small business guide 2015
Shake Social give their winning
social media tips...
Social Media works
Social media is a tool that really enables small
business to achieve BIG results. It drives
visitors online and off, generates sales, and
can create brand buzz around your product or
service. It could be HUGE for your business – if
you do it right.
Social media is here to stay. Blogging,
tweeting, friend requests and videos are the
lexicon of the modern world. Twitter and
Instagram have more than 500 million users
between them. Facebook has over a billion
users. YouTube is the second largest search
engine in the world and a blog is now the
central hub for all your news.
All these web concepts have a single important
element in common: they are all two way streets
when it comes to communication. People are
already talking about your business, it’s just
a question of whether you’re involved in the
We’ve teamed up with the social media experts
at Shake Social to put together this handy
guide for small businesses who want to get the
most out of social media throughout the year.
Here to help you make sense of it with some
easy tips that will win you business. Companies
across the UK who use social media well are
thriving. Small Business Saturday gives you
the perfect opportunity to get involved and
When you want to connect with customers
the best networks to start with are Facebook,
Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram–
but you could be using LinkedIn, Snapchat
and Google+ as well.
putting the customer first
Social media is, of course, social! It’s not a
selling tool. It’s a relationships tool. The more
people you use it to listen to, engage with and
share stories amongst, the bigger your brand
buzz will be. The sales will come, but only if
you put the customer first.
Some questions to ask yourself:
• Who is my typical customer?
• Where do they spend time online?
• What are my customers interested in?
• What can I do to make my customers
• When was the last time I said thank you to
them for choosing me?
• How can I make them feel special and
In a social world there are always two
Your initial audience (your followers and fans)
The ultimate audience (their followers and
fans, and their followers and fans, and their
followers and fans, and ... you get the picture!)
The only way you’ll reach the ultimate audience
(and grow your initial audience) is by creating
something that other people want to share.
What was the last thing you shared, repinned
or retweeted online?
Across the networks
There are some things you can do to boost
your profile throughout the year, regardless
of which social networks you choose to use.
• Share pictures and stories from your
customers that illustrate how you have
made life easier or solved a problem for
• Showcase different members of staff
each month with a picture and a profile
explaining why small businesses are
important to them.
• Tell customers about the other small
businesses that you use and why you use
them. Promote each other.
• Ask your customers or clients the same
question and ask if you can record their
answers into a short, shareable video.
• List 25 reasons why your small business is
so special. Share a different reason each
fortnight- try to make them visual.
• Photograph, film or write about a typical
day in your business. Can you make it
personal or entertaining?
• Do some research. Talk to your customers.
Ask them what social networks they use,
what brands they follow and what they’d
like to see from you. Be responsive.
• Respond to customer queries and
comments through social media. People
really appreciate the personal touch, and
engaging personally with your shoppers
is something that can really set you apart
from big business.
Facebook is an incredible database. With
over 1.3 billion users it is phenomenally
powerful for any business and a cost
effective tool for small businesses
The following tips will help you get even
more out of it:
• Highlight a different product or service
each week by changing your cover
• Use localised Facebook adverts to
target customers and potential clients
with special offers or promotions.
• Have a “Customer of the Week” and say
thank you to them for choosing you. If
you can take a photo of them and offer
them 10% off or a free cup of coffee etc
– even better!
• Run a competition and encourage people
to tag a friend. It can’t be a condition of
entry though (check Facebook’s T&Cs)!
• Invest in a small white board and interact
with your customers, asking them to
write a comment about your business
and pose for a photo. Share the images
on your Facebook page.
• Ask questions: get people talking about
why they use small businesses and
what they like about them.
• Set up a Facebook group with other
small business owners on your street or
in your area. Use it to share ideas for
ways of working together and helping to
promote each other.
Twitter is a real-time information network
that connects you to the latest stories,
ideas, opinions and news. Try some of the
following ideas to reach even more people:
• Use #smallbizsatuk to join in the ongoing
conversation about Small Business
Saturday. It’s a popular hashtag with a
lot of people looking at it – that means
more impressions and even more people
seeing your brand name and logo.
• Tag @smallbizsatuk in a tweet so they
have the chance to retweet you to all
their followers too.
• Showcase your products or services by
sharing a different product or service
each week in your tweets.
• Take advantage of your local networking
hour each week on Twitter to tweet with
other small business owners in your
area. Get started with #SmallBizHour
• Include the name of your town or area
as a hashtag in your tweets to make
sure locals see it.
• Consider using promoted tweets to
share offers with even more people in
your local area.
• Share photos and videos when you can
to make it visual and engaging.
• Tweet tips and advice that your
customers will find helpful. You want
them to look forward to your tweets.
• Read what other tweeters are saying in
your area. Respond, retweet and reply
where you can.
• Run an ‘ask the expert’ hour where you’ll
answer any questions people tweet if
they use the right hashtag.
Creating and sharing valuable video content
that’s relevant to your ideal customer is one
of the most effective strategies you can use.
And these days, you can do it all on your
• Remember to K.I.S.S. – Keep It Short &
Simple. Ideally, you want to be sharing
video that’s 90 seconds or less.
• Make it your mission to ask one customer
each week to say on film why they chose
to spend money with you.
• Think of different random things you
can do to delight your customers, from
giving them an extra helping to carrying
their goods to their car. Record people’s
reactions (but always ask for permission to
• Film a typical work day in your business
and share snippets.
• Record some of the ways you can use
your products, from handy How To Guides
to suggestions and tips.
• Share your videos on the other social
networks as well as YouTube.
• Don’t forget to add the key words you’d
like to be found for when people search
as you add the descriptions etc to your
video at the time of uploading.
Interested in a social network that will make
your business visual and doesn’t need to be
updated as often? Look no further! Pinterest
gives you some great opportunities to shine
• Create a community board about your
local area and invite neighbouring business
owners to pin on it as well.
• Don’t forget to use important keywords in
your description – but make it appealing
• Follow the Small Business Saturday
Boards on Pinterest for them to follow you
back and support each other.
• Do you blog? Make sure you pin your blog
posts to Pinterest too. Great for web traffic!
• Perks don’t hurt. 61% of consumers use
social to look for discounts. Try setting up
a specials board where you share regular
offers and discounts to your fellow pinners.
• Ask on Facebook and Twitter if your
followers are on Pinterest as well and
encourage them to share their Pinterest
handle with you. Don’t forget to tell them
• Create a board all about your customers
with pictures, inspiring quotes and some
of their favourite purchases.
Instagram is another network that lets you
build a visual presence. Its focus is on original,
‘authentic’ real-life photos, which means you
don’t have to be a professional photographer
to make an impression:
• Take attractive photos of your products
and show followers exactly what you’re
• Choose 3 or 4 filters that are in keeping
with your brand and stick to them.
• Show your business at its most dynamic
with some snaps of you and your staff in
• Share your ‘behind the scenes’ photos—
everyone loves an exclusive, and you get
to show off more of your business.
• Encourage engagement with ‘caption this
photo’ contests. Offering prizes for the
winner is a great incentive for people to
• Tag your photos with the relevant keywords
to tap into discussions. Hashtags are
a great way of getting your business
involved with trending topics— like, say,
• Don’t forget video! Short clips can really
help to make your profile more engaging,
but don’t make them too long— people
have short attention spans.
• Share your Instagram selectively to your
other social media profiles as well. It’s a
great way of making some of your other
profiles more visual, with no extra time
investment from you!
Blogs are a great way of shouting about who
you are and what you do. It’s a showcase
for your news, opinions and expertise. Links
and tweets to your blog are great for keeping
your social media profiles active, and the
blog itself gives people a reason to visit your
website time and again.
• ‘Top tips’ and ‘mistakes to avoid’ posts are
popular on blogs— giving useful advice
that people can trust is great for building
relationships. Blog readers who trust
your expertise are more likely to become
• Identifying individual authors on your blog
is a good way for potential customers
to see the faces behind your business.
The personal touch can really help small
businesses stand out!
• Post your opinions on news stories, or link
what you do to current events, to show
customers that you’re up to date with
developments in your industry.
• You don’t have to limit your blog to talking
about your industry or the products you
sell— you can blog about all kinds of
related issues to give your brand a wider
reach and broader appeal.
• Writing about company milestones, like
new employees or anniversaries, can be
a good way of getting your customers
invested in your business.
• Strike a balance with your content—most
readers don’t want to read endless selfpromotion,
so make sure that most of
your posts have some practical use or are
relevant to your readers’ lives.
Small Business Saturday is more than just
one day of the year. It’s about valuing,
promoting and using small businesses all
year round. Hopefully this guide will give
you ideas for ways to encourage people to
interact with you and – ultimately – become
clients or customers. Small businesses are
the backbone of the British economy and
social media is such a powerful way of
promoting what you do. Don’t miss out!
Check out our website and our Facebook
page for the latest news and suggestions.
Connect on Twitter too!
Shake Social have free resources on
their website and share weekly tips
via email. Just sign up online!
These Social Media tips were provided by Shake Social