By: Jack O’Grady

Social media could not be more important for small businesses than it is today.

With over 3 billion people actively using social media, lacking a strong online presence puts businesses miles behind the curve. 

But catching up takes more than just making an Instagram. 

Businesses with successful social media put thought and planning into every piece of content they produce, and customers notice. Having a robust social media schedule will transform your business’ online engagement. 

How much to post

This might seem cliché, but quality over quantity is still the golden rule even when discussing social media. 

The goal of social media content is to create customer engagement. Posting all the time won’t impress consumers if the content simply isn’t interesting. 

Even more importantly, posting often won’t actually get more eyes on your content. 

Social media platforms organize their audience’s feed through algorithms and each one focuses on different metrics. Brafton describes this well:

  • Facebook focuses on meaningful interactions.
  • Instagram orders content by popularity, relevancy and a user’s relationship with the account that posted it.
  • Tweets are sorted by time posted and relevance to the user.
  • LinkedIn content is ranked by engagement and the degree to which you are connected with someone on LinkedIn.
  • Pinterest places content based on previous user interactions.

Understanding how each platform prioritizes content helps a business plan different content for each platform. While it’s normal to start with one content plan, a strong social media strategy should include different content that takes advantage of what each platform has to offer. 

Make the algorithms work for you

The main takeaway from all these algorithms, though, is that audience interaction is key to successful content. 

Businesses can capitalize on this by tagging users in their posts, closely monitoring comments and private messages for customers reaching out and scheduling interactive events. 

Spending time becoming acquainted with features like Facebook Live and adding them to a content schedule will help encourage more audience interaction and develop a closer connection between a business and its customer base. 

Social media as customer service

Customers primarily go to businesses’ social media for two things: customer service and brand personality. 

More and more, consumers are turning to Facebook or Twitter to voice concerns and get feedback from a company. 83% of customers want to see a business responding to comments, solving problems and being a part of the conversation. 

Facebook is the ideal platform for valuable customer conversation. Always remember to check private messages to see if customers have been reaching out with issues.

Replying to comments regularly and making it clear that customers can go to social media increases the amount of meaningful interactions on a business’ page, making it more likely for others to discover it. 

Social media as brand personality

While companies like Wendy’s and Moon Pie might find themselves in headlines often for their high-levels of online snark and sarcasm, the data shows that most customers aren’t looking for brands to be funny. They value honesty, friendliness, and helpfulness the most in a brand’s online persona. 

Trying to force humor or “coolness” into content can actually backfire. Only 36% of customers report wanting to buy from brands they find funny. And forced humor can become annoying, which is enough to convince 23% of customers to stop buying from a business completely. 

So when creating content, focus on authenticity and use social media as another avenue for providing excellent service to customers. 

Evaluating your social media strategy

While implementing a strong social media strategy is essential, in order to make it truly successful, businesses need to embrace data collection. Constantly checking social media metrics ensures that any faults in a content plan are discovered and corrected before too much time is wasted. 

This might sound daunting, but the good news is that every social media platform already collects a lot of raw data and businesses can learn how to mine data themselves.