As small business owners, your time is stretched pretty thin. There’s a lot of things you have to get done to keep your business running successfully, and social media tends to take a backseat. It’s quite alright to neglect social media for a couple of days, but if you aren’t careful, a couple of days turn into weeks, then months. Next thing you know, it’s been a year since you posted and you’re feeling pretty defeated. 

When you neglect publishing, you create a domino effect of despair that begins every time you look at your followers. And when you do post, you’re not getting any likes or comments, making you feel like you’re just posting content into a void. 

Well, you are not alone. 

Many companies out there are failing to increase their social following or even reach their target audience. But, when you consider that one billion people are on Facebook alone, it becomes clear just how important social media can be for your business

Rather than put in extra time and effort to build up your network, take a step back, and analyze the precise areas that you could be taking wrong turns. Like many things related to business, it is about prioritizing and working smarter, not harder. 

Let’s dive into seven tips that will help any small business improve their social media presence and lay the groundwork for building a strong, engaged community. 

1. Find Your Ideal Platforms

It’s important for small businesses to be present on the social platforms that their audience is using. Deciding on the right platforms will depend mostly on your demographic, your type of business, and which social platforms are the most popular. About 33 percent of Instagram users are between the ages of 25 and 34. So, if that age group is your ideal customer, then obviously, Instagram is going to be a medium you prioritize. 

If you have a particularly visual business, like an interior design firm or an advertising agency, then opting for Pinterest makes a lot of sense. But, don’t just create a Pinterest account because you think you need to. Make sure that the visual component makes sense for your company, and double-check to see what demographic is using Pinterest to ensure it aligns with your audience. 

In the instance of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, these platforms are all extremely popular, so it sort of goes without saying that you should be present on them. 

2. Provide Valuable Content 

Having a presence on social media means you need content to post about. You must come up with a social media calendar that will be filled with content that will appeal to your target audience. For each platform, complete your profile in its entirety and start posting, even before you have the followers. Share things like: 

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Useful content from other brands
  • Infographics
  • Team photos

 Use the power of storytelling to your advantage and consider trends and current issues. It’s important that you fill your feed with content that attracts followers, so think of creative ideas to engage your audience. New visitors will be looking at your feed to see what you have been publishing, and one or two posts will not be enough to get that new audience to hit the “follow” button. 

3. Follow Real People and Businesses

While you can easily buy likes, I definitely don’t recommend it. The whole point of social media is to be more transparent and to give a peek into your business. If your following and your likes are from fake, purchased accounts, people will see it for what it is: a sad ploy to make your brand look popular. 

You want a social media account that will bring you tangible results rather than something which is purely for show. To do that, you need to follow real people, brands, and accounts that will build up your list of followers. Oftentimes when you follow an account, they’ll follow you back, so you want to show them that you’re legit and not being followed by a bunch of bots or fake accounts.

To find real, quality accounts to follow, search keywords and hashtags related to your industry. Search each platform for people who are relevant or have an interest in your industry, and check out who your competitors are following. Seek out influencers on LinkedIn, share their content, and join groups of like-minded individuals to add to your inner circle. Always make sure you provide value to the conversation before reaching out and making connections. For example, with Twitter, you are given suggestions for individuals to follow and can easily see the relationships that others have. Make the most of these kinds of tools.

4. Cross-Promote Your Networks

If you want to go the extra mile with building up your social media accounts, then look into cross-promoting your accounts. Share your Facebook account on Twitter and vice-versa. This doesn’t have to be obvious, either. You can simply share a link to one of your Facebook posts on your Twitter feed with a short descriptor. We do this when we want to share a lengthy post but are limited by Twitter’s character count. 

Some other important tips for cross-promotion include advertising your social media accounts in all of your newsletters, on your business cards, at the bottom of your emails, and in print marketing. Add social media links and follow buttons on your website, blog, and email newsletter. In all likelihood, your current Facebook fans will also follow you on Twitter and Instagram as they obviously already like what you have to say.

5. Post Regularly

To keep your social media presence strong, you must post regularly. The more you post, the more opportunities you have for your posts to be shared by your followers. But also, posting more frequently means you’ll rise to the top of your followers’ feeds, keeping you top of mind and ever-present.

Share information from others amongst your original, valuable content. Answer questions and help your readers out; even go so far as to ask them what kind of information would be most helpful to them. You can use Twitter or Instagram Stories polls for these kinds of tactics. Just don’t publish too frequently. Keep a healthy balance and stay accountable by creating a social media calendar to track all your social posts for the week. 

6. Engage With Followers

Over and above posting content, you need to connect with your fans directly. It may take a while, and it depends on the platform, as some encourage more chattiness than others, but if someone comments on your posts, take the time to reply. It’s such an easy thing to do, and providing that one-on-one interaction with your audience goes a long way. 

If you’re worried about now seeing comments or interactions quickly, turn your notifications on, or set a reminder to check comments. Being responsive will gain you new followers and a whole lot of respect from them as well. Audiences love to connect with brands, so going out of your way to do so will really impress them. Continuously thank everyone for connecting with you and always attempt to open up a conversation with those who tag you or mention you online.

7. Partner With Another Brand

It is worth considering partnering up with another brand or company and taking advantage of someone else’s network to grow your connections. Obviously, you want it to be a non-competitor and a brand with a similar audience as yours. So, source organizations and come up with a promotion that would benefit all involved. As each company will be promoting the content to their audience, everyone stands to gain new followers from the joint marketing effort.

Some brands pull together on hosting webinars, while others join forces on pop-up shops and street sales. Whatever makes sense for your business to explore, do it, and involve a like-minded company or another local business to double down on the benefits. Then, share the social promo efforts so you can tag each other, get the word out to your networks, and see your followers grow. 

Dedicate a few minutes each day to developing and posting on your social media. Over the span of a month, you should be able to see a real difference in both the number of followers you acquire and the level of engagement you create.