at often. This is because behaviors continuously change, especially right now, when we are going through in the US as a society and a culture. Make sure that you are paying attention to those times. Do not just pick one particular time and then think that it is suitable forever to post content.

Kristian Downer: We have seen big changes due to lockdowns and stuff like that. We used to have a lot of our b2b clients that sort of seven, till half, eight in the morning commute. A spot was kind of our sweet time to post. But now, of course, nobody’s commuting. We can say that the behaviors changed.

Frequency And Volume Of Post Matters

Andrew: If you want data on what is working for your audience, then you need to have some frequency and volume. A lot of people are just way too hesitant to share or post content. That is not going to get you any data and traction. I think a lot of marketers are too squeamish about the frequency and the volume at which they are active on social media.

Keep in mind that maybe 2% of your followers are going to see any specific post. So anything that you’re serious about promoting or getting out there, you need to be pushing comfort levels.

Designhill: How to cut through the noise on social media?

Combine Paid And Organic Content

Brooke: Posting content to your Facebook pages is a long term lead or sales strategy. You’re not going to post a blog and have 10 people saying they wouldn’t know about your services. Therefore, advertising on social media plus organic work well in tandem.

If you have the time and budget to do the advertising and organic content, then that is the kind of sweet spot. We have a lot of people coming to us, and I say, what are you trying to achieve and what is your goal. If that goal is about leads or sales, you need to look at advertising as well as organic media.

This is because, unfortunately, when someone sees a Facebook ad for your company, the first thing they’re probably going to do is click over to your Facebook page. And if that page is empty and barren, it’s not going to create a good impression of you and your business. My advice is to use both paid and organic media in tandem together.

Video Marketing Is The Key

Andrew: I agree that the mixing of advertising and organic content works. In this way, you get a far greater organic reach. Therefore, we all have to consider ads. But I would also say that more visuals got better results. Now that posts are mostly visuals, people that do video are getting better results.

I get a ridiculous amount of traction from social media videos on LinkedIn. Instead of just posting a thing, make one minute commercial of you introducing that thing and add that video to your LinkedIn post. The video should be telling what you are talking about, merchandising it, selling it, and getting people to call to action in the video. You get 1000 clicks or so, and the video is live for about a week. You get about 20 plus conversions from one social media post. The video is, of course, huge on social media.

Take Advantage Of Influencers

But, I want to emphasize again that, like the networking aspect, social is a great way to connect with influencers who have massive audiences. So use it to connect like for PR. Therefore, you should combine social media with PR. That is the best outcome for building a relationship with someone who gives you 10 times and 100 times greater exposure through some mention or press or inclusion in a big piece somewhere else.

Make Lengthy Videos

Kate Paine: You can get a lot of traction with video on LinkedIn for sure. One of the things you can do is go beyond just the two or three minutes sort of tip videos. You should do an interview. Think of interviewing an influencer, a colleague of yours, and those live video interviews. You can do Facebook Live. If you want to do LinkedIn live, you have to apply for that. Do an interview where you are talking to other people and asking them about what they do. Learn from them and have them give the takeaway to your audience is another way to get traction.

Plus, you can tag the person you have interviewed so that they share it. And so, that is another way to cut through the noise too. There are some great apps out there to use for titling. If you use video on LinkedIn, if you have subtitles, you’ll get further reach, and there are titling videos, and then you can put like a half headline. If somebody comes into it for two minutes, they know what it is about visually. You need to find ways to make your video stand out beyond just being the talking head.

Create Content For The Audience

Kristian Downer: It is always about making sure that your content is hyper-focused on your target audience. They should know when they see it that it is for them. Make sure that you make it clear that you are talking to them in their language, style, and have something that grabs their attention. The most successful and sort of viral organic piece of content our clients had was they posted a picture of an ice-cream van at about three o’clock. But instead of serving ice cream, it served Prosecco, the sparkling wine?

So, you know, the average person is logging onto Facebook, say, for example, 70-80 times a day, and they’re scrolling up and down the height of the Eiffel Tower. You should be speaking to them, and it’s going to be funny for them.

Dorian Marian: I think one of the secrets to cut the noise on social media is sometimes you have got to be a little bit shy. You should provoke them a little bit because you want them to take action. That is what makes people share. Instead of saying, here are seven tips on how to get people to talk, it should be like the seven best ways your team members never heard of to give you any feedback. The title was awkward, as negative of what you would expect, and people read it, they are ready to get mad.

Therefore, provoke people and make them take that action. It is advisable to twist your words, maybe some wordplay, to engage them. It is about understanding the pain point of the audience and playing with your words and even visuals.

Brooke: This is a big secret. But if you look at social media and you look at all the noise. Brands, in particular, are very guilty of doing this. They speak in cliches and facts. As humans, when we talk about how we form relationships with one another, we go way past cliches. Cliches don’t work.

Talk About Opinions And Feelings

When you think about forming a relationship with another person, you talk about opinions and feelings. And that’s where a lot of brands missed the mark. You need to talk more about opinions and ask the views of your consumer. You should talk about feelings with your b2b or b2c consumer. I think that’s the biggest secret out there. If you look at the most successful brands, they have moved way past cliches and facts, and they are talking about opinions and feelings with their communities.

Post Content Based on Original Research

Andrew: I disagree a little bit with Brook. Some of the best results I have had was by posting original research. The results are crazy. Like if you conduct a survey and produce a statistic that is unique to your marketing, you make a visual for that. And it’s got a chart, and the post is a question, then those tend to get a lot of traction.

It is a lot of hard work, but if you can produce an original statistic or soundbite and a chart that goes with it. Those are things that journalists look for, such as if you are trying to get PR that sometimes works well.

Surprise or Shock Audience

Dorian Marian: But that statistic still has to mean something to a specific audience. It should either shock or surprise them or sway their opinion. If you just put something out that everybody already knows, they will not like, share, or comment. But if it is some informational piece, then they will respond.

For example, based on your research data, your home security company can say that most burglaries take place between 10 AM and 2 PM. That will shock people. And, so you use this over and over and ask people where you are? It’s 11 AM where are you right now? If you’re not home, somebody could be burglarizing your home. That is a scare tactic.

Andrew: I’ll support what Dorian has said with two examples. One is that I saw a headline that I used in some presentations. The headline is that the average American works 55 hours a week. That is a simple headline that does not trigger curiosity or an emotion. Another example is that of a friend of mine who has an SEO company that surveyed delivery drivers for food. And more than half of them reported tasting the food they deliver. The headline was like they are eating your fries. It’s emotional.

So, the statistic was x percentage of delivery food delivery drivers tasted the food they’re delivering. And the response was off the charts like the New York Times, everyone that interviewed them right away to get the data. It shows that the data should be part of a story. The story should have an emotional hook. I guess if you’ve got data and research and it has an emotion and a visual, then combine these to get the best results.

Designhill: How to grab the attention, a hook, right in those early eight seconds in a video?

Include some movement

First of all, the movement is part of the hook, the person itself—thumb stopper. You are trying to slow them down as they are scrolling. When the person is scrolling, if they see movement, they are more likely to stop.

Give Captions

Secondly, you need to add captions to the key point because the person may not have volume there, they have to tap to turn the volume on. Captions are also going to give them an indication of what you are talking about in the talking-head video.

Do Not Overdo the Editing

Speaking of the one-minute commercial, I think let it be just human and personal and do not overdo the editing. You don’t have to be overly promotional, just explain the things. I made this video. I think it’s good. Maybe you’ll think it’s good. It just is disarmingly genuine. This is better than a three-minute social post and spending 30 minutes making one minute commercial for your content with captions. That’s 10 X the effort, but the results are 100 X in my experience because these platforms are trying to get you to stay on their platform, and they know that social videos are more engaging.

Create Quality Content to Grab Attention

Do we have attention spans issues? I can watch Game of Thrones for four hours straight. It all depends on the quality of the content. I have articles on my site where the average time on page is 10 minutes. It’s a question of quality. So, in the end, I hope the thing that you’re promoting, or the video you made, or that whatever it is, is truly helpful and good and engaging.

Opt for Long-form Content

On LinkedIn, there is lots of data that proves that long-form content works well on this platform. People go to LinkedIn to find more videos. They go there to read longer articles and blogs for business insights. Now, that doesn’t mean all of your content on LinkedIn should be the long one. Again, mixing it up is always a good strategy. But some people go to Instagram for short content while others go to LinkedIn for longer content because their goal when they get it is different.

Designhill: How do you get this tool of promoting your brand on social media?

Do AB Testing of Your CTA

Brooke: Well, the hook is very important. And we do a lot of AB testing with our calls to action. I would recommend that you do that too. You can do that through organic social media posting, AB testing of your newsletter titles, and AB test advertising. So, I think it’s part of what we talked about earlier is understanding your audience.

You may precisely know who you want to talk to. But I think ultimately what a lot of people are trying to do is to get a specific audience within that audience to buy or to convert. A lot of time focus should be on your call to action or your hook to make sure that you use the right language that entices them to take action. That action could be clicking through on a piece of content, or buying something from your eCommerce store. But it does take time to understand what the right call to action should be for your content, advertising, and social posts.

Do Something Extra to Catch The Eye

Dorian Morian: I will say that you should do something extra for grabbing that attention, getting close to the camera, and saying, hey, I’m here. Do something that catches the eye and stops people from scrolling. And then you can say, this video that I’m making today will be about XYZ and then name the pain point that got them hooked. Then you can have your longer content or do something like I have a big pair of orange clown glasses.

You can stop people from scrolling down by doing something. For instance, if all of us are sitting here like this and talking and not moving, we will become boring. Using your hands and getting a close smile is another huge thing to grab attention. When you smile, your voice goes up. This is something that I teach my clients before the camera goes on.

Designhill: How do you add a hook to the video content that you provide?

Kristina: You have to stand out and know what will be talked about, just then to make sure people don’t scroll past. But then once you have their attention, you have to keep earning it. I’d like to say that when you go to a movie before phones, they could tell a story slowly over two hours because they had your undivided attention.

Now, if you’re not entertaining them constantly, they will get distracted by that email. They are working from home, that dog barking or the family or just something else on their screen diverts their attention. You have to make them engage with that.

Designhill: What are the etiquettes for answering the comments on social media channels?

Be Responsive

Brooke: A company provides customer care, which is social first customer care. What that means is we help companies do that social first responding to customer service complaints, or whatever it may be online. Therefore, it is so important to be responsive. If you look at a lot of the brands out there, even the big ones, they’re not responsive, and you will lose your customer to someone more responsive.

Address All The Questions

I think you have to address all of those questions, especially if it’s a customer complaint, and you need to do it quickly. There was a recent study that said 40% of consumers expect a response from brands when they complain about social media within one hour, and most companies aren’t set up to respond within one hour. But I would encourage you to figure out how to get a sample response triage in place at least.

Create Processes to Address Issues

And by triage, wait for those complaints or questions like green, yellow or red, parse them out, and create processes around getting those things answered because it will set you apart. It’s so hard to compete on price or services. Anybody can create what you create or sell the same product and do it for a lot less than you can. But wherever you start to differentiate your brand is through that customer care and responsive lit responsiveness through the social show that you care about what the consumer is asking for even if they’re complaining. I promise you it will make a difference.

Dorian Morian: I am a community manager who manages several big communities. What I have learned along the way is you have to read between the lines of what people are saying. They might complain about one thing, but they are mostly worried about the other. You want to respond as quickly as you can. But you also want to have that empathy. You want to show that you are a human just like them that you will acknowledge that they have come to you with a problem.

Acknowledge That You Are Fixing The Issue

And, you might not be able to fix that problem. But you are just acknowledging what Brooke just said that you’re going to fix it. So, one of the things that we always try to do is take the conversation offline, when it is negative when something gets out of hand. When somebody complains online, and you respond, and 100 other people are watching what you are doing. So you are not just helping that person and showing empathy, but showing the world how you take care of a customer. And that’s super powerful.

I think that is what people forget that it’s not just that one customer, but it’s everybody else watching what you’re doing and how you respond and solve that issue. So we can say that we hear what you’re saying, and would you like to give us your email address or your phone number, so one of us can contact you directly and help you resolve that issue. Or, you can say let’s come to messenger on Facebook or dm us on Instagram. In this way, you have taken that conversation away from where everybody else can watch it.

Respond Also to Positive Comments

Andrew: But I have nothing to add to those ideas about responding to negative comments. As far as positive comments are concerned, if you are new to the social channel, or your brand hasn’t built a big audience yet, it probably makes sense to respond to almost everyone. You can say just anything positive to create some bit of feedback loop, following, and love. If you have a big audience, no one expects you to respond to everything and won’t be able to anyway.

Also, I would like to see when something gets written, shared on that network, comment, and thank on that resource. This is because you are trying to trigger the social media network to believe that there is lots of engagement on this post and then expanding the organic reach of that. So, we are trying to trigger an algorithm, so I think everyone reshares everything on LinkedIn. I can click and see who did share and then jump over there and say hi.

Respond to Influencers Separately

Additionally, look at the people you are interacting with. If they are an influencer or someone with much greater reach or a bigger audience, you should jump across and connect with them on a different social network. This you should do not to get more traffic, but to build a closer relationship with that person. Therefore, if there’s an influencer, who starts talking to you on Twitter, find them on LinkedIn and build several connections to that individual. It’s that most people think of social as one network connecting to many people. But the best networkers connect to one influencer through many networks.

Designhill: What do you think about using automated scheduling?

Kristina: I think the big trend is scheduling, while the social media platforms hate scheduling. And, so does your audience. Yes, you want to have some evergreen content that you know you put out on, and make sure you keep your consistency. But people like the stories. They like the real, the behind the scenes, the in real-time stuff.

Do Not Rely Much On The Scheduler Tools

I think that while scheduling has its place, it can make you lazy as a content creator. And you can rely too much on that, and you may be posting the same stuff on many different platforms. Those scheduler tools can make it too convenient to do that. I think it is easy to lose track of your audience. It’s okay to answer the question that was there. If you are a small business owner and have a lot of time, then that is when narrowing down to the platforms that you can be the most impactful to become important.

If you can just use Facebook or maybe one or whatever platform and reach your audience, then that is a great thing to do. Still, if you can invest your time on LinkedIn, building relationships with highly influential or target audience connections, that is much more impactful than trying to be everywhere and feeling stretched.

What I love about LinkedIn is that you can post once a week, and still work through the outward methods of high-quality posts, which lots of people share with the other platforms, Facebook, and Instagram. You can make sure that you reach people by making sure you put some money behind that one post a week or two posts a week. In this way, you will have much more impact than if you just put out lots of mediocre stuff.

But Scheduling Lets You Have More Time

Dorian Morin: I don’t see it this way. It would help if you used a scheduling tool as a small business owner. This way, you can get your content together. You have a good overview of all these different content buckets, promotional stuff, stuff, and curated stuff that you share with other people when you put that together and have the right mix of content that leaves you time to have those conversations. This is because now you are monitoring what you just posted, what people are saying, and you can go to other places.

You can then be part of the conversation because a ton of content is already out. I have found with my clients that if we don’t schedule anything, most of the time, they are not posting anything. If you have a couple of things scheduled, that does not mean you can spontaneously go in. It would be best if you shared something on LinkedIn when it is trending and newsworthy. Scheduling allows you to have that kind of the backbone of content for your business ready to go out. This way, you have a little more time to be in there and have conversations with your ideal audience.

Kristina: I think what we found with the woman or one-person businesses is that they can become over-reliant on schedules, or it is easy to over-rely on that scheduling. They think they have got something out and not take the time to do the other stuff essential for businesses.

Monitor the Scheduled Content

Kate: I agree with both Kristina and Doreen that scheduling matters. But one thing I want people to be aware of is that when sensitive things happen, like the pandemic, or the civil unrest in our country, if you have scheduled evergreen content, be sure that you go in there and pause it or turn it off or move it.

If you leave that old content up there during times of a natural disaster or anything negative or tragic, you will appear as tone-deaf and insensitive. That can hurt your brand. Therefore, make sure that if you do scheduling in a way that you still monitor it. You don’t want to get lazy in any way whatsoever and still be spontaneous.

Post Curated Content with Your Opinion

Dorian Morian: When you curate content, If you find an article that you love, you can post that without saying why you like it. That’s not curation. But, when I read an article and say that it touched me because of these reasons, I believe that and ask people what they think, then that is curation. I tag the article writer, and he becomes part of the conversation.

So, curating content has a place in your content marketing. Still, if you’re sharing it and posting it somewhere without mentioning anybody or giving your opinion on it, you’re not having a conversation.

Designhill: How should a person ask the audience which platform they are using most frequently so that the business owners can promote their content and on that platform?

Do Polls

Kate: The first thing you need to do is do some research on all channels if you know your target audience’s persona. LinkedIn is a great place to do research, using keywords to find the kind of people that you work where they live online. LinkedIn now has a poll feature that just came out in the last two weeks. Go online and ask people pointed questions. You can do polls on Facebook as well.

It would be best if you asked polling questions to get people’s intake on where they live online. When you have discovery calls with a prospect, make sure you’re asking them all the questions you need. So, ask them questions like where is it that you mostly go online? And where do your clients go online? There are myriad ways you can do it.

Designhill: What would be the best social network for the hospitality and tourism sector?

Try LinkedIn for B2B Audience

Andrew: If you are traveling for a b2b audience, like corporate travel, I would almost certainly use LinkedIn. Because it is visual, and you get to connect with professionals. If you are like a destination-oriented travel business, then you need to merchandise your place. Just show it off. I would probably then use Instagram and make sure that those photos are embedded into your website. You get visibility for your Instagram posts for your website visitors.

Explore LinkedIn and Instagram

Dorian Morian: I would say Instagram for sure. But if you are a travel blogger and do something for either specific destinations or people follow you, you could also do a Facebook group that could be a great place for content and grow your audience. But Instagram is an excellent place for that industry.

Consider Your Audience Type

Kristian: I guess it comes down to the common theme of, of audience. If the people of your audience over the age of say, 40, know, but it is B2C, you should use Facebook. And typically, if it is locally driven, you can identify that audience. I love the idea of the Facebook group that was just mentioned. For instance, I know that I am in Greece, and I love Las Vegas. And I am in those groups, and I am there. If I had a venue in Las Vegas, I know that being part of that group, and part of that discussion, not just spamming, links, etc. But being part of the conversation and helping people and adding value, you get some long term wins.

Brooke: We don’t currently work with any travel and hospitality brands, but the thing that came to mind immediately was Viking River Cruises, which caters to the 60 Plus audience. If you are catering to a 60 plus audience, Instagram is amazing as it is such an incredibly visual platform. But we also know that a lot of 60 plus-year-olds don’t live on Instagram.

In that instance, if I were working with that brand, I would probably recommend Facebook because we know that age group does exist on Facebook. But just because that age group is on Facebook doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t A B test some advertising on Instagram as well to see if they’re there. I don’t think we can offer you like a one size fits all answer.

Dorian Marian: One of the platforms we didn’t mention for the travel industry is Pinterest. That Is a platform that you can quickly get into and get the results for traffic to websites.

So, this panel discussion should help in developing some understanding of how social media marketing for small businesses works. The panelists shared the practical tips so that your strategy works well for your business.

Wrapping Up

Small businesses can explore social media in varied ways to grab the attention of their niche audience and promote brands. The experts suggest that small businesses should best explore their limited resources. They should focus on creating high-quality content and posting it regularly on a suitable social platform where their type of audience lives in most.

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