Building your small business brand by connecting with people on social media is an excellent way to add a personal touch. Did you know that as of 2018, nearly 68% of adults use Facebook according to the Pew Research Center? Use these simple secrets to create a strong and effective voice for growing your business on social media.
No, I'm not talking about making sure you're posting the correct version of your company logo.
Think of your small business brand as your company’s persona. All of those things that you'd want your customers, loyal or potential, to know about - and think about - your business. Your brand transforms your business from a faceless entity into an organization that’s relatable because you let the public see a human touch and the values of the people they'll be working with.
Secret #1: Create a Personality for Your Brand
Many small business owners use the concept of 'Customer Personas' to help them in building their business. The best personas are written out, detailed, fictional profiles that represent the people who are their ideal customers. It's an invaluable tools to assist in the process of setting your marketing, social media, and sales strategy, as it keeps you focused on how to best serve the needs of future customers. (We'll be publishing more articles and tools in the next couple of weeks that help with this Persona-definition process if you're interested.) One persona that companies often forget to consider, however, is that of their own brand. If you're a company owner or executive, you should seriously consider creating a voice, or persona, for your brand.
The first step of building your brand is to come up with a firm idea of how you'd describe it as a person. What would appear on it's resume? How would the people that it works with talk about it? You may have a rough idea of what your brand's personality is in your mind, but you should write it out and get feedback from key contributors in your company. Things to consider adding to your description are your business values, your tone, your style, and other pertinent information. These should all help to tell a story while separating you from your competition. Remember - you want to use your social media accounts to speak to people. Think of your brand's persona as the blueprint for how you’ll conduct yourself - and the image you want to present - on social media.
Secret #2: Be Consistent
When it comes to social media, it’s important for a small business to be consistent in several key ways. It can often be helpful to have a single person in charge of your social media to keep the style and tone consistent. The written persona you created can serve as something of a 'style guide' that helps keep the activity consistency when several people are interacting with your social media accounts.
Also, you want to be consistent in the cadence of your social media usage. Some small businesses may find that at first, they’re great at posting on regular intervals, but that falls off as customer activities take precedence, or if you struggle in finding people to help create good content. Others businesses may be wonderful at posting but never actually interact with people in their network. You want to make sure that not only do you post regularly and often, but that you also respond to comments and share posts from your connections. It can be hard to respond to all of your comments when your posts become popular but you can quickly get a feel for which comments really deserve a direct follow-up.
Secret #3: Use Customer Personas Too
Personas were discussed earlier, and they play a big role in brand building and marketing strategy. If you don’t have customer personas defined, please seriously consider creating some! Basically, you’re creating a pretend person that you'd want to sign up as the perfect customer for your business. You don’t have to create just one customer persona - create as many as you feel will be helpful for your team members' understanding as they work on growing your business. You'll have separate personas for different types of stakeholders in the companies and markets that you serve. Once you’ve gotten your customer personas documented, you can use them to create posts and messages that’ll appeal specifically to the needs of each one. In a CRM platform like HubSpot, you can actually attach these written Personas to individual contacts and use that information to target your marketing, advertising, and sales activities.
Secret #4: Do a Little Digging
Using social media for small business helps to level the playfield, and it can pay to see what else is going on in your niche. It may feel like snooping, but you really need to scope out what others in your industry are doing with their social media accounts. (Remember - your ideal customers and the competition's current customers will likely be checking them out as well.) Checking out how others in your niche are approaching social media can be helpful. You’re able to see the amount of engagement they get with what they're doing, and may even be able to notice things that they could be doing better. Then consider how applying different approaches to social media might benefit your brand.
TIP: If your business services a local customer base, don’t just look at competitors while you’re researching. You may also want to see how complementary businesses and partners are using social media to engage the local market. It’s a great way to get involved in your community! Create posts that let people know about upcoming events and local charities that you're participating in.
Just remember - social media is more about connecting with people directly and being relevant in the market, than solely as a platform for announcing your latest product releases or the tradeshows you're attending.
Not sure which social media platforms to use? Check out some great tips in our recent article.