Chat with an Expert: 10 Ways to Grow Your Business on Social Media

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Welcome back to our #Chatwithanexpert series!

If you haven’t gotten to know us yet, #Chatwithanexpert is a monthly live session on our Small Biz Nation Facebook group, in which we feature experts across numerous fields who answer YOUR questions about how to grow your business.

This month, the interviewer became the treasured expert; we spoke with our rockstar Social Media Manager, Mai, who covered everything from how to grow and engage your followers to the best ways to promote your business on all major social media platforms. 

ICYMI: Check out the recap video here, or read on for the full Q&A with Mai!

Interview with Mai Bar-Chen, Tailor Brands Social Media Manager

Q. Who is my audience, and how do I know which social media platforms my audience is using?

The first thing to know when you decide to open a social media page is who the person is that you want your content to talk to. Who do you want to buy your products or service? Who do you want to interact with your page? And from there, who do you want to interact with your business? 

One of the most important things to do is to create a buyer persona. There are a lot of templates online you can download and use, but in short: Try to think about THE ultimate customer for your business – and he/she will be your buyer persona. You need to think about their age, profession, what their hobbies are, what kind of things interest them. 

By knowing that, it will be super easy for you to understand what type of content they find exciting and to use it on your social media pages to attract that persona. 

And, it will help you figure out which social media platforms are best for your business. Let’s say your buyer persona is 16 years old, still in school and loves doing yoga. So, it could be that the right social media platforms for you are Instagram & Snapchat, and you shouldn’t focus on LinkedIn, for example. 

Q. How do I create a social media marketing strategy?

Once you understand who precisely is your social media’s target audience, it’s time to create a social media strategy. There are four main questions you need to answer to create a plan that will bring added value to both your business and your potential followers.

1. Define your target audience – We already did that, by creating a few buyer personas.

2. Define your goals – It can be anything from increasing likes or shares, increasing traffic to your website, increasing sales, engagement rate, etc. It’s essential to understand what you need to focus on and to know how you’re going to measure it.

3. Choose 1-2 social media platforms – Again, by understanding your buyer persona, which will help you understand which social media is right for your business. And BTW, no. You don’t have to be on every social media out there. Start with 1-2 and make them KICKASS!

4. Audit your posts’ performance – It’s critical to understand which posts work well and then find more similar content. With social media, you need to do a lot of testing. Don’t be afraid to try new things; the worst case scenario is that they will get only a few likes :). Social media is your place to be creative.

Q. How often should I post, and how do I know which time is best?

That’s a great question! A lot of people think you should post as much as you can. But, that’s a big no-no. 

My tip for you: It’s better to post 3 AMAZING content pieces a week than ten not-so-good ones. The rule of thumb is to post as much content as you can provide. As a small business owner, you probably have a lot to handle, and it’s perfectly ok. If you only have time for two great posts a week, LET IT BE!

On the other hand, it’s crucial to stay consistent and to post regularly. Remember- when it comes to posting on social media, quality over quantity! 

Regarding which time of day is the best: There are tons of great articles that will help you create a posting schedule at the beginning. But once you’re posting regularly, the smartest thing to do is to check your page’s insights and to see which times have worked best for you and gotten the most engagement. 

Q. How do I measure social media, and how will I know if I’m achieving my social media goals?

A lot of people think that there is no measurement for organic social media – HUGE MISTAKE! It’s crucial to understand what it is you want to achieve from your social platforms. To maintain social pages can be a lot of work, and if you don’t know what it is that you want to gain, it can be frustrating. 

There are a lot of goals you can focus on, like increasing traffic to your website/landing page, engagement, growth (likes, shares, etc.), increasing revenues, and a lot more. 

In my opinion, it’s super important to at least focus on the engagement rate and to try to increase it every month. This number includes two crucial factors – engagement & reach (engagement rate is measured by #engagement/#reach). 

It’s a key factor to understand if your strategy is working, because it means that your content is getting to a lot of people (reach), and they find it interesting and relevant, so they interact with it (engagement). You can use software like Iconsquare for your Instagram page that will calculate that number for you. Super easy. Also by increasing this number, you increase the chance your followers will ORGANICALLY see your content.

Q. Do I have to be on every social network?

In one word – NO! In two words – ABSOLUTELY NOT! I’ll repeat: When it comes to social media, there always need to be quality over quantity. There are so many social media platforms that, to be excellent on all of them, you’ll need A LOT of free time. 

As we discussed before, you should pick 1-2 social platforms according to your target audience and take them to the next level with kickass content. It’s better to have 2 killer social pages than 5 that are poorly managed. Try to think about yourself – would you follow a page that posts not-so-good content? I assume not. 

Q. How do I create content and get ideas for interesting content to share? And, how do I make sure my followers are engaged?

As we know, content is THE KING of social, and sometimes it can be challenging to come up with new & creative ideas – believe me, I know. The #1 tip that I can give you is to use a content calendar. 

Content calendars are the best, because you can get tons of cute ideas to use on social media, regardless of the month. You can pick a cool day (did someone say #NationalPizzaDay?!) and think about how it can connect with your brand. Here at Tailor, we offer our users an incredible content planner each month, and we give them some specific ideas they can use.

Another 2 excellent resources that I personally love to use are Buzzsumo & Feedly (and they’re free). You can see what people are sharing on different social media platforms and try to create something of your own. 

If you see that one post is going well, you can easily boost it via your Facebook page and reach new potential customers. Unlike with ads, you don’t have to invest a lot of money, and it can bring you nice results. 

Another essential aspect to remember is to make your followers engage with your content. Always include a call-to-action on your posts – something that asks of your followers to do something, or take action. It can be anything from a question, ask your followers to give their thoughts or opinions, etc. Remember that behind the screen, there are actual people who want to be addressed.

Q. How can I have a simple yet effective feed for my social media without it getting boring?

That’s an excellent question! We talked about the content calendar in the previous question that gives your creativity a boost and could really help you create unique social pages. 

And hey, you can also use curated content from other people or publishers (which can also help you increase your reach). Not all of your content has to be original (and it shouldn’t be). 

Another rule of thumb that I want to teach you is the 80/20 rule. 80% of your content should be content that will bring added value to your followers, educate them, or make them laugh, etc. And 20% of the content should be sales-related. 

Again, it shouldn’t be a ‘hard sell’ because social media is not the right medium. But, it can definitely be a unique promo code or exclusive sale for your social media followers. That way, you keep your social media interesting and engaging.

Q. What’s the hardest part of doing social media marketing and how do I overcome it?

In my opinion, the hardest parts are, first of all, the content creation. We have to understand that the heart of social media is good content; this is the only way to grow your social pages and to get actual results from them. 

We discussed a few ways to get ideas for content like Buzzsumo & Feedly. But, let me tell you a secret – you can also check your competitors and see what they’re doing and try to get some inspiration. Another great resource is Pinterest. I love it, and it always gives me fresh content ideas. 

The second thing is being consistent and posting regularly. I know it can take time, but you can schedule! There are great softwares like Tailor Social, which is a tool that we offer that automates your social media posting. You can take a few hours and schedule tons of content. 

But, don’t forget that a big part of social media is staying relevant, so make sure you leave room for some real-time content too. But overall, you can automate most of it.

Q. How do you spread a tweet beyond your audience?

I love Twitter so much, and when you understand how to use it, it can be fantastic for your business. When it comes to hashtags on Twitter, in my opinion, it is best to use 3-4 hashtags in a post. You don’t want to overload it and to make your tweets looks too promotional. 

You can use Hashtagify (also free:) to check which hashtags are trending at the moment, how hashtags relate to other hashtags and how popular the hashtag is that you want to use. 

I would advise using 2 ‘trendy’ hashtags, and 1-2 ’long-tale’ hashtags. The reason in that with big hashtags, you can get a lot of reach on the one hand, but more people are using them on the other hand (so it can be harder to make sure your Tweets get seen). 

But, with longtail hashtags, fewer people use them, so the chance that someone relevant for your business will see it is higher. It’s a balancing game. Feel free to explore new hashtags and to see how they perform, on your insights page. You can also use any “special day” hashtags on your posts to help boost them. 

Q. How do I start to reach a bigger audience with IG?

Ok, so Instagram is definitely my favorite social media platform! First, we need to understand the medium – it’s obviously all about beautiful pictures. Even if you have a fantastic piece of content, if it’s not well-designed, it won’t succeed on IG. 

The second thing is hashtags. The maximum hashtag’s number you can use is 30, but that’s A LOT, and it looks very spammy. I would recommend using 5-6 hashtags and to test which ones give you the best results. 

There are tons of hashtag lists online you can use for each day of the week. So again, like Twitter, I’d recommend choosing 2-3 trendy hashtags and 2-3 long-tail ones. 

This combination of great content (again) and wise hashtag choice will help you expand your reach to a bigger audience. Let me tell you a secret- you can easily design beautiful images using our editor, which will help you bring great results!

As a final note, I’ll just say that with organic social media, it might take you time to grow. But, you should be patient and consistent, and it will bring you awesome results in the long run 🙂

Over to You

Ready to start promoting your business on social media? 

If you haven’t seen it already, you should definitely check out the video highlights now and watch the full interview, to hear any extra social media tips that weren’t covered in this recap.

Don’t forget to join our live session next month to learn all about growing and managing your small business’s social media accounts. Check back in our Facebook group for all the details – you won’t want to miss it!

About the author

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Gordon Meagher is the head of Organic Marketing at Tailor Brands. When not thinking about new ways to drive organic growth, Gordon likes to kick-back with a glass of Jack Daniels and listen to some laid back sounds.

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