With an estimated 4.59 billion people worldwide engaging with social media in 2023 it can be a powerful tool for any small business. However with so many platforms to choose from – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok to name just a few – it can seem overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. You […]
With an estimated 4.59 billion people worldwide engaging with social media in 2023 it can be a powerful tool for any small business.
However with so many platforms to choose from – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok to name just a few – it can seem overwhelming and difficult to know where to start.
You may think that it’s impossible to compete with big brands on social media and decide not to bother. This would be a big mistake. Learning how to harness the power of social media for your business can help you reach new customers and build your business.
Let’s take a look at the many benefits of social media for small businesses and explore the different ways training can help your small business to make a big splash on social media.
The most important social media platforms for small businesses
There are so many different social media platforms to choose from that it can seem difficult for small businesses to know where to begin. So which social media is the best for small businesses?
Before deciding which social media platforms to focus on it is first worth considering which has the best reach and audience size for your target market.
It was way back in 2012 that Facebook became the first platform to have more than 1 billion users and since then a number of other platforms have reached that milestone including Instagram, YouTube and Tik Tok.
According to Statista in October 2023 Facebook had the most monthly users, retaining its crown as the social media platform with the most active users. However as the table below reveals a number of other social platforms are snapping at their heels:
Inevitably, any statistics in this area quickly go out of date however they are a useful indication of the most powerful social media platforms and their relative audience sizes.
As demonstrated by the graph above, Facebook is the largest social media platform, but as with many things size isn’t everything. A large platform can mean your posts get lost in the noise.
Whilst size is important there are other factors you should consider when choosing which social media platform(s) are right for your business.
How to choose the best social media for my business?
So how do you select which social media platform is best for your business? First you need to think about what makes a good social media page and what you want that page to do for your business.
Do you want to attract a certain demographic? Say, affluent parents who are cash rich but time poor? Or digitally savvy hiring managers, looking for help with recruitment? Do you want to encourage engagement with existing customers, or reach new ones?
By thinking about what you want social media to achieve for your business you’ll be better able to select which platforms to focus on.
The demographic of a platform is a very useful indicator of if it has the type of audience you would like to reach with your business. For example, if you are looking to reach the 25-34 age bracket then Facebook has the greatest reach, but if you are after a younger audience then Instagram leads the way in the 18-24 age bracket.
Statista is a really useful resource for analysing the demographic information and reach of social media platforms. The data can change so it’s worth keeping an eye on how the various platforms are performing to ensure you target the right one for your businesses’ needs.
Another important aspect to think about for your social media strategy is the format of the platform. Is it text based, image based or video based? Or a mixture of all three?
Thinking about the kinds of content you can easily create is useful here. If your product is very visual then Instagram or Facebook could be the best option. But if you want to use text to boost engagement then Twitter/X could be a better fit for your business.
Think about how often you can post and how much time you’ll have to create content as some platforms are a lot more time intensive to create decent content for than others.
A good social media training course will teach you what each platform has to offer, the extent of its reach and the demographics of its users.
Understanding the different platforms will help you to make an informed choice about which social media to prioritise and how to make it work most effectively for you.
Social media metrics can be especially confusing as most platforms use different terminology to measure success such as likes, shares, retweets, followers, views and comments.
Good social media raining will teach you how to understand these metrics and discover which are the most important for your business and how to measure them.
This will ensure you can actively measure the effectiveness of your social media campaigns to identify which strategies bring the biggest returns. This will help you to understand what sort of content really resonates with your audience so you can focus your efforts on more of the same and reap the rewards.
The benefits of social media training for small businesses
One of the key aspects of a good social media strategy is selecting the right social media platforms to focus on and understanding what makes a good small business social media page.
This is where a good social media for business training course can really help. By learning about all the social media platforms available and how to get started, you will gain all the tools you need to create a focused social media strategy for your small business.
There are many benefits to undertaking social media training. One of the key positives is that it allows small businesses to build confidence in using social media to connect directly with their customers, encouraging brand loyalty and ensuring your business is the first one they think of when it is time to spend their money.
What do NILC’s social media training courses include?
Here at NILC we offer a variety of social media training courses from short specialist, platform-focussed courses to longer 1-day overview courses.
These can be delivered onsite in-person or via a virtual classroom. You could be part of one of our classes or we could train your whole team or department.
If you are just starting out and have little or no experience of social media then our Introduction to Social Media is a great starting point. This one day course will teach you all the basics and leave you more confident in using a wide variety of social media in a professional, business context.
Skills taught include:
- Social media overview
- How social media works – pros and cons
- How social media can power up your business
- How to use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest
- How to create quality content
- How to grow your audience
- Introduction to social media advertising
- Social media top tips
- Useful tools and photo libraries
If you’re already quite comfortable with social media generally but want to learn how to turn it into a great marketing tool for your business our Advanced Social Media for Business training course will help.
If you’ve identified a particular platform your business would like to focus on then one of our platform-specific social media training courses could be more appropriate.
For example, our 1-day Facebook Training for Business course, will introduce you to:
- How Facebook works
- How Facebook can power up your business
- How to optimise your Facebook Page
- Best practice use of your Facebook Page
- How to create quality Posts and Stories
- How to grow your Page’s audience
- Introduction to Facebook Advertising
- How to power up your business with Facebook Groups
We even have a course specially tailored for those working in the charity sector: Social Media Training for Charities.
If you have specific requirements for your business – around particular platforms or anything else – get in touch if you’d like to discuss your social media training needs.
Our courses are suitable for complete beginners up to more experienced social media users.
Whatever your experience, NILC courses will help you to take your social media knowledge to the next level.
Where can I learn how to use social media for business?
If you really don’t know where to begin with social media there are lots of online resources which can help you to start thinking about how you can make the most of these platforms.
A useful starting point is to familiarise yourself with each platform’s offering. They all have learning resources to help you get going.
YouTube is another good resource for bitesize training videos to get you started.
On the NILC YouTube channel we have a whole range of short how-to videos for using LinkedIn.
The importance of social media for small businesses
Like it or not, social media is a huge part of people’s lives and as a result it offers enormous possibilities for marketing what your small business has to offer.
Conversations about and around your small business are already happening on social media. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not an option.
Learning how to use social media for your small business means that you can get involved in those conversations and take control of the messaging.
The huge number of different platforms, the question of image vs. text vs. video, plus the tone and demographic of each platform can make social media seem intimidating and difficult to use – but it needn’t be this way.
A good social media training course can quickly equip you with the skills to create an effective social media strategy that allows you to engage with your customers (and target customers) and boost brand awareness.
It might seem impossible for a small business to compete with big brands on social media but with good training you can identify the best platforms for your business, target your ideal customers and ensure any investment in social media has worthwhile returns.
Social media can be a powerful tool for small businesses, and learning how to use it effectively can really help you build your business even further.
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