10 social media advertising tips for your small business
Say it’s mid July, your kids are out of school, you’ve got 7 new online orders to ship, you’ve started wearing your bathing suit under your clothes because you haven’t gotten to the laundry in almost two weeks aaaaand you’re a vendor at a pop up market this weekend which you still have to prepare for. Are you picturing it? Are you living it right now?
Sometimes being a small business owner can be overwhelming and we tend to prioritize our life over our business, pushing responsibilities aside to the detriment of our work. Something we’ve noticed within our community is a lack of social media marketing before an event or sometimes even in general. Making time to build your social media presence is crucial to your business’ longterm growth - remember your competition is already social!
Okay, okay - you get it’s important, but you’re still living in that mid July madness and you don’t even know where to start. We’ve outlined 10 tips for social media marketing before or during an event!
Engage, Engage, Engage!
The entire point of using social media is to interact with other people around a common theme or topic. As a small business, that does not change! By engaging with customers online you are breaking down that fourth wall by giving customers a real person to associate your business with. It’s important to create relationships with people online because people like to buy products from people they know and trust. Connecting with people online helps you know your ideal clients along with other businesses and this creates a community and gives you a bigger group of followers who are there because they want to hear from you!
At least 3 times a week, (daily is better, but any time is better than no time!) go through your own feed or home page and look for content to engage with. Spend as much time as you can liking, commenting and even sometimes sharing content you think is relevant to you. You can also share this content on your own facebook or instagram stories!
As a rule of thumb, try to engage with at least 15-20 posts per day.
Calendar of Events
If people don’t know where to shop your products how can you truly expect to sell on a consistent basis to your return customers? We advise uploading a calendar of your upcoming events to every social platform you use. Instead of posting a facebook status or putting an event in your instagram bio, try creating a graphic or use a related eye catching image to let your followers know where to find you!
Talk about a specific event/market to build excitement
You might think this is common sense, but we see such a lack of this on the backend of vendor marketing that it stands out to us to highlight this point. Social media is a fantastic way to build interest amongst your followers, but you’ve got to put in a little bit of work!
A F E W W A Y S T O B O O S T I N T E R E S T :
I. Share the facebook event page to your personal facebook or link it in your Instagram bio
II. Talk about the event in your Instagram stories (maybe even put your own face on there!)
III. Give followers a preview of what you’ll be bringing to sell at the event
IV. Start an Instagram countdown
V. Share high resolution photos or content provided by the market coordinator
Communicate with the Market Coordinator
Share with the market coordinator if you're doing something special for the a specific upcoming market: a special deal, exclusive product, or concept. For example: Milk Mustache Cookies began offering ice cream sandwiches at the last Front Porch Sundays to help us get through the hot market days! The owner of MMC filled us in before that Front Porch Sundays and in turn we posted about their summer treat on our social media as well.
Use market specific graphics, GIFS, photos
Sharing graphics, gifs, or photos provided by the event helps increase brand recognition, validity and exclusivity. If the market you’re vending at has branded GIFS or Giphy stickers (another great instagram feature to use!) use them to add more personality to your social media account, promote a sale, feature a new product or tell a story. If you’re setting up shop at awesome events you need to let people know!
Always tag/link the event when posting about it on any platform
Tagging and giving proper credit is very important on social media and it actually makes things easier on you! By giving people a click through link to an event page or account they get all the nitty gritty info and details about the event so you don’t have to post 4+ more stories or answer 20 questions explaining where to park, FAQ, or basic details that are already available on the event’s page or account.
Also, when you link or tag the event you’re not only promoting yourself and your small business, but you’re also increasing engagement for everyone involved in the event! Be nice and share, share, share!
Take advantage of social media features
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat all have built in features for you to take advantage of, and although it might seem overwhelming at first and like a lot to constantly manage - once you learn which features work best for you, you can narrow things down!
F E A T U R E S T O B E G I N I M P L E M E N T I N G (if you aren’t already!) :
I. Facebook and Instagram stories
II. The “Live” feature on Facebook and Instagram
III. Carousel images on Instagram
IV. Geo-filters + Location Tags
V. Instagram Polls or Questions
VI. Hashtags on Instagram and Twitter
Focus on quality
Quality content makes such a difference on the internet. Relevant, unique and informative content performs better on social media. Your content needs to carry a unique and identifiable voice, style, and pitch across all distribution channels.
Put aside a few dollars each week and begin implementing an ongoing Facebook or Instagram marketing campaign. You can pay to promote a certain post or event so it has a greater reach and show up on people's feeds that do not follow you. This also helps to either gain more followers or sell a specific product.
Or maybe you’re looking for some additional local attention? Then check out what advertising outlets or opportunities are available in your city. Research local online publications and local accounts with large followings you could reach out to. You might also be surprised to see how many people still read the newspaper or local magazine – if it works within your niche, then go for it!
Using hashtags properly on social media is one of the best and free ways to get engage people online - especially users who are seeking content that is similar to what you’re posting. Hashtags help categorize your post on the internet and Instagram allows you 30 hashtags per post. That means 30 different opportunities for you to be seen online by people who aren’t following you!
It’s important to note that there are two main types of Instagram hashtags: branded and community hashtags. Branded hashtags are specific to your business. They might contain your brand name, your products or a specific campaign. Create a brand hashtag that’s catchy or sticks with you and users will be more excited to share it. Community hashtags such as #discoverclt or #cltevents are created around specific local topics. Using community hashtags in your posts is a great way to connect with like-minded users, gain followers and increase the search-engine optimization of your posts.
For example, some our branded hashtags are #estherandelsa #frontporchsundays #uptownfleaclt and a few community hashtags we use are #uptowncharlotte #mycharlotte #shopsmallCLT
H A S H T A G T I P S :
I. Use the notes section on your phone to save hashtags for Instagram for quick access
II. Post your hashtags in the caption of your image or immediately after posting your image in the comments section.
III. Research hashtags by searching one hashtag and clicking on the suggested tags that show up at the top of your Instagram search results.
IV. Have a good mix of community and branded hashtags ranging in variety of popularity
V. Be specific! Broad hashtags such as #jewelry are being posted nearly every few seconds, meaning that your post will quickly be pushed far down the hashtag stream and possibly never be seen.
VI. It’s important to switch up your hashtags based on what you post and make sure each hashtag is a good fit for your image.
And there you have it, our top ten tips on social media marketing for small businesses. Have anything to add? We'd love to hear from you on Instagram, Facebook or in the comments!