September 10, 2021
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for building a small business’s audience. As of 2020, over 3.6 billion people use social media worldwide - a number set to rise to almost 4.41 billion by 2025. With so many potential customers, it only makes sense to take advantage of social media to build an online presence for your business and get customers rolling in.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Nowadays it’s a challenge to find a business that isn’t on social media, and social media users are constantly being bombarded by interesting pages to follow. It’s hard to get noticed when your business page is one of thousands - especially when it’s brand new and follower-less!
Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to get people interested in your business’s social media:
A high-quality, unique-looking page is a great way to catch people’s attention, particularly on image-heavy platforms like Instagram. People’s eyes will drift over dull or generic imagery, so you want pictures that really pop. Look through pages belonging to businesses similar to yours - which ones stand out?
On the design side, your images should be clean and high resolution. Have your design elements suit your business’s values and style - for example, if you sell vegan soy candles, your images could have a rustic, organic bend. They could incorporate soft filters and use natural colouring. It’s a good idea to stick to a single colour palette, as this will create a sense of consistency within your page.
Content-wise, images should relate to your products or services. If you sell bespoke jewellery, for example, you could have photos of your latest pieces, as well as ones of your studio and tools. It’s good to take advantage of any unique features your business has; if your jewellery is made from recycled glass, show where you get your glass from, and how you transform it from broken shards into beautiful jewellery. Giving your audience an insight into your business’s practices is a great way to increase their interest in your products.
If you can, take the photos yourself. A few stock images won’t hurt, but taking the photos yourself will let you reflect your business’s operations best.
The photos should be professionally shot and lit. This isn’t as hard as it sounds - developments in camera technology have made it easier than ever to take high-quality photos. You can even use your smartphone! As long as you know some basic camera techniques (like focus, angles, lighting, etc.) your photos should be fine. You can always make edits to them later.
An example of a social media page with good visual design is the Instagram of London-based bakery Peggy Porschen.
The images are well-shot and portray their products in a flattering way. They have strong visual consistency, with each image incorporating the bakery’s trademark pink, feminine, and floral style.
The bakery takes advantage of the striking building it operates out of, featuring it often. With just a cursory glance, a viewer can instantly gauge the business’s style and what kind of product it has to offer.
People always love getting free stuff! Giveaways are brilliant for getting people to interact with your business.
Typically, giveaways are done directly through the social media platform. The business page makes a post announcing that they’re giving away a sample of their product to a lucky winner. People then enter the giveaway by commenting on the post. After some time has passed, the host will choose a winner (usually at random) and send the prize to them. It’s common for businesses to stipulate certain rules for applying: they might require applicants to be following their page, or to tag other people in a comment.
Giveaways are a relatively inexpensive way of drawing attention and getting followers. In addition, the winner will get to sample your product, making them more likely to purchase from you in the future.
Once you have a larger following, questions and polls are also good ways of getting people engaged. Asking questions lets you get longer, more descriptive responses, while polls are ideal for getting lots of quick responses. Both let people voice their opinion, which lets them feel heard. It also has the benefit of informing you of what people want to see - for example, if there’s a particular type of product (like a candle scent or flavour of chocolate) they’d like to see from you.
It’s an unofficial rule of social media: the more popular you are, the more influence you have. It’s so pervasive, some people even make a career out of it - the so-called influencers.
Social media influencers are users who have achieved credibility in a certain industry, and tend to have huge follower counts. Possibly the most well-known example is Kylie Jenner, owner of Kylie Cosmetics. As of 2021, Jenner has an Instagram following of over 231 million, making her one of the most followed people on the platform. She and other influencers often collaborate with companies for paid sponsorships. They will showcase a company’s product - like a dress or a sports drink - in one of their posts, promoting it to millions of potential customers. For the most prominent influencers, the payment they receive can be colossal - it’s estimated Jenner receives $1.2 million per post!
Fortunately, it’s not only social media juggernauts like Kylie Jenner that have power. Working with less prominent influencers is still a good way of getting exposure for your product. It helps to target influencers whose pages align with your business’s niche. For example, if you’re selling exercise equipment, you can ask popular fitness influencers to showcase your product. Often you won’t need to offer payment - many will happily show off a free sample if you offer them one. This exposes your product to an audience likely to be interested in the type of product you are selling.
Alternatively, you can collaborate with other businesses, typically those from an industry related to your own. This is a mutually beneficial way of promoting both businesses’ products at once.
It’s not easy getting noticed, especially in the crowded world of social media. That’s why it pays to put the work in. Having a visually distinct page, hosting giveaways, and collaborating with popular pages are all easy but effective ways to start building a following. Continuing to upload quality content will keep eyes on your business, getting people interested in your product and ultimately boosting your sales. It takes effort, but the results are more than worth it!
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