How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Small Business During the Holidays
running-a-business | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Petra Rowland | Published: December 2020
Social media is now more pertinent than ever for small businesses. It is the word-of-mouth in the digital age. This holiday season, social media is a great tool to ask your customers to support you by shopping small. Understanding how to engage with potential customers is the first step.
General Rules for Increasing Engagement
- Be purposeful in your posting. More content does not equal more engagement. Whichever platform(s) you use, make sure to research the best times and days of the week for posting to maximize the number of users who will view your content.
- Post a mixture of fun and promotional content. Engage customers with content such as articles relevant to your industry, bringing awareness to a cause, and eye-catching photos in addition to holiday sales and specials.
- Measure your efforts through analytics. To gauge which types of posts are most effective and popular, monitor engagement analytics, which are accessible through most mainstream social media business accounts. Examples include:
- Impressions: the number of times it showed up in a viewer’s feeds
- Reach: the number of unique users your content reached
- Response rate: how quickly you responded to inbound message
Facebook is a great way to start marketing your business because company pages have various preset templates. For example, there are templates for Shopping, Restaurants and Cafes, Services, Venues, Businesses and more. Selecting the one that fits your needs can set you up to engage with your customers.
On your page, Facebook makes your response time on direct messages public unlike other platforms where you can privately monitor it. If you are busy working during business hours and cannot check Facebook Messenger, set automatic replies that specify a time frame of when you will respond.
Facebook is also unique because your company’s page has features to promote engagement such as the community tab. Each page’s community tab is filled with users who are passionate about your brand, so much so that they will create a post here to try to interact with you and other “fans.” Facebook rewards users for their engagement with badges such as “Top Fan” and “Valued Commenter.”
Being a visual platform, businesses on Instagram thrive on images and videos to sell products, which is best for direct-consumer businesses. Drawing customers in with hashtags is effective as users may find you on their Discover page if you use the right hashtags. Unlike other platforms, you can use up to 30. However, make sure you are using hashtags that are effective rather than bulk piling on general ones.
Hashtags aren’t just important for engagement; they also drive users to purchase your items. Instagram recently launched Instagram Shopping, where users can stay on the platform to purchase products and directly tie engagement with sales.
Currently, when users go to the Shopping section, there will be advertised products from companies that they follow. However, once they scroll, they will receive suggestions on what to purchase based on their previous likes. Therefore, looking at what your competitors are tagging and posting could help you advertise to their customers.
A common misconception is that LinkedIn is only for B2B, when in fact, B2C can be effective.
Customer stories are great on all platforms, but LinkedIn focuses on a more human approach. As a small business, creating posts about yourself, your company’s history, and your employees can gain traction and snowball its engagement. Unlike other platforms where items you like primarily populates, LinkedIn’s algorithm focuses heavily on your connections and the things they like. When you post about an employee, that employee’s connections will see your post in their feeds.
What Else Can I Do on Social Media?
There are plenty of social media platforms available such as Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Pinterest. We recommend spending time to understand your target audience and which platform(s) they engage with most often. Make a strong statement on the platforms that will make the most impact on your business and help build your brand. The key takeaway is that the strength of one or two is a better strategy than spreading yourself too thin.
About the Author – Petra Rowland
Petra Rowland is NewLane Finance’s Vice President of Marketing and has over 25 years of consumer marketing experience. Most prominently, she was an Account Supervisor at Merkley and Partners where she managed the Mercedes-Benz account for 16 markets in the northeast region. Currently, Petra oversees the execution of branding, content strategy, social media, lead generation, account penetration, and vendor growth.
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