Thinking about how to utilise social media in your business? The definition of social media for the purpose of this blog ‘anywhere your customer can engage online with you or the marketplace’
Follow Your Market – do your customers use a particular social platform over others, are there platforms specifically aimed at your business sector or that operate within your market sector. As a small business you need choose your route to market carefully as your time is limited
Be Committed but Not Addicted – build your social media strategy into your day to day schedule, but don’t let it detract from your core business activities! Ensure any staff you choose to join your social media campaigns have the right attitude about your business and provide them with training and usage policies to help them manage their responsibilities and character online
Set up a Content Building Strategy – start building your content and identify sources of content prior to starting your public social media campaigns. What are your plans for the next 12 months, how does it fit with your current marketing mix – trends, events, promotions, new products, news… aim to provide your market with something unique, for examples promotions only available to your facebook fans’ as a thank you for their loyalty, don’t gloat or get into ‘smug mode’ online or simply promote direct sales. Small businesses often struggle to keep on top of marketing given their employees often diverse responsiblities, think smart and utilise materials on multiple levels.
Get Others to Do the Talking for You – engage with your existing customers and use their feedback to promote your business. If negative feedback appears use it to show your excellent customer service, most customers will happily ‘tweet’ how great your response was after their initial negative rant. Everybody makes mistakes, its how you respond that can turn this negative into a positive engagement for your business. Again if your customers are doing the talking your business can get on with core activities, its a great technique to add customers to the marketing dept of your small business
Set Realistic Performance Indicators – set targets, set objectives and monitor and review them regularly against your market place and competitors. Don’t over commit yourself and listen to the marketplace to identify your best opportunities and potential risks. Your aim may be to increase repeat business, improve brand awareness or reach a new market, how are your going to measure your success.
Optimise your Social Content – ensure you use your ‘key phrases’ within your posts to optimise their visibility online, include active keywords like ‘latest’ or your location to encourage niche rankings and remember to include your calls to action by way of links back to your business site, contact details and a facility to enable responses from your audience.
Ideas for Social Networking your small Business
Blog – do you have a chunk of knowledge or a strong view on a particular topic that you would like to share with you customers, suppliers or associated businesses. Set up a blog on your website for improved SEO or link in with a blogging platform like www.wordpress.com or www.blogger.com or some of the niche blogging platforms available, engage with others blogging on the same or similar topics.
Social Networks – www.Facebook.com Fan Page – do you have a liked brand or an ethos within your business that others share, could you use this to engage with your potential and existing markets. B2B’s set up www.linkedin.com Company & Staff Profiles as a point of contact, utilise the Linkedin Groups and discussions to engage with your network. www.twitter.com, www.scribd.com www.myspace.com .. there are hundreds! Use online tools such as www.hootsuite.com to monitor activity
Article Marketing – Press Releases and Editorials the like that you find in your glossy magazines are readily available online, most press businesses now have an online version which often includes content that didn’t make the cut to the printed version, plus there are numerous networks, groups, forums, portals where you can post and share your article.
Sales Platforms and Portals – due to their feedback/review systems these platforms allow customers to provide content against products and services, making them social and a great audience for your small business!! Remember, ‘anywhere your marketplace can engage online’ Many comparison sites offer review facilities, as well as other directory websites and applications
Using Social Media for Small Business promotion