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How to use Facebook and Instagram to your small business advantage

Facebook_Instagram

In a bid to grow your business, you may find yourself adopting various approaches to when it comes to spreading the word. The small business marketing world is ever more digital and with the continual expansion of social media usage, small businesses need to rapidly adjust to how Facebook and Instagram work in order to take advantage of the potential reach.

Below are a few steps you can take to to capitalise on what Facebook and Instagram can bring to your business when it comes to online promotion. 

Create a Facebook business page

Create a business profile for your small business and start posting content that is relevant to your business, products, and services. Remember it's not all about self promotion. So share content that is helpful to your audience, not just selling your goods and services.  Also remember to post consistently. As you start to post and check your analytics you will establish the best time of day etc for the audience you are hoping to engage with, you may even find your audience start to expect posts from you on a certain day or time. A contact of mine regularly posted on a theme each Friday and when she missed one week for holiday (don't forget to schedule) she had messages asking if she was OK. 

Don't foget to let your network know about your new business page. Try to garner support and ask them to 'Like', 'Follow' and 'Share' on your behalf.

Less is more so don't be tempted to compromise on quality just to get something posted. If you're time poor, don't over commit yourself to a punishing social media schedule. Little and often.

Don't forget your bio. It should describe what you do in succinct language and try to include something personal. Remember people do business with people and it's no bad thing to include a well researched hashtag or two.

Make Use of Photos and Videos

A picture speaks a thousand words. High quality pictures will help improve your professional image. Don't be tempted to use stock images that may well have already been over used elsewhere by others ... if you can take your own, so much the better. Show behind the scenes images and videos. Maybe something educational about how to use your product ... even better see if you can get a customer to do a review on video.

Consistent posting of high quality content and being completely transparent about what you do will all help to build credibitliy.

To aid viewing and increase your reach you may want to add sub-titles to your video posts. Use online translation services like The Word Point to translate your videos into other languages.

A relatively new feature to both Facebook and Instagram are 'stories' which have been developed hot on the heels of the Snapchat platform. Content posted on stories is fleeting, and either photos or videos will disappear after 24 hours of uploading just like Snapchat. Don't forget to link your website from your Facebook or Instagram stories to increase traffic to your site.

Whether you are a small business or a large organization, leveraging on social media to market your products and services enhances client interaction. Facebook and Instagram Stories allow you to post photos, videos, looped videos (popularly called Boomerang), music, text, and so much more. There is also a provision to add stickers, user location, hashtags, and lots more.

Engage With Your Audience

It's all about engagement. When your audience interacts with you make sure you acknowledge them. Thank them and ask questions. Even if you only have time to use an emoticon to acknowledge it will all go towards expanding your reach and engagement with your potential customers.

Use of Hashtags and Specify Your Location

Hashtags aid searching on social media platforms. So research some existing hashtags that are relevant to your business sector. Use them appropriately. It's perfectly acceptable to include up to 30 on an Instagram post, but they're not so widely used on Facebook so limit to one or two per posts. But avoid blindly jumping in on a trending hashtag unless you have something of relevance to contribute.

You may want to create company hashtags that will be specific to your content.  For example, #yourbusinessname and/or #yourbusinesslocation. Use your hashtag in your posts and ask your followers to use it when the share your content for you.

Final Thoughts

An active presence on either Facebook and/or Instagram can bring many benefits to your business. Work out who your audience is, where they 'hang out' online and go and communicate with them. And remember, better to have one social channel well managed and maintained than trying to be all things to everyone. Don't have too many profiles and then have some ending up dormant ... that could have the opposite effect. A neglected social media profile will do more harm than good.

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Saturday, 23 November 2019

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