Social media presents a valuable opportunity for brands of all sizes, especially small businesses with limited budgets and resources.
Social media marketing is highly accessible; it’s free to use as long as you’re sticking to organic features, and it’s relatively easy to set up a profile and share posts.
Having the right strategies in place can help brands (or help you help brands!) leverage these platforms so that they can successfully build followings, establish relationships, and ultimately grow their businesses and their brands.
Let’s take a look at 9 concrete ways you can help your small business clients improve their social media presence.
1. Choose Platforms That Suit Your Brand
When it comes to social media marketing, there are multiple platforms to choose from. It may seem overwhelming at first, but the truth is, you don’t have to use all of them.
Instead, choose platforms that suit your brand. Each platform is different and geared toward a different audience and style of content. For example:
- Facebook combines short- to long-form text posts with images and video.
- TikTok focuses on entertaining and educational short-form video content.
- Instagram is driven by image-based content and has recently shifted its focus to video.
- Twitter is a micro blogging platform aimed at short, pithy text posts, although users can share multi-media content there, as well.
- Pinterest is an online “pin board” that’s great for visual shares such as attractive graphics and infographics.
- YouTube is a video platform with options for pre-recorded video uploads, live video, and short-form vertical video.
- LinkedIn is a professional networking platform that helps users build connections and pursue new career opportunities.
Each of these platforms serves a unique purpose and presents its content in different ways. While personal brands and companies of all types can utilise any of them, choosing the right platform will depend heavily on your brand tone, style, and where your audience is online.
As you explore your options, consider where your audience is present, as well as what types of content you’re interested in creating. Will a particular platform’s style be a fit for your audience and the type of product or service you offer?
For example, an attorney’s office specialising in estate planning probably won’t be a good fit for TikTok, but might thrive on Facebook. Social Media College has built a strong presence on YouTube, where we publish educational how-to content.
Are you able to consistently produce the type of content needed to show up on your platform of choice? For example, it’s much easier to snap a picture for Instagram than it is to create a five-minute video for YouTube.
Consider the tech skills and time investment required to create a consistent presence on the platforms you’re interested in, too.
2. Invest In Multi-Media Creation
Investing in high-quality multi-media content is an important part of your social media strategy. You want to include high-quality images and videos in your content that grab your users’ attention and keep them engaged.
Your followers will notice if you post images, video, or audio that don’t fit with your brand. They’ll also notice if you don’t depict yourself or your brand in a professional manner.
However you want your brand to show up online, you’ll want to reflect that by using quality multi-media content.
Be sure to shoot videos and capture images in well-lit, professional-looking spaces. Any colours, filters, or stylistic elements you use should be in line with your brand style.
If you are tech-savvy, consider investing in software that helps you boost the quality of your images. That might be something powerful like Adobe Creative Cloud, or as simple as getting a Snappa account, which utilized drag-and-drop design tools.
Test out different multi-media formats to see what performs best on your social channels. For example, you could test vertical video shot with your mobile phone. Experiment with long-form and short-form video to see what your followers watch all the way through.
3. Develop a Distinct Brand Voice & Style
Another way you can dramatically improve your social media presence to by developing a distinct brand identity, voice, and style. This style will inform how your followers experience your brand when they encounter you online.
Creating a voice and style for your brand is, essentially, establishing your brand’s personality. How do you want to come across to your followers? What kind of impression do you want to leave on them?
If you need help developing your brand identity, Social Media College offers a Personal Branding Course to help you navigate the process.
4. Focus On Engagement-Heavy Features
Boosting your brand’s presence and recognition on social media will rely heavily on how engaged your audience is. That means you’ll need to focus on engagement-heavy features in your online presence.
Replying to comments on your social posts is one simple way to boost your engagement. Encourage your followers to comment on posts by asking them questions and prompting them to share about themselves or their experiences with your brand.
Even if you engage in comments, though, there are other features available that help you take engagement to the next level.
Facebook groups are one great way to connect directly with followers in a small-group setting. Groups help personal brands establish deeper connections with their followers and get to know them better.
Multiple social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, have live video capabilities. Going live is an excellent way to get face-to-face with your followers. This gives them a taste of your unique personality and voice in addition to your brand presence.
Instagram Reels and TikTok video can also be highly engaging when executed well. You can encourage viewers to comment, but be sure to reply. TikTok also offers the option to reply to comments via a separate video, which is then linked back to the comment reply.
If you create an original audio, encourage them to reuse it in their own videos. On TikTok, you can create stitchable videos, plus videos your followers can duet, which gets your videos in front of a wider audience.
5. Take Advantage of Social Listening
Social listening can give you an extra leg up when it comes to fine-tuning your online presence. When you engage in social listening, that means you’re paying attention to how followers and customers communicate about your brand via social.
Social listening can help you get a decent idea of how people feel about your brand and your social media presence. The information you can glean from social listening can help you determine what to change or where to invest.
To start social listening, monitor your brand name, brand accounts, and hashtags. You can run those searches yourself, but that can become time-consuming as your online presence grows.
There are also a number of robust software tools available to help you do this. Let’s take a look at a few.
Some software tools are full-service social media management tools with social listening capabilities. Many of these tools allow users to schedule posts in advance, engage with followers from one dashboard, and monitor what others are saying about their brand on social.
Broad-ranging third-party social media management tools also let you keep an eye on your analytics so you know how content is performing across platforms. These tools include:
Depending on the size of your business and the number of tools and integrations you need, you’ll find a wide range of pricing options and capabilities.
On the other hand, there are software tools that are dedicated primarily to social listening itself.
If you already have your social media management handled, you might be interested in a tool that’s focused on social listening. Some of these tools are:
- Awario, which monitors brand mentions and lets users engage with followers
- Brand24, a tool focused on online reputation management that gives users insights into what people are saying about their brand online
- BrandMentions, a brand monitoring and reputation management tool that includes competitor and media monitoring
- Keyhole, which helps you track what people are saying about your brand on social media--and how they’re feeling about it, too
- Mention, a tool with a free tier for users getting started with social listening (my personal favorite and pictured above)
- Synthesio, and AI-driven social listening software tool that monitors both customer feedback, as well as behavioral data
Deciding which platform to use comes down to your business needs, budget, and your impression of the user experience.
6. Commit to a Detailed Posting Schedule
If you want to expand and improve your social media presence, then being consistent is key.
You want to train your audience to expect your content--and even look for it--on social media. But once you build that expectation, you have to follow through. That means planning ahead.
Decide on a sustainable content posting schedule in a rhythm that works well for your business and your team (if you have one). Having a set number of posts per week, per platform to hold your own team accountable will prevent things from slipping through the cracks.
Once you’ve decided on a posting schedule, consider using a social media management tool like those listed above to pre-schedule your posts in advance. If you don’t have the budget for a third-party tool, many social media platforms have native scheduling tools available.
7. Readily Respond to User Engagement
Once you’ve established a consistent posting schedule, you need to be ready to respond to user engagement as it comes in. Types of social media engagement you should be looking for include:
- Comments on your posts or videos
- Any comments that come in from viewers during a live video, which you should be responding to in real-time
- Direct messages from followers who have questions about, or need assistance with, your brand
- Followers who share your content via Stories or their own feeds
- Mentions of your brand in Stories and posts
- Use of your branded hashtags in connection with your content or mentions of your brand
If you have one or two people on your team that you can delegate engagement to, then do so. It’s helpful to have someone who can laser-focus on keeping up with engagement for accountability purposes. Like scheduling content ahead of time, this helps prevent customers from slipping through the cracks.
Your brand’s social media engagement should be consistent with your brand identity and voice. Whatever experience you want your followers to have should extend to how you interact with them one-on-one.
If you’re the owner of your brand, you’ll need to make sure you’re present for engagement, too. Don’t leave it all to your team, especially if your business is driven more by personal branding. If your followers are looking for you and expecting you to engage, you’ll need to show up for them whenever possible.
8. Create Information-Rich Resources
The resources you offer through your online presence should be information-rich, actionable, and of high value to your audience. When brands offer valuable resources that showcase your expertise, word about your product or service will naturally spread.
Springboard off your chosen style of social media content to create these resources. Maybe your primary focus is a YouTube channel for education purposes. You can repurpose content from your videos videos into blog posts, or turn a long-form blog article into a series of small videos to post on Instagram Reels.
9. Be Authentic & True to Your Brand
Most importantly, be authentic and true to your brand as you grow your social media presence. The choices you make and the content you post should all align with your brand identity, voice, and values.
Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. When online brands come across as inauthentic or unaligned, users pick up on that. Failing to stay true to your brand could jeapordise your customers’ experience, which will be detrimental to your brand in the long run.
Now that you’re equipped with some powerful tools for improving your social media presence, it’s time to get moving. Find where your brand fits on social media, stay true to the brand voice you’ve developed, and offer high-value content your audience will resonate with. By consistently posting high-quality content, you’ll be on your way to a stronger online presence and elevated brand recognition.
Want to learn more about building a strong social media presence? Check out our Social Media Marketing Intensive Program for all the skills and strategies needed to take a brand from a new account to a thriving one.