What is the best small business social media strategy? This is a question that I get from tons of business owners and entrepreneurs and for good reason. Most small business owners have no idea what’s going on with social media other than cat wrestling, or Groupon specials. But don’t feel bad if that’s you; social media is actually a really good tool for small business owners once you know how to leverage it. You know, there are tons of books coming on the market every day on Pinterest and Twitter and Instagram and all these different applications out there. But before you get lost in the myriad of different options it’s important to have a core strategy in place that’s going to apply to any new channel or any flashy bright shiny object that comes onto the market. I’m about to reveal 11 awesome super ninja social media strategies for small business owners.
The first one is you have to have a goal in mind, whether that’s to get more opt-ins to get more traffic from social sites to your website to have people download coupons or just to increase your fans or followers for an upcoming product launch or promotion, you have to have a goal with social media. You can’t just start clicking around and thinking you’re going to figure it out on the fly and hope for the best. So start with a goal.
You have to understand your role as a publisher; you need to build an audience. Back when we were kids, when I was a kid, there were three major networks on TV and then there were thousands and thousands and thousands of long-tail cable channels and satellite channels. Now we’re publishers, so when you create content that speaks to the needs of your audience and you push it out there on social sites you have to know the size of that audience and work on increasing it. Facebook followers, plus your email list, plus your Google Plus followers, plus your Twitter followers, etc., equals your audience. So understand your publishers.
Create profiles with a funnel in mind, so when you set up your social media profiles you want to think about the whole online marketing funnel. Reach; do you have the right keywords in your profiles? Are you using the right terms that people are going to type in when they’re looking for services like yours instead of some vanity just business name. Think about that. You also want to engage your audience. Are you using compelling language and giving them a reason? Is your artwork on your profiles interesting? Are you using compelling messaging that speaks to their needs? So that’s the second part of the funnel–engagement. And then conversion; have a call to action on your social media sites. Have a reason for them to take the next step. Give them a download; put an opt-in form on your Facebook page. So think about the whole funnel when you set up those social sites.
The fourth thing you need to do is be consistent with your brand. Use the same icon or avatar or picture of yourself or your business. Yourself is better; it’s more personal, by the way, on all social sites so people will see that. They’re going to see you interacting in conversations and putting your brand out there and sharing content and they’re going to recognize your picture and see you as an expert and authority in your niche. So be consistent.
Go where your audience is; don’t just wait for them to come to your website. Go join groups, answer questions that they’re asking on social media sites, hang out literally, join hangouts. But really go out and join your audience where they are hanging out and social media; LinkedIn groups are awesome, Facebook groups are awesome. Join discussions, ask questions, which brings us to number six.
You need to share relevant valuable content. Don’t just sell and kind of push stuff. You need to share meaningful content, whether it’s from your site or not; answer questions, give, give, give, give value and share valuable content, which is closely tied to number seven.
Don’t sell, don’t push. How many times have you seen these Facebook updates, and unfriended people are trying everything you could to avoid those companies that keep publishing, check out this, check out this, buy this, special this. You know, that’s crazy; just add value and every now and then maybe one of every ten times or less, should you have any kind of promotion in your social media updates. Don’t sell and hammer people on social sites, which brings us to number eight.
Understand frequency; how often should you publish on social sites? For sites like Facebook, or Google Plus, you might want to publish once or twice a day if you’re sharing really valuable content. On Twitter you can do once per hour. Why? Twitter is a stream of information going by and no one’s going to go back and look at yesterday’s Twitter feed, so you can catch people every hour. They’re used to it. But understand frequency; don’t stock people and publish Facebook updates every ten minutes. That’s a bad–that’s a no-no.
Use tools to your advantage. If you’re not using HootSuite you need to go sign up for it right away. You can use HootSuite to sync with all your social sites and syndicate content on a schedule when you’re not even there. Tools for a small business owner are essential because automation is key. You have very limited resources, you need to be smart and you need to be a ninja, or a spinja. You need to use tools to your advantage. Sign up for HootSuite. If you have a Word Press site you can use a tool like Only Wire to automatically syndicate content. So every time you publish a blog post you can push it out to social bookmarking and social media sites. Okay, tools; HootSuite and OnlyWire.
Use paid promotions, but understand in ten. What that means is you can use sponsored stories and sponsored posts and promotions on social websites to get people to follow and join your groups and follow your page. But understand that people aren’t on Facebook to buy annuities. They’re not there to buy insurance; they’re not there to consider how to handle their toe fungus. People are on Facebook to have fun, to blow off steam, and it’s a social casual environment and LinkedIn is more serious. So understand the intent before you just go spending money. But use paid promotions.
Eleven, and the final tip; remember ours goes up to eleven. But what if we made ten the highest, but ours goes up to eleven. The eleventh awesome super ninja social media tip is knowing your social media metrics. When we went, and talked about number one, think about this as the super social media sandwich, right? Have your goals, and number eleven is measure your goals. Well, which social sites actually brought you traffic, and which of that traffic actually converted and became customers? So look at Google analytics at your referring websites, and understand which social sites are bringing those people that are really the right folks in your target audience that are engaging in your content with longer time on site, more page views, more opt-ins, and understand what’s happening from social sites and let your metrics drive you decisions.
What’s your social media strategy? If I missed anything, if you have any questions, feel free to answer in the comments below. Go to GeekFree.net/answers for your best answers to your small business marketing questions. Thanks, and have a good day.
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