This week we are going to talk about social media for small businesses.

What’s up Fish Fans! My name is Marcus. You’re watching Marketing Madness, the Blue Fish vlog!

Recently I was asked by someone to put together a one-page document on how small businesses can use social media. So here goes… (hold up paper then throw it away)

One of the very first things that every small business needs to do is research the demographics of the clientele they want to reach. Define the age, gender, socioeconomic status, physical location, interests, associations, and anything else that describes the audience you want to connect with.

Once you have that information you also need to take a look at your budget. And this is one instance where it cannot be $0. Even if it is several hundred dollars per month it can make a difference. If you have more in your budget, not only does it allow you to reach more people, it also gives you the ability to have someone write content, take custom photos, develop video commercials, and more.

Now that you are armed with a budget and an audience you can make a decision about where you are going to put your efforts. I am generalizing here, but where you should advertise can mostly be decided based on the age of your audience. For instance, if you are selling products to teenagers then you want to spend your efforts on Snapchat, TikTok, and maybe Instagram. If you were selling to anyone over the age of 20 you will want to take a look at Instagram, especially if your product is one that does well in photos. For anyone over the age of 30 you want to focus on Facebook. And yes people over the age of 60 are very active on Facebook. The best part about audiences over the age of 60? They typically CRAWL through their news feed paying close attention to every post they see.

Since a majority of our clients are focusing on Facebook I’ll start there. Facebook has an algorithm that it uses to decide whether your content displays on someone’s newsfeed or not. They can take a look at what you are posting and make decisions about whether others will want to see it and whether they will engage with it. So this means that you really need to pay attention to what you’re posting. No longer is it a numbers game where posting a lot of content is necessary. What you want is content that is relevant, and engaging. Facebook has been a pay to play environment for some time. This means that when you are getting started you are will have to pay to appear in your audience’s newsfeed. That is why we suggested having some sort of budget so that you can get a foothold and start to build an audience.

As far as the content goes, if at all possible you will want to post content that includes images, and video. And bonus points if you can post live video. If you are a retailer, you should look into integrations your point-of-sale system might have with Facebook. Our favorite e-commerce platform, Shopify, has direct integration with Facebook. Click a couple of buttons and your products will start appearing on a tab on your Facebook page.

Instagram is next on my list of social media platforms that we suggest people spend some time on. The key here is to make sure that you have some good photography for uploading photos. And if you can do video even better, just like Facebook. I’d like to suggest that you keep the more informal posts in your story. But I would also like to suggest that if you do post a photo or video to your timeline, that you spend some time crafting the content that goes along with it. We have seen a huge uptick in people using and engaging with written content on Instagram. So don’t neglect the description you add with the image or video.

Twitter is a platform that we don’t push a lot of clients towards. But that does not mean that it doesn’t have its place. Twitter is really good at reaching certain segments of the population. For instance, the tech industry is highly represented on Twitter. Political movements are also a segment of the population that is highly active on Twitter. While Twitter does not necessarily have a great mechanism for advertising on its platform, it does make up for it by making sure that every tweet appears in every timeline that is following your account.

LinkedIn is another platform that many people don’t think of when it comes to active social media. When you provide a business to business service, you really need to make sure that you are making some effort on LinkedIn. It functions similarly to Facebook and that it has an algorithm that decides what content is going to be displayed on a timeline. There’s much more that we could discuss with LinkedIn but for most folks making sure that you were posting content on a regular basis is all you really need to focus on. Stay tuned for a video in the future with more info about Linkedin.

Speaking of consistency, you need to make sure that you are consistent in posting to your social media platforms. One of the most difficult things when dealing with business owners and social media is that they don’t invest the time that it takes to build a following. Social is an extremely powerful megaphone for businesses. At Blue Fish, we spend about 20 man-hours a week or more creating and curating content just for the company accounts. Taking photos, writing content, recording videos can all be done in batches and staged if it makes gathering the content easier. Posts can be scheduled. But even if you go this route make sure you check in on the content and engage with anyone that is leaving a comment or replying on your posts.

Investing in Social Media is great because it is measurable. Make sure to invest the time to compare how various posts perform. Post content in different formats and see which one reaches the largest audience.

And finally, it has never been cheaper to reach an audience. You can now target people with pinpoint accuracy. Want to reach 44-45 year old males in a 5 mile radius that are interested in technology and shop at a specific cigar store? You can do so using the audience builder on Facebook. Don’t miss out on your chance to capture an audience. As Seth Godin says, 1000 raving fans are enough to provide you with a comfortable living and Facebook alone has over 2 billion registered users.

Well, that’s a wrap for this week! I want to thank you for checking in. Make sure to hit that like button. And if you have any questions or comments leave them down below. If you want to talk about how Blue Fish can help you grow your business just send us a message and we’ll get the conversation started!