As a 20-year old girl, I must confess, I am a part of the anti-social generation.  My phone has taken permanent residence in my left hand, I simply cannot peel my eyes from it.  Social media has taken over my life and it seems that I'm not the only one it's happened to.  Last week, one of our very own cadets was so engrossed in her phone that she missed her train station stop.  We love our social media so much that we will Instagram all the way past the Indooroopilly station and find ourselves over the bridge in Chelmer.

My family has lived where they do for 14 years.  In January, a new café opened up at the end of the street.  We have seen many different restaurants open and close rather quickly in the space, however when this café opened it really caught my eye.  It was a granola bar that knew the power of its appeal.  Now as the cool, trendy, hip girl that I am, I just had to check it out.  And when I say check it out, I mean that I HAD to take a photo of my 'make your own granola' and post it on Instagram so that all my friends could be envious of my new discovery.  And envious they were.  Over the next few weeks I began to see more of my friends posting their photos from the new café with enough filters and hash tags to last a lifetime.

Fast forward a few months to the end of May and it has been announced that the little granola bar has been voted as the Number 1 Breakfast on the Gold Coast by the popular Instagram account, Crave Gold Coast.  This really shocked me.  How could a café that has only been around since the beginning of the year be voted by thousands of people to be the best out of all the cafes on the Gold Coast?  Intrigued, I looked at their Instagram page to find that they had nearly 500 followers, 400 posts tagged at their location and a 5 star rating on their Facebook page.  That is what is known as reach.  Reach is how many people see your social media posts.

This really got me thinking about how social media is a very powerful tool for small businesses.  Instagram and Facebook transformed that granola bar from being virtually unknown to The Place to get your breakfast on the Gold Coast.  It gives a lot of lead generation, at little cost to the business.  Social media allows businesses to get their name and brand recognised without needing to constantly revamp or upgrade their websites. 

I've collated a few social media tips for how to effectively use social media for small businesses:

  1. Define your goals – this will most likely be to create brand awareness
  2. Define your audience – this will help you to figure out which social media platforms are best for you and the type of content you'll share
  3. Research your platforms – for example Zomato (previously known as UrbanSpoon) and Instagram are great for restaurants and cafes but will have limited application for a plumber, who may find benefits in Facebook
  4. Track your numbers – we keep track of our Facebook page likes, post reach and engagement month to month to see if we are achieving our goals
  5. Revaluate your goals – social media is constantly changing so you need to make sure that you are also changing your goals

It might be time for your business to revaluate your social media goals and perhaps start experimenting with different content on new platforms!