General

Social Media Strategy for Small Businesses

Many small business owners are getting more and more into social media.  Social media has a tremendous impact on today’s marketing evolution.  With the fundamental shift in the way we communicate these days it’s no wonder that companies want to be a part of this new conversation.  Social media gives you a perfect opportunity to successfully market your business without spending millions of dollars!  It’s a great way to build a community and gain recognition from your customers.  While big corporations are trying to humanize their companies and show people behind their brand, most small business owners are already demonstrating their personality in day to day communication with their clients.  Why not expand this humanized personal interaction with your clients through the vast and reaching world of social media?

Struggling with where to begin?  Here is a quick start guide for small business owners on how to begin using social media.

1. Create a Team

  • Who is most creative and internet savvy in your company?
  • Who do you trust to be a voice of your company?

The first step is determining who the right people are in your company to manage your social media and represent your brand.  Depending on how small your company is, you may be your team.  Do not let this deter you.  Social media can be a fun and efficient way to stay connected to your business and your customers.

2. Analyze Your Current Position

  • What is the current traffic to your website?
  • Are there any online conversations regarding your business?
  • Do you have a lot of positive comments from your customers that you want to share with everybody?

Starting with an observation is the best way to create a strong social media strategy for your company based on a complete understanding of your current position on the Internet.  Remember, social media not only helps you increase interaction with your clients online but also boosts more traffic to your website.

3. Establish Clear Goals

  • Do you want to improve your visibility and company image online?
  • Are you trying to generate new leads and drive sales through social media platforms?
  • Do you plan on using social media as a new way to deliver customer support?

I know it’s so obvious but a lot of companies still tend to begin their online activity without setting any goals up front.   Make sure you define your company’s goals and expectations as specific as possible, attainable and measurable.

4. Identify Your Audience

  • Whose attention are you trying to draw?
  • Is your audience active online?
  • If yes, what social media channels do they leverage?
  • If not, how can you engage them to want to participate in your conversation?

These are the questions you need to be asking yourself when defining your audience.  If you are unsure of how or if your audience is currently interacting online, spend some time doing research.  Researching your competition or similar business models to yours online and seeing how they already participate in social media can give you an idea of what is working to draw your audience type online.  Understanding what your competition is doing also gives you the opportunity to improve upon their ideas and stay a step ahead of them.

5. Choose Social Media Tools

  • Is LinkedIn the most relevant platform for your business?
  • Would it be helpful for your customers to watch a video on YouTube on how to use your product?
  • Could a blog post presenting you as an expert in your field help build credibility with your customer base?

Instead of jumping on all social media platforms at the same time, take your time and find the online presence that would work the best for your company.  Once you decide on the social media tool that you want to begin with, consolidate your attention there and nurture it before moving on.

6. Start Implementation

  • What are you going to do with all of this new information?
  • How are you going to put all of this research into action?
  • Is it possible for you to manage these new tools with such a small team?

Now that you have gathered the troops, done your homework, set your goals, aimed your sites and chose your tools, it is time to move full steam ahead.  By this stage you have done your due diligence, don’t be afraid to dive in and begin to interact online.  The personal, relaxed and communicative atmosphere of social media is likely to become one of your more enjoyable marketing tasks.

7. Measure, Measure, Measure….and Adjust

  • Are you gaining your fans and follower really slow?
  • Who are those people that are interested in your business?
  • What is your conversion rate?
  • How many people have watched your video and then went to your website?
  • Do you use any analytic tools to determine your results?

It’s always a good idea to know where you are at in the beginning of you social media campaign so you have a starting point for your future measurements.  Keep track of website visitors, followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and try to find out who actually turned into customers and brought value to your business.  As with any dynamic environment, social media is constantly changing.  In order to keep your business up to date, it is important to adjust your tactics based on the results of your measurements.  Social media gives you a playground to experiment, adapt and constantly enhance the interaction between your brand and your clients.

What strategy do you find successful for your business?  Share it with us!

Mariya Newman

Follow me on Twitter (@MariyaNewman) and add me on LinkedIn!

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