Small businesses can no longer afford to ignore social media marketing. Social media marketing for small business provides an interactive setting where customers feel like they are in direct communication with a business. Developing a social media strategy is an efficient marketing tool that helps level the advertising playing field between large and small companies.
Although it doesn’t level it completely, it does help the small businesses get in there and compete with larger companies. The best way to capitalize on this new online playing field is through intelligent digital strategies –social media marketing being one of them.
Small businesses need to understand that social media is about developing a conversation with customers and need to develop a communication strategy based on those four basic rules:
1.Have a plan
2. Consider your target audience and listen to your customers
3. Keep messages consistent on each social media platform
4. Don’t waste your audience’s time with poor, uninteresting content
Before engaging in social media activity, it is important to come up with several clear business goals and then design a social media plan to help achieve them. Some goals could include raising brand awareness, increasing traffic to your website, providing better customer support or generating more sales leads. Regardless of the goals, it is important to prioritize when, where and how to spend resources on your efforts.
While Facebook remains the largest player in the social media arena with more than 500 million users, the market is shared by a variety of other sites, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Pinterest and others. Knowing when and how to use each platform is essential.
This social platform is considered the professional social network. Having a LinkedIn company profile is a great way to show industry authority. There are also several LinkedIn groups centered on specific industries and services where you can join conversations and contribute expertise, ask questions, and in some cases promote products and services.
According to findings released by Penn State University in 2012, 20% of all tweets on Twitter contain requests or responses to requests for product information. After creating a Twitter account, start following a handful of accounts to create a customized stream of information in your feed. Reply to questions from your clients, ask your own, and post links to informative content.
Depending on what kind of business you own, this platform can be a valuable tool. People enjoy visuals and short informative videos explaining how to use a product or service you offer.
Facebook: This platform remains the world’s largest social network, with around 500 million members. Don’t be afraid to step away from your traditional corporate image and promote a more real and approachable you. Promote conversations and build trust along the way.
This platform is similar to Facebook but has more tech savvy options such as hangouts, which is an integrated video conferencing feature. With Google’s ownership of the world’s most prominent search engine, it makes sense to create a Google+ page for your business. Many features of Google+ are integrated into search engine rankings, such as reviews.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Some companies think it’s all about them. You can’t make your social media strategy all about self-promotion. It should be about 90 percent giving and 10 percent getting back. If 90 percent is giving to others, you’ve earned the right for 10 percent to be about selling.
Small businesses are realizing they don’t have the time or resources to manage their social media platforms full time. Even if they do have the time, they’re not sure where to begin. They need someone to help them come in and create a game plan.
BlueHat Marketing is a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for small businesses including social media marketing, content creation, campaign management and direct mail marketing. They can help you set-up your platforms and populate them with relevant and interesting content in order to strengthen community interest and awareness in your small business.