As a busy small business owner you’ll undoubtedly have to become jack of all trades.

From manning the telephone, raising invoices, ordering supplies, serving customers…the list goes on. So how on earth do you make time to sit down and start using social media to promote your business? Does social media really make any impact on your sales, or is it just another activity you’ve got to be seen to be doing? To put it bluntly, what’s in it for you?

For many small businesses it’s so easy to become overwhelmed when entering the world of social media. There’s real pressure to jump in and emulate what other businesses are doing. That’s why you need to keep reminding yourself that every business is different and what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. It’s essential to first make a plan of what you want to achieve, and how much time you can commit to it. You can then more confidently choose an approach to social media marketing that is manageable and doesn’t stress you out.

But is it worth it?

A resounding YES! Promoting your business to customers on social media platforms will not only improve your exposure to the outside world, but will have a positive impact on sales. Your connection with audiences on social media platforms will really help in boosting their confidence in the products or services you are offering, making it more likely for them to make contact with you and spend money. Setting up profiles for your business on most social media channels is also free of cost; all you need to do is dedicate time to set up and maintain those profiles.

How do you get started?

As mentioned above, you really don’t want to get yourself overwhelmed, bogged down and fed-up – or you’ll give up altogether! The trick is to make things easier for yourself and evaluate the past work that has already been done by others; that means your direct competitors, or other similar businesses in your industry. Make time to research and make notes on what they have been doing on social media platforms. Evaluate the appeal and effectiveness of their social media posts; what do you think works, and what doesn’t. Doing this, you’ll soon identify ways that social media can assist promote your business.

Choose your platforms carefully

Deciding which social media platforms to create business profiles with will be important, as of course you’ll want to maximise the rewards from any time and effort you put in. For example, Instagram is all about visuals and lifestyle; it’s brilliant for those in the creative, travel and hospitality industries. LinkedIn on the other hand, is very much B2B; perfect to showcase your own industry insights and expertise. The UK Federation of Small Businesses has a great article which will help you choose the right social media channels and the benefits to be had from each.

Post wisely and engage customers

A common mistake when businesses start using social media is that they blast out too many social media posts in quick succession – which will most definitely annoy and put people off. Any social media posts created need to be informative, engaging and tactical. Your ultimate goals should always be to increase your brand awareness, steadily build and maintain followers and increase the number of visitors to your website/premises. It’s not just about posting either, it’s equally important to keep engaging with those that interact with your posts i.e. those who like your posts, make comments, ask questions etc. Keep in mind that the social media business profiles you create should be kept up to date, constantly nurtured and always regarded as a very valuable asset!