By Missy Sheehan
When it comes to social media, what’s the difference between a multimillion-dollar empire like Starbucks and your local coffee shop? Besides an enormous marketing budget, big brands often employ entire teams of communication specialists and graphic designers to manage their social media accounts.
I’ll let you in on a secret, though: small businesses can snag some of that big-brand expertise for themselves by taking cues from some of the social media world’s most popular players.
Read on for five big-brand strategies you can use to grow your small business’s social media presence.
Follow the 70/20/10 Rule
If it works for Google, it’ll work for your small business. Google employees adhere to a 70/20/10 rule—they spend 70 percent of their time on core business, 20 percent on related projects and 10 percent on unrelated new business.
According to Social Media Today, in the social media realm this means 70 percent of the content you post should relate to your business’s main mission and your customers’ needs. This includes posting information that grows your reputation and shows your expertise, like product tips and customer reviews.
Content that engages your audience on a deeper level—like articles, blogs and infographics related to your industry—should make up 20 percent of your content.
For the remaining 10 percent, think outside the box! Give yourself room to experiment with posting different types of content (like those discussed in the next two points).
Say It With Multimedia
Big brands know how to use unique photos and videos to connect with customers. Starbucks, for example, experiments with images involving its iconic beverage cups on its social media pages.
The coffee-shop giant also recently posted a video of caramel being swirled over a vanilla Macchiato on Facebook—simple, but effective (and drool-inducing).
Even without a team of media specialists dedicated to your business’s page, it’s possible to produce quality images and videos. If you have a smartphone, you probably have an app for that!
Cater To Their Interests
Big brands cultivate a lifestyle around their product. For example, looking at Red Bull’s social media pages, filled with images of extreme athletes, thrill-seekers and concert-goers, it’s clear the company is targeting people who aspire to that lifestyle.
The same strategy can work for small businesses. A bicycle shop could post pictures of local bike trails. A chiropractor might post tips for reducing back pain. A bakery might share an article about the most popular cupcake flavors. And so on.
Take Advantage of Crowdsourcing
How do big brands know what their customers want? Simple—they ask them. Big brands are experts at using social media to gather useful information from fans on social media.
Lay’s well-known campaign asking fans to help choose its next potato chip flavor is a great example of using crowdsourcing to get product feedback before production actually begins.
Whether you’re considering major changes to your business’s products or services or something as simple as a new paint color for your office, asking your social media followers can give you valuable insight into your customers wants and needs.
With staff members dedicated solely to managing social media, big brands have no problem posting regularly to many many different accounts—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more.
On Avon’s Facebook page, for instance, you’ll notice the company posts at least once a day, sometimes multiple times. Likewise for it’s Twitter page. Avon also regularly uses hashtags like #ManiMonday to chime in to trending weekly topics.
Even if your social media team is a one-person operation, try to take a few minutes each day to post something interesting and relevant to your business’s social media pages to keep your fans engaged.
With these big-brand strategies in your social media toolkit, you should have no problem growing your small business’s online presence.