5 Tips to get a Small Business started on Social Media

Why should a small business care about social media?

  • 70% of the U.S. population has, at least, one social networking profile. (Statistica)
  • A January 2015 Shareaholic study of 300,000 websites revealed that 31.24% of all traffic came from social media.
  • 82% of Small businesses that saw a significant increase in revenue say that social media is effective for generating leads. (Hubspot)

Bottom line here: your customers are on social media, it does not cost a lot of money to get started, and with the right strategy you can attract more business.

Start Small, you are investing the most value resource you have, TIME!

Not enough time

Social media takes time and energy. Both of which are valuable  commodities for a small business. Keep things simple and choose one or two platforms to begin your effort. Most small businesses start with Facebook.

 

All your Social Media channels should complement each other.

Your website should be home base. Unlike most social media channels, you own the content on your website. All other channels should funnel traffic to your site where you then convert traffic into sales. Using a blog is an excellent way to establish your company’s voice and share information. It gives you the opportunity to introduce fresh quality content on a regular basis.

Facebook is an attractive first step for a small business, but it is not the easiest place to organically attract an audience. With all the recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm, you need to reach your ideal demographic by using the Facebook Ads Manager.

What does success look like? How the heck do I measure it?

Many small businesses claim success with every new follower or like the receive. Make sure you are NOT one of them! Make sure you are focusing on what adds value to the bottom line. Social Media Examiner’s seventh annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, stated,

Analytics and Graph“Despite the fact that 92% of small businesses agree that social media is important for their business AND that the majority use Facebook for their social media marketing, most also report that they don’t know whether their Facebook outreach is “working.”

The first step is to establish your business goals then determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) that support those goals. I would suggest focusing on engagement and/or conversion over brand awareness. The post, “All of the Social Media Metrics that Matter” by marketing guru Kristi Hines is an excellent reference.

Start building an email list. It may not be the sexiest thing to do, but a quality list is as good as gold.

Social media fans come and go, but your email list is full of potential leads who have already told you they are interested in something you have to offer. What could be better than that?

Don’t not run your email list through Outlook or Gmail. You will get yourself in trouble. Instead, you will want to choose an Email Service Provider (ESP) like MailChimp, Aweber  Constant Contact, or just Google “email service providers.” They offer the tools and metrics to make your email marketing a lead converting success.

Email MarketingTo get people to give up their email addresses, you’ll need to trade them something of value. Typical options include discounts, white papers, exclusive content, e-book, guide. Be creative just remember it is an exchange of value for both parties.

To stay within anti-spam laws, you will need to have a “double opt-in” process. A double opt-in means that your potential sign up must go to their inbox and confirm their desire to subscribe. One of the reasons for going with an email service provider is that they can manage this process for you. For more on the anti-spam laws here is a link to Federal Trade Commission Compliance Guide for Business.

Finally, take advantage of offline opportunities like in-store sign-up form or at events. Use a tablet to allow attendees to join your email list.

What to share? Quality Content is King.

Quality Content is KingIt must be about your audience, solve a problem, be entertaining (have fun),  or share knowledge. It is essential that you define your unique selling points which make your business stand out in a crowd – blogs posts, white papers, tips, or quick “how to” videos (hello, YouTube).  Then amplify them via other social media, remember # 2 above. Feel free to share content from others, if it is relevant to your fans. Also, don’t forget to ask people to share!

Another option for content is to focus on telling a story. Let your audience relate to the experience. You can showcase employees, community activities, or customers. Take advantage of the opportunity to be visual.  This will help you stand-out in the ever changing feeds of social media

Lastly, look at what your competitors are sharing (how to guides, videos, photos, etc.) If people are engaging, write a similar post and put your own twist on it.

Final Thoughts

I would recommend starting small, commit the time (3-7 hours per week), and don’t forget to measure to ensure you are improving over time. Your marketing strategy should evolve over time. Just stick to the age old principle of try, measure, and improve.  Have fun with it!

If you are interested in consulting services, send me a request. I look forward to working with you to establish or enhance a digital marketing strategy for your small business.

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