Many companies are social media savvy, but social media marketing is still relatively new and unknown — and sufficiently time-consuming — that some small business owners are a bit slower to embrace it.
As more businesses engage social media, and as more customers come to expect it, social media marketing is becoming less and less negotiable. In other words, many of those small business owners who have not yet embraced social media are starting to show an interest, or at the very least an acknowledgement that if they want to be present where their customers are, they need to get social.
1. Set goals
For small business owners interested in social media marketing, it is important to be strategic — and strategy begins with goals. Before setting up a social media presence, think about what exactly you’re trying to accomplish.
It is difficult to directly correlate social media activity to dollars and cents of revenue, but you certainly can correlate social media marketing with stronger customer loyalty, more online visibility, and even lead generation. If you’ve taken an interest in social media marketing, stop to ask yourself why.
2. The right platform
Strategic social media marketing also means selecting the right platforms. When you first start out, you’re probably not going to have the time or resources to build a presence on every single social media platform. You need to pick the ones that make the most sense for your business whether that’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
3. Engagement is key
Social media marketing differs from traditional advertising in that that you’re not really seeking to promote yourself in an obvious way. People don’t like to be advertised to on social media; they like to be engaged. Make sure you’re using social media to provide useful, helpful, and interesting information, not just one self-promotion after another.
4. Consistency is key
Also important to remember: Consistency is imperative for effective social media marketing. Remember that social media sites are fast-paced and action-packed — and if you allow weeks or months to go by without posting, you may as well not be on social media at all.
5. Listen up
You also need to remember that social media marketing isn’t just about talking at your customers — it’s about creating a conversation with them. This means listening to what they have to say about your brand, and perhaps even asking direct questions to gain some product feedback. It also means taking the time to respond to user questions, comments and interactions.
6. Take a different approach
Social media marketing is part art and part science, and while it is certainly smart to read up on some best practices, it is also wise to just try different things to see what works for you.
Try posting videos, surveys, funny pictures, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your crews on the job — whatever makes sense for your company. Track what works and what doesn’t, and refine your approach as you go.
7. Patience above all
Finally, remember that social media marketing is not a recipe for overnight success. It’s something that happens slowly and gradually, and results won’t come for a few weeks or even months. Don’t be discouraged: Just remember that you’re laying the foundation for a more visible and prestigious online brand.
About the Author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland.
Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, Web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.