In today’s multimedia landscape, social media has become the most important tool for connecting content creators (ie, small businesses) to their audiences.  Here are seven ways to improve your small business social media content.

Whether you are an individual looking to establish a personal brand, or a large company looking to forge bonds with your customers, social media is now a must to make it in today’s marketplace. But not everyone, especially busy small business owners, knows how to use social media effectively.

It’s not as simple as posting a few attractive photos and writing a couple of snappy lines. Instead, social media has become a relentless, competitive dog-eat-dog battleground where only the most dynamic content creators survive.

To make sure you end up on top of the pack, here are some tips to get you started.

7 Ways to Improve your Small Business Social Media Content

  1. Know your audience. The most important part of any social media posting is to know your audience. Posts made for young male audiences will be very different than those targeting older female audiences. Use what you know about your audience to make sure that your content is targeted specifically for your audience. After all, if it doesn’t meet their demographic needs and expectations, then the audience will likely tune out your message.
  2. Don’t be fake! Don’t try to imitate a particular audience just because it’s desirable. Audiences can sense authenticity. Own your identity and let the audience see that you are confident in who you are. Some of the most successful brands have compelling social media content because they own their identities. It’s better to be known for keeping it real, than for putting on airs and trying to be something you’re not.
  3. Keep it short. It can be tempting to turn a social media posting into an exhaustive novel, complete with dozens of qualifiers and a long list of points. However, the average social media user will spend only a couple of seconds engaging with your content, before moving on to the next shiny thing. Keep your posts short—around 80 words or so for most platforms, and less where character counts are restricted.
  4. Add visuals. Color, graphics, and photos catch the eye better than plain text. When you use a visual, you enhance the quality of your posting and also make it more likely that your target audience will stop and consume your content. However, you need to be sure that you have the rights to any visuals that you post to avoid any copyright claims later on.
  5. Use video. Even though social media is a text-based environment, growing numbers of users prefer to consume their content in video form. Investing in some well-produced videos will help your audience get to know you as a person or a brand. But remember to keep your videos short! Users want to spend no more than a couple of minutes on any one video.
  6. Keep the platform in mind. Every social media platform has its own conventions and its own voice. If you simply cross-post the same content across every social media site without customizing it for each platform, you can lose out on potential audience engagement.
  7. Don’t just promote yourself. Show your audience you care about them by providing interesting content that isn’t just self-promotion. Give them a reason to come back, to consume, and, yes, to see your occasional self-promoting messages.

Social media is a unique environment where major brands and nobodies from the middle of nowhere compete on a nearly equal footing.

To succeed in running small business social media content, it’s important never to imagine that consumers will choose your content just because of who you are. Remember, you need to give them value for their time.