Social media can be intimidating for a small to medium sized local business. There’s a lot of conflicting information online about the dos, don’ts, and how tos on the subject. It’s easy for small businesses to say “I don’t have time for it” or a new business to throw up a page on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and let it sit there with no content because they don’t have the resources to dedicate to it. However, when it’s done correctly, social media is a powerful tool for any local business to tap into – no matter their size. Let’s explore some tips to make it a success for you and your business in Jefferson County.
Quality over Quantity when Posting
We have all been exposed to an over-posting connection on LinkedIn or the friend on Facebook who posts daily or hourly updates. Avoid being this way with your business page. This is not necessary unless you absolutely need to share something “in the moment” with your audience. For example, if you are having a great sale on Small Business Saturday and want to go live in the morning to give viewers a preview of what they can purchase or what deals they can benefit from, plus do a feed post later in the afternoon – that’s great! However, don’t do this every day. Not only would you spend all your time on social media instead of running your business, but your audience would get tired of hearing from you and tune you out. Posting once or twice a week is plenty. Remember to keep your posts relevant, accurate, and timely.
Don’t be afraid to share what sets your business apart or what local flair you offer the community. Personality builds relationships and you need it on social media to build your audience. Ask your personal connections to share, like and comment on your posts until you can get your engagement up naturally. They will likely be happy to help you build your social media presence and support you.
When it comes to what kind of photos to share, make them as high quality as possible. Invest in a good quality cell phone with a great camera so you can capture what’s going on in your business without worrying about low-quality imagery. It’s a relatively low-cost way to make sure what goes on your feed is post-worthy. If it’s not the greatest picture but you still want to share it, it’s most likely a better fit for Instagram or Facebook stories.
Get the Most Out of Every #Hashtag
We’ve all seen them but what exactly do they do besides look cool? Hashtags are a metadata tag or a word or short phrase beginning with a hash symbol, ‘#’. They help make your business’s posts discoverable in whatever platform you are using and help you reach more people.
Here are a few #hashtag guidelines to follow:
- They start with a pound symbol # but they don’t work if you use spaces or punctuation
- Make sure your accounts are public
- #Dontmakeyourhashtagstoolong because they become hard to read and lose their purpose: discoverability
- Use only relevant and specific hashtags. They will change depending on what you’re talking about
- Limit the number of hashtags you use. Too many hashtags will result in a spam-look to your post
- General rules of thumb: 0-1 on Facebook, 3 on Instagram, 3 on LinkedIn, 2 on Twitter
- On Twitter, try to incorporate your #hashtags within the #body of your post to avoid having them all at the end
It’s an excellent idea to research hashtags and see how trendy the hashtag is before considering using it. For example, #jeffersoncotn only has 9 posts on Instagram but #jeffersoncountytn has over 800 posts. Which one would be better for your business to use? The hashtag with more posts so you can reach more people. You can also ‘follow’ a hashtag to stay informed on updates related to the hashtag on Instagram.
You can search in a similar way on LinkedIn. Start typing in your #hashtagofchoice and you will see it start to form. The trick with LinkedIn is you must select it from their list in order to see how many followers it has.
With Facebook, type the hashtag in the search bar and hit enter. It will tell you how many people are posting about that hashtag.
For Twitter, check out what’s trending and see if anything fits your post. From your Twitter dashboard, click ‘Explore’ then ‘Trending’ to get a list of what trending in our region. Try to incorporate trending tags, if they fit.
Celebrate holidays and significant days to your business with hashtags. For example, if you are a local ice cream shoppe, you might consider posting something on #NationalIceCreamDay.
Jefferson County related hashtags:
Keep a running note on your phone of what popular hashtags to use for your business to make it quick and easy when it comes time to post. It requires some research ahead of time but it’s well worth it and a time saver when you are posting.
After you start building an audience and getting quality content on your social media, you may be surprised to find you’ll start receiving some questions, comments and messages coming in. It’s a good thing! Engagement is a great sign for your business. The longer your audience stays on your post or on your social media page, the longer they will be exposed to your business information which will lead them to your website or to a point of sale.
You must respond to these messages, comments and questions within a timely manner because it reflects poorly on your business. That question could be what’s keeping them from coming in your store or pressing “purchase” online. As a rule, you should never wait longer than 6-12 hours to respond to anything on social media. The faster the better. If you need to delegate this task to someone on your staff to monitor when you can’t, do so. Also, take advantage of any away messages you can set and allow your audience to be directed to your website until you are able to respond. Sometimes your website will answer their question. No matter what, you will still need to respond. According to the 2020 SproutSocial Index, the top four reasons consumers will unfollow a brand on social media are poor quality of product or support (49%), poor customer service (49%), irrelevant content (45%) and too many ads (45%).
We Help Your Business Thrive
We exist to help your business succeed in each of our five municipalities within Jefferson County: Baneberry, Dandridge, Jefferson City, New Market, and White Pine. Through our member-centric approach, we offer your business the opportunity gain visibility, build your network and grow professional while establishing yourself as a community leader. Learn more about what we do for your business here. By creating a business environment where small local businesses to large corporations can thrive, we invite in a better quality of life for our residents and an inviting place for visitors passing through. It’s how our community wins. Want to join in our winning community? We’d love to have you with us.
Here’s how you join in and take advantage of all the benefits of membership with the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.