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Top Tips on Growing Your Small Business Using Social Media

Social media has become a crucial part of most businesses' outreach and customer retention strategies. Consumers use social media to research brands, read product reviews posted by others, and interact with companies to provide feedback about their experience or ask questions. Think of each of your profiles as an extension of your brick-and-mortar business. If you aren't already, start using social platforms to grow and expand.

Woman on mobile looking at social media.

Why Social Media

Social media can strengthen your brand image, raise awareness, increase sales, and grow your customer base. Don't limit yourself to just one either—the average user has accounts on multiple platforms with sales in the billions yearly. If you aren't using social media in your marketing strategy, you're missing out on a massive audience since people spend about two and a half hours every day on social media sites, and many find out about new products that way. This is an excellent opportunity for your brand to sell to and engage with new and existing customers. You also have the chance to build trust and directly interact with customers digitally since not everyone can make it to a physical storefront.

How to Make Your Business Stand Out on Social Media

The ultimate goal for any business is to stand out and be heard above the noise of all the other content people see when scrolling social media. If you want your business to stand out, you'll want to do your best in these areas:

  1. Understand your customer base on each platform
  2. Encourage user-generated content
  3. Adapt, but stay true to your brand
  4. Get creative with content
  5. Foster a bond with your friends and followers on each platform

Understand the Customer's Perspective

Many companies treat social media as another advertising platform; they post products and services, make sales, measure efforts as an outbound ad campaign, and repeat. However, consumers treat social media as a way to engage and learn about brands and companies they're interested in. Remember this as you expose your business to the world with your social pages. Think of your company as having a personality and share that with the world. Look to companies like Duo Lingo, which has built a massive, almost cult-like following with their mascot's unique personality, which increases brand awareness, engagement, and sales of its language-learning services.

Encourage User-Generated Content

Sharing content your customers make is much more impactful than sharing an ad. If your customers love your product or service, encourage them to create fun videos about why they love it. Engage with your followers and host fun contests and giveaways, or include a discount coupon with each order for those who post about their experience on social media. Soon, you'll have valuable testimonials you can share with future customers at little or no cost.

Be Adaptable but Stay True to Your Brand

As with any print or digital medium, once words are out there, they're permanent, so be careful and thoughtful about what you post and which trends you follow. That said, when it comes to social media, people react to friends and family in a personal way, and expectations are similar for brands. Think about your brand's personality; is your company spicy and sassy like Wendys or sincere and compassionate like TOMS? Having these details locked in and complimentary to your business as a whole will help you stay consistent, no matter who is behind your business' profiles or pages.

Create a Calendar to Stay Consistent

Having a social media presence is not a set-it-and-forget-it method; staying consistent and engaging with your audience to build a relationship with them is vital. After all, they are future (and current) customers! Start with your overarching goal, then consider when it makes sense to post about specific topics, adding in any sales or events your business may be holding. Choose one or two topics for content per month, and then post about those topics once or twice a week at minimum so customers know you're active and open for business on all your social platforms.

Get Creative with Engaging Short Form Videos

These days, short-form videos, which are usually less than a minute long, get the best engagement and capture the attention of most viewers. Because they're shorter, they are more engaging than longer videos, and many appreciate that shorter videos tend to feel more real. Feel free to get creative here! People love off-the-wall videos, like those done by Blendtec (a residential and commercial blender company) with their Will it Blend series.

Know the Audience and Purpose of Each Platform

Don't create a profile just to have a profile. Make sure you've got a plan. Start with an objective and ask yourself what you want to gain from having a profile on each platform. Are you hoping to reach a specific audience with your brand's name? Or do you want to direct users to your website so they can order products directly? You can also view the demographic information of those you reach on platforms like Facebook, which will help you make better decisions on separate platforms.

Foster a Bond with Followers and Friends

Keep personal engagement front of mind when crafting your social strategy. Think of it as a digital store where customers interact with staff personally. While this might be challenging sometimes (mistakes happen, after all), it's best to be as transparent and authentic as possible and take accountability if needed. Your followers are much more likely to stick with you if you do, especially if you share what will be done differently to avoid that mistake in the future. This can foster a deeper bond between your business and your customers. Your social pages also allow you the opportunity to help your customers feel important to your brand; if they give suggestions on how to improve your products or services, take that feedback into consideration and implement it as much as possible. Think of it as a free consultation service—you're getting first-hand information to make your business even better. Lastly, keep that bond strong by responding in a timely manner to all comments and messages your page receives, ideally within 24 hours or less.

Appoint Select Employees

We can't stress this one enough. If you wouldn't ask an employee to answer a reporter's questions about your business or distribute a press release, do not allow them to post to any of your social media pages. Although social media is considered more casual than other communication methods, your page or profile is still the official voice of your company. Choose one or two designated employees to write and post updates to keep things simple and your brand's voice consistent. Even better, have a procedure or brand guide detailing your brand's voice, information they can and cannot share in comments, how to respond, how often and what is posted on each platform, and any other details that will help future employees keep your brand's pages consistent.

Monitor Feedback and Engagement

Generally speaking, designated staff members should check and respond to social media comments and messages at least every few hours during the workday, with a prominent disclaimer on your page or profile about when your business will respond to comments and messages, for example, Monday through Friday during business hours. This helps customers keep expectations reasonable, even if you check more often and gives you more time if things get busy.

Look Into Social Media Management Tools

There are multiple options to choose from, and all help you manage multiple profiles and pages. You can schedule posts from one place and capture data and analytics, such as engagement metrics, on each platform. Having a tool like this saves a lot of time and can even give valuable insights to help your pages perform even better. Plus, you can use the data it enables you to gather to concentrate the time you or your staff are using to manage social media accounts, which frees up time for other tasks. Some even have a social listening tool available, so you can be notified anytime your brand (or your competitors) is mentioned and stay in the know and on top of anything that might come your way.

WaFd Bank is Here to Help

At WaFd Bank, we believe in keeping business local. We first got our start in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood by a group of community members who believed banking should be done a little differently. Although we've grown beyond serving just the Puget Sound, there's still nothing we love more than seeing our neighbors succeed at their craft and make their business ownership dreams a reality. Not only does WaFd offer business accounts, but we also offer helpful tools and services to give you peace of mind so you can focus on running and growing your business. Give us a call at 800-324-9375, stop by your neighborhood branch, or contact your local business banker to get started today!


Find your local WaFd Bank Branch


Find your local WaFd Bank Branch

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