We’ve been lucky enough to have the wonderful Francis Milligan share his insights and tips to using Social Media as a small business. Share the blog to help close the Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce!

Guest Blogger, Francis Milligan: “Freelance digital marketer based in Glasgow. Small business owner with a specialism in Social Media. Amateur photographer with a love for attractive social content, with well written copy.”

Social media, for the most part, is a free tool. The reason I refer to it here as a tool as it’s the modern version of the billboard, the mailing database, the noticeboard; purely a tool to carry your message. With social media being free, for the most part, many small businesses tend to list their business or create a brand account on behalf of their business, however, it’s not always beneficial and many tend to make a few social media mistakes.

There are several social media platforms available to you: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Google+, LinkedIn, just to name a few. While you should consider having several social platforms, trying to use every social media network is a social media mistake that many make, just one example of the Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce. I get it, they’re free! However, an extra six plates to spin, maintain, and generate engaging content for poses a larger task and subsequently loses valuable time elsewhere. Find the platforms that work for you, and focus on them, become great on two platforms and own it.

Social Media Mistake

When deciding on your platforms you should always think of your audience. Not all social media users are the same, there are stats to show that around 59% of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 44, and that 71% of Pinterest users are female (Hootsuite 2017) … but those are very generic figures and they definitely shouldn’t be the basis of your social stream selection. Understanding the platforms, their key purposes, their main users and the message you wish to communicate will help you decide which is best for you.

So, you’ve decided that you want to use Instagram and Facebook as your first platforms before you add anymore, and you’ve identified your target audience. Now you can post… right? Wrong. This is often a big mistake made which shows a Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce. Well, not entirely, but posting without a clear strategy can lapse into wasting valuable time and lack of engagement to reach your campaign/business goals. Outline your social strategy and the type of content you want to share to reflect that.

Once you’re aware of the content you’d like to share, you can focus on not only posting, as many businesses do, but on the other opportunities which come with social media. The beautiful thing about social media is that it allows for two-way conversation between you and your customers, influencers, partners etc. If you only use it as a tool for pushing out content, you’ll be missing out on a lot of benefits.

Social media also gives you opportunity in the form of data. This isn’t necessarily a social media mistake, mostly just a missed opportunity. Social media gives you analytics and insights for your profile or page and for your posts/tweets/shares etc. It’s important that you keep an eye on the data your analytics is giving you, knowing your engagement rate and conversions allows you to adapt future communications or campaigns for even better results.

There is no magic wand for social media, but if you follow some of the tips above your business can build its brand online for free and deliver on those all important business goals. Sharing the information with your team members will help to lessen the Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce.

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