Social media is a crowded landscape. Everyone has a voice, but in that sea of voices, it's hard to stand out and get noticed.
This is especially true for small businesses.
If you're not a household name, and you haven't already spent years cultivating a social media following, social media marketing can seem like an uphill battle.
But no matter how small your brand may be, there are always opportunities to reach the right audiences through social media.
With the right content, you can get a surprising amount of engagement.
And even more importantly, you can make sure you're engaging people who are likely to convert.
That's important, but it's easier said than done.
These two simple tips from Pratik Dholakiya, an Entrepreneur contributing author and the founder of digital marketing agency E2M, can help your small business jumpstart your social media marketing efforts, without getting lost in the crowd.
1. Take advantage of newsjacking and trending hashtags.
Starting from scratch with new social media accounts means a slow, persistent build in terms of audience.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes time and a lot of effort to gain traction and followers for your small business, but focus your efforts first locally, to build brand awareness in your immediate community.
Look for hashtags and other businesses in your local area that are “killing it’”on social. Follow charitable organizations from your community, including local associations and chambers of commerce.
There is nothing unscrupulous about following up news events or headlines from your local area; comment, and like posts (or share them) to start networking with other businesses in your area. You can also expose your own business to more people by leveraging hashtags that are trending.
Stay in the middle of the conversation.
2. Stimulate user-generated content.
Small businesses that advertise on social media platforms gain more traction by encouraging customers and users to create their own content. Just as product or service reviews help small businesses, so does user-generated content when shared online.
There are many ways small businesses can leverage user-generated content without pricey contests and large giveaways.
If you own a restaurant, for instance, ask customers to share their favorite meal on Instagram, using a custom hashtag for your business.
The hashtag will allow owners to randomly select a winner monthly, but the pictures of different items, and comments from satisfied customers, are worth far more than the price of a once-per-month “free dinner for two” incentive.
You can learn more ways small businesses can utilize content and social media marketing at Entrepreneur.