Social media hacks for small businesses

Having a social media presence as a small business is a great benefit in the long run. Customers are online now more than ever, interacting on social media and online shopping. There are more strengths than weaknesses for your business being on social media so take that opportunity to build your target audience and engage even more with customers.

There are many small tips and tricks that will add to building your social media presence and help increase your following. Here are 8 social media hacks your business can utilise:

Have your content on a schedule

Making sure that your content is scheduled will help with your time management. There are now many tools and apps (we love Buffer!) for social media management that will work with organising your weekly content. This means you can spend less time keeping your social media posts consistent.

Remember the ‘hashtag’

This tool is a fantastic way for your business to reach new customers and your target audience on social media. Take into consideration the hashtags you’re going to use and try to tailor them to your business, not just using the popular ones all the time. Get Social with Grace has a handy article on the guide to hashtags.

Start that blog and boost the traffic by promoting it on social media

If you haven’t started writing blogs or articles for your business yet, then now is a great time to start. Blogs are an effective way to keep audiences and customers engaged in your content. So, once you have that blog or article, promote it on your social media pages and to drive traffic to your website.

Looking at partnering with ‘micro-influencers’

Influencer marketing can be a good way to get your business services or products out to a wider audience. A micro-influencer will have a following of around 2000-50,000 followers on social media and that influencer will tend to focus on a topic that’s specific.

Look at when the right time is to post

There are specific time slots where audiences will look at social media more during the time so try to tailor that when you schedule each post. Each platform will be different, but you can see in their analytics when their best times are to post content. Looking at your analytics can also show when your audience is interacting with your content the most.

Focus more on the engagement

Try not to get drawn into the amount of likes on specific content or the followers you have in total, look at which content is getting the most interaction and engagement. There are many analytic tools for each social media platform that can help you review.

Instagram stories are effective

Instagram and Facebook both have features where you can add a 10-second clip/photo to your account ‘story’, this is additional to a post. The story disappears after 24 hours and you can also ‘highlight’ that story to your profile if you want to keep it for people to refer back to. These stories can be a really efficient way to keep your followers engaged in a short space of time. Balance out the amount of stories you post each day so followers don’t end up just clicking through and not interacting with them.

New small-business stickers on Instagram

There is a new feature on Instagram where you can add a sticker to your story and these stickers have been created to help generate more traffic for small businesses. The stickers include buttons that can add a command such as purchasing a product/service or donating to a specific fundraiser. The button links to another site where a customer can complete the action. This initiative helps with supporting small businesses and also promotes their content more.

Now you have some hacks to add to your tool-kit for navigating around social media as a small business, start to take some time to build that presence whether it be writing your first blog post or posting your first Instagram story. The list is endless and your business will benefit in the long run so you can thrive more.

Spice up your marketing with user-generated content (UGC)

Are you looking for ways to improve your marketing? Would you like to know how user-generated content (UGC) can assist your business growth goals?

The infographic here shows M2 Technology Group’s tips for success. They cover:

  • What is user-generated content (UGC)?
  • Why your brand needs to take advantage of UGC
  • The values of UGC
  • The challenges around UGC
  • 10 steps to a successful UGC marketing campaign

So take a look at the infographic below!

User-generated content infographic

How to get more engaged followers on Instagram

If you use Instagram to promote your business then you might find this brief guide useful. Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks and one that your competitors could be using to their advantage more than you are! Here are some tips to get more engaged followers…

1. Write longer and stronger captions.

You can include up to 2,200 characters in your Instagram posts (much more than on Twitter), so spend the time writing meaningful and captivating content.

2. Use stories and stickers

Stories are an easy way to engage followers. InstaStory is so popular that over 500 million (yes, that many!) people use it every day. You can also use stickers in your stories that prompt people to take action e.g. visit a page on your website.

3. Sticker questions, polls and votes

Use these to get people engaging with you and to make people feel valued with their opinions, as well as to get two way communication going.

4. Post and popular times

Monitor and study your Insta Analytics to see when the best time of day to post is as this makes a big difference. Your target market might be more engaged at a time that surprises you!

5. You MUST include hashtags

Hashtags are VITAL. If you’re not using them already then you will be pleasantly surprised at what happens when you start using them! People will find your posts through searching Instagram and loads of people search on there. Use lots of them too! They don’t need to make your posts untidy, just put them lower down in the caption by adding full stops and line breaks before the hashtags like this:
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#hashtag1 #hashtag2 etc.

6. Connect with your followers

If anyone comments on your posts or tags/mentions you in theirs, ALWAYS reply. When people see you reply, they will engage with you more. Make sure you keep checking your notifications.

7. Post fun and conversation sparking stuff

Look at what’s trending, what’s in the news and what people are talking about then link your posts to some of that as it will grab much more attention and don’t forget to use the right hashtags for those trending stories/news!

Facebook update that will help REDUCE the cost of your ads

Making your ads relevant to your target audience is important. The obvious reasons are to get engagement and conversions, but also because Facebook charges less amount per click if your ad’s relevancy score is high (on a score of 1-10).

If Facebook’s algorithm gives your ad a low relevancy score, it is difficult to identify why it’s not relevant. Is it the design of the ad and text? Is it the wrong target audience? Or perhaps it’s the actual offer?

Facebook says:

“Relevance score is calculated based on the positive and negative feedback we expect an ad to receive from its target audience. The more positive interactions we expect an ad to receive, the higher the ad’s relevance score will be. (Positive indicators vary depending on the ad’s objective, but may include video views, conversions, etc.) The more times we expect people to hide or report an ad, the lower its score will be.”

Well, now Facebook says that this single metric doesn’t provide enough guidance on what needs to be improved in order to increase an ad’s relevancy score.

So Facebook is changing this relevancy score metric to more detailed indicators:

Quality ranking

How your ad’s perceived quality compared with ads competing for the same audience.
Improve the ad creative – design and text in the ad.

Engagement rate ranking

How your ad’s expected engagement rate compared with ads competing for the same audience.
Improve the targeting of your ad.

Conversion rate ranking

How your ad’s expected conversion rate compared with ads that had the same optimisation goal and competed for the same audience.
Improve the offer and call to action button. Then perhaps the landing page your ad links to if there is one.

This change also means you’re not having to change all different aspects of your ad which means you won’t know which change improved the ranking (or increased the engagements and conversions).

Facebook is always updating its advertising tools and refinements to help businesses generate better results. While they do this to help Facebook, it also benefits you to generate better results.

Facebook’s new ad performance metrics will be rolled out over the next few weeks, with relevance score being removed as of April 30th.

4 reasons why Richard Branson is better at social media than you

With nearly three million Facebook likes, more than seven million followers on Twitter and nine million followers on LinkedIn, Richard Branson joins Elon Musk and Mark Cuban as one of the most prominent entrepreneurs on social media. He follows several social media best practices that elevate him to the top of the pack. Success on social media goes well beyond likes and follows. Use these four practices to establish leadership, drive leads and create relationships on social media.

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4 Vital Ingredients of Successful Facebook Ads

With over 890 million people signing into Facebook every day, most of your potential customers are likely to be part of Facebook’s community. But throwing money at Facebook ads to bring people to your page and website only works if you’re smart about it.

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4 top tips for marketing through social media

Social media is one of the top ways to market your business. It produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail and PPC. According to adweek.com, 74% of brand marketers saw an increase in website traffic after investing 6 hours a day on social media. The increase in use of social media means that us business owners need to be in sync with the latest developments, and here are some important tips to taking advantage of this fact in the best ways.

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The biggest social media trends to look out for in 2017

Nobody has a concrete answer to exactly where social media is heading this year. But there are some hints and clues that we have picked up on as to what the future may look like. Here are some of social media’s biggest platforms, where they’re heading to and what trends to look out for this year.

Facebook

Facebook continued to grow and develop in 2016 with the launches of Marketplace, Reactions and Facebook Live. We know that this platform throughout 2017 will carry on keeping up to date with the major social media habits and developments.

3 Facebook trends to watch
1. Search growth

Mark Zuckerberg revealed in a report that Facebook now sees a whopping 2 billion searches per day, a growth from 1.5 billion a year ago. With 3.5 billion searches per day, Google still leads the way. However with Facebook showing such a massive growth, we could soon see it pursuing the ad dollars traditionally reserved for Google. Search could also drive attention to the content you post on Facebook, becoming a key part of increasing your reach on there.

2. AR, filters and lenses

Snapchat and Pokemon Go lenses brought AR (augmented reality) great global attention in 2016. This year we are bound to see Facebook becoming a major player in the AR space. Mark Zuckerberg recently shared some thoughts on this: “I like everyone else am enjoying Pokemon Go. The biggest thing that I think we can take away from this as we invest in augmented reality in addition to virtual reality is that the phone is probably going to be the mainstream consumer platform [where] a lot of these AR features first become mainstream, rather than a glasses form factor that people will wear on their face.”

You may have already noticed Facebook’s Masquerade feature – where people can use lenses and masks whilst sharing live video or having video chats.

3. The peak of videos

The trend of Facebook videos will continue to grow through the year before we hit the peak and videos become less effective. 30% of marketers say Facebook video is the top channel they want to add to their marketing tactics in the next year. 83% also said they would want to create more video content if they didn’t have time and resource restraints.

Twitter

Twitter refocused in 2016. It’s transformed from being a social network to a news product. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated this: “People choose us for news because we’re the fastest. Fastest to get news, and fastest to share news with the whole world. Now let’s strive to be the first. The first place people check to see what’s happening… and the first place to break what’s happening.”

3 Twitter trends to watch
1. Solving harassment issues

For a long time, Twitter has been plagued with harassment issues. With the release of new “mute” product and policy updates they have started to sort it out and clean it up. Twitter has enhanced it’s mute function by allowing users to filter specific phrases, hashtags and keywords. Buzzfeed explained this further: “Twitter’s new mute tool with allow users to mute entire conversation threads. This will allow users to stop receiving notifications from a specific Twitter thread without removing it from your timeline or blocking any users.”

Twitter is also looking into adding a new “hateful conduct” reporting option. This will change its policy regarding how it deals with people who share abusive language.

This development may not be a marketing trend, but it’s something worth knowing about to see how Twitter makes the platform a more inclusive and welcome place.

2. Live content and broadcasting

So Twitter wants to be the home of what’s happening and what everyone is talking about globally. Through Periscope, we may see Twitter focus on more live streams and trending videos.

For business owners and marketers, this could mean a lot of conversation around the events Twitter broadcasts live, something that can open up opportunities for reactive content and adverts related to the events that are broadcasted.

3. Greater customer service focus

Recently, Twitter had greatly focused on enhancing customer support for both brands and their customers, announcing new customer support features to make the process smoother. Providing the best support has become a priority for many businesses in the last few years, and we believe Twitter is looking to give its business users even more opportunities to improve the experience during this year.

Instagram

2016 was an incredible year for Instagram. Now owned by Facebook, it has hit 500 million monthly users and had some key product launches. These include Instagram Stories and Business Tools.

3 Instagram trends to watch
Instagram stories

Instagram launched 24 hour Snapchat-style stories in August 2016. These have already evolved, as Instagrammers with varied accounts can now share links through Instagram stories. It is currently a test for verified Instagram accounts, but hopefully this will grow into becoming a feature for all users.

2. Business tools

Although Business Tools hasn’t been one of Instagram’s biggest feature releases of 2016, it’s still definitely one to watch.

Instagram worked with lots of businesses to learn what was needed to improve their Instagram experience, and the key needs were standing out: get insights and find new customers. The release of Business Tools brought business profiles, analytics and the ability to create adverts from posts in the app.

This year we’re likely to see business profiles and tools continue to develop to make it easier for businesses to drive traffic from their Instagram profiles.

3. Live video

Instagram wants to become the place “to capture and share the world’s moments,” so the release of stories has helped to encourage people to share more in-the-moment, Snapchat-style content to Instagram.

Facebook really went in on live video in 2016, so it’s no surprise that Instagram is currently testing live video too.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a platform that is constantly developing, including Snapchat Memories where users can share photos and videos captured outside the app. They are also providing more filters that relate to trending news.

3 Snapchat trends to watch
1. Improved ad product

In 2016, Snapchat allowed businesses and people to create and sponsor their own Snapchat filters in a chosen location. This year, we think Snapchat will enhance targeting and analytics for its advertisers.

Snapchat and Foursquare have already announced a deal to put more data into their filters so marketers can pinpoint where their ads are served. This means advertisers can be much more specific with where their filters will be available.

2. Spectacles

Snapchat have made tech-filled glasses cool, something that Google and other companies have failed. Spectacles are a fun product, mainly aimed at Snapchat’s core teenage audience. Because they’re scarcely available, it’s Snapchat’s own users and not the media who are spreading the word about Spectacles. It’s making Snapchat users across the world want a pair.

It will be interesting to see throughout 2017 how Spectacles are used and how Snapchat looks to evolve this product.

3. The rise of circular video

As well as Spectacles, Snapchat also announced a new circular video format.

Spectacles can record with a 115-degree field of view, similar to the human eye. On any device you’re viewing on, you can see the content full screen in any orientation. The argument of whether video should be recorded and shared in landscape or portrait is solved. As more and more people consume videos on mobile devices, circular video could become the norm.

LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube

1. LinkedIn acquired by Microsoft

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in June 2016. Being the only professional-focused social network at a big scale, LinkedIn is a very unique asset for Microsoft. It’ll be interesting to see how LinkedIn evolves under Microsoft.

2. Promoted Pins on Pinterest

In March 2016, Pinterest introduced Promoted Pins to all businesses. If you’re looking to put your business on Pinterest this year, Pinterest Ads and Promoted Pins could be effective. Data also shows that advertisers who use the Pinterest Ads Manager received an average of 20% more (free) clicks in the month after the start of a Promoted Pins campaign.

3. Branded content on YouTube

In just 2016, the top 100 advertisers have increased their spend by 50% on YouTube video adverts. That statistic shows the power of video for marketers and advertisers.

There has been growth in brands teaming up with creators on branded content opportunities. This includes promotions, sponsorships and product placement. Google acquired Famebit – a technology platform company that helps brands find and work with each other.

This year it’s likely that we’ll see creator and brand partnerships grow even more on YouTube and other networks.


content marketing calendarDownload our free Content Marketing Calendar

Use this template to create a full schedule of activities for marketing your business over the next 3 months.

Click here for more info and to download.

How to use Instagram effectively for business

People say that brands that are visually appealing, such as food and beverage businesses or companies in the fashion industry are the only way you can succeed on Instagram, one of the most popular social media platforms. I think they’re wrong. Not having a visually appealing brand doesn’t mean you can’t get involved with Instagram. There are plenty of ways that your business can benefit from using this platform, especially with the use of trending topics and hashtags.

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