Are you a small business owner looking for a way to grow your business? Are you looking to attract more leads to your business, or have heard about social media marketing, and now want to try it?
As a small business owner, you face many challenges: limited capital, minimal support staff, and having too much to do in what seems like very little time. So, how do you grow your small business without heavy investment in marketing and advertising? Easy: through the use of technology.
Social media is one such tool. Here's all you need to know as a small business owner to begin increasing revenues using social media.
Social media marketing is using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus, and MySpace to reach a new audience of consumers and create product brand awareness. By spreading word of a product from user to user, social media marketing strives to gain greater legitimacy for a message because it is shared between trusted "friends."
Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media channels, followed closely by YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. These platforms offer a large bundle of benefits to small business owners.
The goal of social media marketing is to get noticed and provide value. For that to happen, it’s important to set an efficient social media game plan. The social media game plan is a process that involves a few simple steps that can help you achieve your social media marketing objectives.
Social media will allow you to:
1. Share with your customers and prospects anything new about your company. Give them valuable information and they'll share it with their friends and family, leading to instant referrals!
2. Build stronger relationships with your customers. The easiest way to lose a customer is to not speak with them. Build a relationship with them and start that communication!
3. Share a viral message or promotion that will encourage your followers to forward it to a friend. Like a funny video of your surface, coupon only for follower's friends, contest, giveaway, and many other possibilities.
4. Build a strong brand in your local community with a consistent message.
Business owners should consider creating a Facebook account, Twitter and LinkedIn. It's simple to tie the sites together to have your posts on Facebook also tweeted. If you have a video of your business, upload it to YouTube. Video is powerful and shows well in search results as many business owners aren't using this feature yet. Buy a flip camera and you'll be amazed how simple it is.
Lastly, create a blog to inform the community about information related to your business. Make sure that each of these are linked back to your business website. Then, start tweeting, posting, and sharing information. Here are some best practices:
1. Participate in questions and discussions. Don't information dump or consistently promote your service, as it will possibly diminish your credibility.
2. Make time to participate during your workweek. If you're not active, it won't be successful and remember to be relevant to your brand or service.
3. Stay true to your identity. Don't be fake or falsify information about your service.
4. Lastly, have fun and build relationships.
The social media arena is large and you can get lost in it if you don't play by the rules. There's a lot of competition and you need a clear plan if you want to stand out in the crowd and get noticed. Nowadays, there are many specialized online marketing agencies - like Rebel Corp, a Miami SEO consultant – that can help set up your marketing campaign. Be careful, though, because many are scams. To make sure they are doing the right job, it's good to be informed about what’s necessary to have a successful social media campaign.
Your social media game plan should include these four steps:
1. Building of a network
The first step is to search for and add those users to your network whom you think fall into your target audience segment. When placing a request to add users to your network, it is always better to accompany such requests with a personalized message. You can also look for and join groups that pertain to your line of business.
The goal is not to sell the products, but to 'engage' and provide information your audience will find useful. Given that people love to watch informative videos, you can create videos and post them on YouTube to reach a greater market.
2. Propagation of online presence
The next step is to announce your social media presence. You can do this by adding links to your social media pages on your website, e-mail signature line, or newsletter, if you have one. You are out there with your business, so announce it!
Having social media profiles for your business greatly helps with SEO. At the surface, each social media platform will have a link pointed to your website and, as written in a prior post on SEO, links are the most important SEO factor.
Another way to propagate your online presence is by adding pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, excellent for small and medium businesses. It is a great tool because it helps small businesses, that don’t have a big budget, to start a marketing campaign. PPC is a marketing strategy where you pay a fee each time one of your ads is clicked. Hiring a PPC consultant if your budget allows it is useful because it’s very important to choose the right keywords that will appear in the ad. The PPC consultant can make sure you are using the ones searched by your target.
3. Stay connected and updated
The third step is to stay connected with your fans and group members. Social media marketing initiative is easy to start, but requires effort to maintain. And like many networking efforts, results are usually not immediate.
Be consistent in your online participation: It is not a one-time effort. It is about building a relationship. And, relationships take time. Be consistent in your social media communication. Have an interesting tweet/post/update at least every day. IMPORTANT: Make sure to not overpost. Posting 10 posts a day can annoy your audience and prompt them to stop following.
Monitor your campaign, learn about which posts connected with your audience, and at what time you got more traffic, likes, and comments. Find out where your name's coming up online and in what context it has been used. A Google alert is the simplest way to do this, though there are many free tools available online to monitor your web presence. Also, stay in-control of your social media pages. Read what others are putting up on your page and respond promptly.
Jason Mayoral has been actively involved in SEO and Internet marketing since 1999. Jason's knowledge and experience have made him one of the most respected and referenced SEO's in the industry and his passion for innovation and growth has led his company, rebelCorp.us, to become one of the world's leading online marketing firms.