If your small business has been wondering whether it should get involved on TikTok — or explore another platform where it can grow its sphere of influence and customer base — now is the time to stop wondering and start an active social media presence.
Follow these tips for starting and growing a following on any social media platform and learn why having an active social presence matters regardless of the platform.
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Tips for Getting Started on Social
Most social media professionals will tell you that starting a social media presence requires having a plan. Businesses should not feel pressured to have a presence on every platform, nor should their plan entail creating and sharing the exact same content on every site. Here are a few building blocks for your social media plan.
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Identify the Projects
Lorrie Thomas Ross is the founder and CEO of Web Marketing Therapy, a full-service marketing agency specializing in social media marketing support and optimization. She recommends creating a plan identifying the projects, such as picking a platform, photo or video capture, editing, creating, posting, moderating and content calendar creation.
Doing this ensures there are clear processes and systems in place.
“There has to be consistency with content creation and a focus on quality over quantity,” said Thomas Ross. A small business, for example, would not start a TikTok unless they have people who can continuously create content, as this is the key to building credibility, visibility and sellability.
Do Your Research
Working in social media, whether you decide to start with TikTok or Instagram, is incredibly time consuming. More often than not, many small businesses are not prepared for the commitment.
Doing your research prior to starting can be a big help. If you decide to start a TikTok and want to start working on your video, for instance, you’ll need to know how much time it takes to shoot, reshoot, edit, add text, do some more editing and post the final video. Thomas Ross said a short video can take hours to make and needs to be planned accordingly.
Go Where Your Target Audience Is
Part of your research will determine which social media platforms are the right ones for your small business and its demographic.
“The platform a business owner should use to grow their business depends on the nature of their business and most importantly, their target audience,” said Thomas Ross.
Depending on the industry your small business is in, you may find starting a TikTok account is or isn’t beneficial for its audience. A wedding planner might prioritize Pinterest, someone in the financial services industry might focus on LinkedIn and the owner of a retirement coaching company might do more with Facebook.
Brands with a lot of “how-to” video content, Thomas Ross said, will likely prioritize YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
As you figure out which platforms are right for your target audience, don’t forget social media marketing is kind of like finance. A financial advisor would recommend you create a diverse investment portfolio. The same rule of thumb should apply to small businesses on social media.
“People have their own social media preferences. Some love Twitter, some are big on LinkedIn. Having stronger focus areas is great, but don’t discount the power of having a presence on several to elevate your business,” said Thomas Ross.
“With any marketing effort, you create the idea, execute it, monitor it and rinse repeat,” said Thomas Ross. “Measure efficacy by reviewing followers, responses and traffic to the website.”
Grow Your Business Through Blogging
Regardless of the platform they ultimately utilize, Thomas Ross said all businesses need to consider using a blog.
Yes, a blog. It might sound like you’re taking your business backwards rather than forwards by blogging, but active blogs full of content can translate into social media posts across every platform.
“The blog is the core of social media marketing as a well-managed blog serves as the foundation to generate a plethora of social media posts across all platforms,” said Thomas Ross.
Tips for Getting Started on TikTok
What should small businesses know specifically about TikTok? Fulya Uygun, co-founder and CEO of Bowery Boost, tells GOBankingRates what TikTok users want and what to know before getting on the platform.
Build a Content Strategy on Fun, Meaningful Content
Uygun said TikTok reminds her of the early days of Instagram where brands were able to get substantial
amounts of organic exposure without adding paid advertising to the game. Small businesses don’t want to miss out on this opportunity either.
“Creating meaningful, fun or engaging content can still get you earned views on Tiktok, while that strategy isn’t as possible now on Facebook, Instagram or even Pinterest,” said Uygun. “Be sure to actually build a content strategy specifically for the platform.”
Here’s what TikTok users don’t want: salesy, pushy assets promoting a brand or product. If your small business is heading to TikTok, you, and your content, should be engaging and authentic. Ideally, Uygun said you should be ready to let TikTok users learn more about the people behind the brands and businesses.
Posting Fresh Content Frequently Is a Requirement
TikTok users consume content faster than any other social platform. If you’re planning to get on TikTok, Uygun recommends getting ready to post two to three times, minimum, each day.
Small businesses planning to add money behind their TikTok strategy are recommended to let their marketing team participate in the content process.
“Brainstorm with anyone who is doing paid social for your brand to make sure some of the content you create can be pushed as Spark Ads. This generates higher engagement and eventually conversions,” said Uygun. “On organic and paid TikTok, creating and posting often is important. An ad that performs strongly for a week might perform horribly the next week due to fatigue.”
Remember to track TikTok trends too. Uygun said businesses can use influencers to create content for you and check the TikTok ad library for the best performing content to get inspiration.
Why an Active Social Media Presence Matters for Business Growth
Being active on social media — and being creative and engaging in your planning — is essential for business growth because it helps small businesses build visibility, solidifies credibility and creates connections to support sellability.
“There is no on and off switch with marketing,” said Thomas Ross. “Continually staying in front of current and potential audiences is a must to brand, build and boost business, and social media is one of the lowest cost and low barrier to entry ways to do this!”
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