Tech & AI

Mastering the Digital Space: Social Media Best Practices for SMBs

Posted 03 May 2016 | BY Sansan

Among the most digitally connected countries, Singapore ranks high for both the number of internet users with a social media account – 96 per cent – and the average number of hours spent on social media platforms per day – 2.2.

From humanising your brand to influencing consumers’ purchase decisions, social media has wide-reaching effects. It is thus a powerful tool for businesses – provided they know how to leverage its benefits. Here are some social media best practices that brands would do well to bear in mind before embarking on their social journey.

Where should you be?

Given the proliferation of social media channels, it is easy to get confused. Which ones should you choose? It is impossible to be present across all the social platforms out there. Even if you created a profile on all of them, you wouldn’t be able to manage all of them unless you had a dedicated team for social.

Besides, what would be the point if you aren’t able to reach your target audience? Therein lies the solution – select a social media site for your business based on where your audience is likely to be. If your product is targeted towards youths, Facebook might be the right platform for you to reach this always-online crowd, whereas LinkedIn might be more effective in targeting a B2B crowd in a specialised industry. If your company deals with visual goods and services – an interior design firm, for instance – Pinterest or Instagram might be more valuable for you.

Having a ‘page’ or creating a community on social media isn’t enough. It takes a lot of time and effort to manage them, so make sure you do not take on more than you can handle – choose wisely.

Set guidelines

Once you have selected your platforms, ensure that everybody knows what is acceptable to post and what isn’t. If you are going to be managing the social media account yourself, it might not be a matter of concern, but if it is going to be managed by an employee, make sure you set a policy in place so they do not veer away from the brand voice or, worse, say something that might be insensitive to your target audience, thereby creating a negative image about your business. What might be acceptable to one person might not be to another, so ensure everyone who has access to the social media account has clarity on this matter.

Loyalty, not likes

For any business, customer loyalty is invaluable. From spreading a good word about your product to returning to spend more without you having to reach out actively, loyal customers are an asset to your business. Sometimes, in the quest for business, companies resort to giveaways. However, this only earns them a temporary following – such gimmicks only attract those looking for deals, not loyal customers. While it is important to reward loyal customers, this should be done meaningfully and tastefully – offer something that adds genuine value to existing customers. Ad hoc sales might be great for clearing shelves in a hurry, but chances are you won’t see the same customer again unless you have another sale, thereby setting yourself up for a loss-making venture.

A means for customer service

Given its interactive nature, your social media account will, inevitably, be a customer service portal – and it should be. Good customer service on social media has several benefits. Not only does it tell your clients that you care, it also encourages them to share this belief with their network. Therefore, it is necessary to have someone respond to queries, complaints and compliments within a reasonable period of time on social media.

Social media can be a great tool for small businesses. Whether your goal is brand awareness or further down the funnel such as creating potential sales leads, social media can help with all this and more – provided you use it efficiently.