How can SMB owners build their brands?

Four essential social tips for your small-business needs.
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Ian McKinnon

· 4 min read

This article serves as a primer on the 4-part series I wrote withPaysafe, the payment solutions provider focused on making small-business payments seamless, safe, and secure. Check out the series over at Paysafe for the tips and tricks you’ll need to become a social media star!

Ever heard of “the madeleine moment?”

Legend has it that in the early 1900s, French writer Marcel Proust bit into a madeleine (a buttery French classic) and felt a sudden rush of inspo to write a 4,000+ page, stone-cold classic of his own. That’s right—my man bit into a tiny cake and popped out a masterpiece.

I try to channel Old Man Proust when crafting social media strategies (no, seriously, hear me out). After 10 years working social for brands like Beats by Dre, Twitch, and Microsoft, I’m likely to draw inspo from some local band over a direct competitor.

I’ve always wanted to help SMBs dive a little deeper into best practices, so I’m detailing 4 different social strategies that you can use to boost your small biz’s online presence. That’s the thesis behind this 4-part small-business social series I’ve written in partnership with Paysafe, the payments solutions platform that’ll level up your payments game. Get ready to become a social butterfly.

Here’s a quick overview of my 4 essential strategies.

1. Pick the right platform

At first glance, picking a platform seems like an easy task. “I’ll just hop on IG and ~boom~ I’m an influencer,” says the sweet, inexperienced marketer.

But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, choosing the right app to promote your biz can be like solving some sort of obscure algebraic equation. There are too many platforms to choose from, each with their own audiences, nuances, personalities, and functions. It can be a total head-scratcher.

Here’s a pro tip—just remember the big three:

  • Where are your customers? Consider which platforms your target markets frequent.
  • Match your skills with the platform. If you’re a video person, choose TikTok, for example.
  • Cross-promote your biz via professional and personal accounts. Your shop’s account should share posts from your professional and personal accounts, and vice versa.

2. Apply your soft skills to social media

If there’s one thing about running a small biz that often goes unspoken, it’s that owners low-key serve as therapists. No, really: Customers love to talk, especially if your biz involves longer services like haircuts, tattoos, or manicures. Odds are you’re already a social expert in real life. CAPITALIZE ON IT. Use your soft skills in ways that complement your biz.

Sure, it sounds great in theory, but what does it look like in person? For one, always attempt to build a rapport with your customers. Talk, talk, talk. Agreeable personalities and great convos can be used as launchpads for ad opportunities.

Having a great chat with a client gettin’ some fresh ink? After you’re done, ask them if you can flick up and blast the tat on your socials. A good convo can easily transform into direct, actionable marketing gold.

3. Put movie-director-level effort into your pics

You’ve probably heard that old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s a cliché for a reason. Images are EVERYTHING, especially when it comes to content. When snapping pics, make sure to:

  • Use your phone’s camera—not an app’s.
  • Rely on proper lighting (it makes all the difference).
  • Employ the rule of thirds when taking pics (i.e., where to place your client in the frame).
  • Diversify your camera angles (not the Myspace angle).
  • Use free editing apps like Snapseed, VSCO, and AirBrush for touch-ups.
  • Cop needed accessories.

4. Scale and diversify your content

Okay, so you’ve got your accounts set; you’ve mastered photography and general client kindness. Now it’s time to drum up ways to stay fresh and relevant. Because trust me, you can burn out quickly by pushing the same content over and over.

Here are a handful of ways to hit the refresh button when things start feeling stale:

  • Spruce up still photos with eye-catching backgrounds.
  • Diversify your video content with panning and zooming camera work.
  • Use before-and-after formats to show big transformations.
  • Incorporate behind-the-scenes footage to give audiences a unique glimpse into your biz.

See how these strategies can apply to nearly every SMB industry? Whether you’re a barber, a tattoo artist, a restaurateur, or a nail tech, great content and social ideas stay universal. Hungry for a madeleine yet?

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