Do you tweet to your followers? Like your likers?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about then you probably haven’t entered the (brave, relatively) new world of social media marketing.
While old hands may sound like they’re talking gibberish much of the time, newcomers (or noobs) can find the world of social media an intimidating place.
Social media is here to stay and you could be missing out on a relatively easy, relatively cost-free marketing opportunity for your small business.
Social media can be an absolute boon for small business; it creates and builds brand personality, engages your customers and it’s free!
Through social media you can engage and interact with existing and potential customers; it empowers you with the opportunity to have a conversation with your customers and receive real and genuine feedback (not all of which you will like but it also gives you the opportunity to improve your business).
I know what you’re thinking: how am I supposed to run social media marketing when I’m too busy to run my business?
Believe me it’s quick, and easy, and much of it can be done from your smartphone/tablet.
Are you ready to take the plunge and get on board the horse that’s already bolted? Here we go!
Think about what you’re trying to achieve for your business through social media:
- Is social media right for your business?
- What will your business get out of it?
- What do you want your customers to do as a result of your social media efforts?
If you are comfortable with the answers to these questions and are ready to move on, ask yourself:
- Who are your best customers? [And by “best” I don’t mean favourite, I mean the customers that represent the highest value for your business, spend the most $ in the fewest transactions, are low maintenance and represent the highest profitability? See my previous blog post here.]
- How will you reach these customers?
- Facebook (900M users) – your fans “like” you here.
- Twitter (555M users) – you send “tweets” from Twitter.
- LinkedIn (150M users) – a virtual professional networking.
Social media isn’t just a way to broadcast posts about your latest product, upcoming event or promotion, social media is about being interactive. Start conversations with your audience, ask questions and expect answers.
Take the time to develop a loose content plan (what you’re going to say and when) and then get yourself up and running via a user-friendly social media manager (i.e. HootSuite).
Content, you ask? Links, words and images. They can be your own as well as the work of others. The basic tenet of social media is user engagement. Create and share content that is current, relevant and engaging. Share something worth sharing. Without engagement and interaction social media is well, anti-social.
Keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your area and in your industry. Sharing current and emerging trends, the latest news and key events via other people’s posts are easy ways to proliferate information that makes you look like an expert without having to create content yourself.
Facilitate conversations not only between your company and your customers but amongst your customers. For example, on your Facebook page ask what your customers do with a particular product? What their favourite service is?
Make use of analytics to measure performance, evaluate your efforts and inform future directions. If you notice peaks and troughs, take a look at your activity around that day and which posts really “click” with your audience.
If you’re really new and unfamiliar with the social media landscape I recommend you start with a Facebook page, they’re simple to use and measure plus many of your customers are already on Facebook.
Take a look around at brands you like, see what they’re doing. And, as with all marketing plans, take a look at what your competitors are doing; by no means copy what they’re doing but you need to be aware of what is going on in your industry.
Being the social media junkie I am I could go on and on but I’ve just started with the basics so please just post a comment/question if you have any questions or anything to add.
PS – Don’t forget the value of email! While not always classified as “social media” it is still a great way to engage your market.