Small Business & Social Media: How To Capitalize

It’s safe to assume by now that most small business owners realize there is some value in this whole social media thing. Facebook shares just aren’t about showing off pretty pictures, and tweets and retweets aren’t just about showing customers and potential customers that you’re on another platform. Social media is a necessity that isn’t going away anytime soon, and if it’s not harnessed correctly and consistently, can put you miles behind the competition.

But how do you capitalize off messages that are 140 characters or less? Do each of those “Likes” on your Facebook accounts translate into dollar signs? They sure do. Here are a few things you can do to make sure the bright lights of social media help produce more green in your bank accounts and in your small business accounting software.

Keep Sharing & Innovating

There’s nothing worse than a boring social media account. When it’s blatantly obvious that the small business owner running the account is putting minimal effort into it, only updating a few times every week or month, potential customers are going to actively choose not to engage with you, no matter how good your product is.

One of the easiest things you can do as a small business owner that’s taking charge of social media is to schedule time for it. Content is king, but so is consistency. Predictable content is bad, but being predictable on when you share content is a great thing. It gives customers a reason to check their networks at a certain time, because perhaps they’re interested in what you or your small business has to offer.

In Michigan, for instance, T-shirt retailer The Mitten State runs a free T-shirt contest every Friday at noon. The company posts a message in the morning asking people to submit a comment and at noon, it randomly selects one lucky winner. The contest has become a huge success and has resulted in super high engagement for the company.

A contest — the idea of getting something for free — is an easy example. But let’s say you run a hardware store. What if you offered a home improvement tip of the day on your Facebook account? That would drive people to engage with your account, perhaps with personal stories of their do-it-yourself projects, or tips of their own.

The more you keep innovating and the more consistently you share that content, the better off you and your small business will be.

But How I Drive Sales?

The engagement you’re creating is as powerful — if not more — than any advertisement you run or commercial you air. It’s real people offering their real opinions and questions. By engaging, they are thinking about your company, which can ultimately lead to more sales.

Obviously, run social media promotions (i.e., like our Facebook page and get 10 percent off your next purchase), but it never hurts to simply invite people to come to your business to meet the owners and employees.

Go back to the example of a hardware store. After sharing all of those home improvement tips of the days, maybe you could host a demonstration day where you invite people in to learn how to properly hang a photo, or install tiling.

Just remember, all of that starts with engagement. And in today’s world, engagement lives on social networks.