This is a guest post courtesy of Ken on social media marketing for your business.
Social media is one of the primary ways I market my own small biz and it’s how I got started originally.
My first handful of clients came from forums, and then the rest trickled in from Twitter.
Eventually I set up my blog and then Twitter and Facebook became my way to cross promote my blog and my services.
Are there other social platforms you can use? Sure. But we’re talking about the two biggies today because… they are the two biggies!
Any thoughts or input, please share in the comments below.
Social media marketing is a cost effective way to promote your small business. Social media platforms have made a mark on our culture and these networks continue to grow by the day.
Exploiting social media for small business promotion is not only an excellent way to raise the visibility of your brand, it also provides customers with the perception that your business is at the forefront in terms of technology.
Popular SM Sites for Small Biz Marketing
The most popular social media platforms for promoting small businesses are Facebook and Twitter.
Other social media networks, such as YouTube and Pinterest, are growing in popularity for brand promotion.
However, the top two are, without a doubt, Facebook and Twitter.
Developing a Social Media Strategy
The first step in utilizing social media to promote a small business is to establish a social media strategy. Determine which social media platforms you intend to use and familiarize yourself with those platforms.
Once you begin using social media to promote your brand, you will need to devote some time each week to monitoring and managing your efforts. After all, social media networks designed for conversation.
To successfully promote your small business on a social media platform, interaction with users is required. Just putting up a page on Facebook generally does little in terms of promoting your brand. You need to engage users with interesting content, responses to their comments and keeping the conversation alive.
Determine how much time you are willing and able to spend per week promoting your business through social media. If your company has employees, you may want to task one of your employees with developing and maintaining your business presence across social networks.
Getting Started with Facebook
Most marketers would advise that you start your entrée into social media with a Facebook Business page. Facebook does not charge a fee for a business page.
Once you create a business page on Facebook, you will invite users to become “Fans” of your business. When you post content and updates to your business page, the updates will automatically appear on your Fan’s personal pages.
Facebook Business pages are a simple way to use social media to get your social media marketing campaign started. Use your Facebook Business page to post specials for fans of your business.
Post interesting content about the use of your products or services. However, do not be overly promotional. Blatant promotion tends to have a negative effect because social media users are quickly able to spot such marketing techniques.
Instead, post interesting content that is only tangentially related to your product or service. For example, if you own an HVAC company, post tips about things homeowners should do to regularly maintain their HVAC systems.
To get started on Facebook, first create a business account. Select a business account username that is easy to remember and incorporates your brand. Once you have created your business account, you can then create your business page.
Log into Facebook with your new business account and scroll to the bottom of the page. You will see the link labeled “Advertising.” Click the link to begin the setup process for your business page.
In the advertising section, click the radio button next to the “Brand, Product or Organization” option. To take advantage of localization, you can select the “Local” option and then use the dropdown box to select the type of business you have.
The advantage of selecting the “Local” option is that your page will be localized for users who are near you in proximity. If you have a business (such as a HVAC company) that relies heavily on local customers, use the “Local” option.
Next, type the name of your company or brand into the “Name” input box. Check the checkbox to indicate that you are authorized to create the business page and then type your full name into the “Electronic Signature” box. Click the “Create Page” button and your new business page will be generated.
Finally, you need to promote your page. The first step in promoting your new business page is to choose your business contacts from your existing contacts lists. Facebook allows you to import contacts from a variety of sources, including GMail and Yahoo! Mail.
Invite your contacts to visit your Facebook Business page and to become a fan of the business. You may want to include an incentive for visiting and becoming a fan.
Promoting your page is an ongoing effort. Be sure to add a Facebook button to your website and ask visitors to become a fan of your page.
Engage users who visit your page by asking for feedback, such as “How can we improve our service?” or “What products would you like to see introduced through our brand?” Continue to invite contacts from your contacts lists to become a fan of your page.
Update your Facebook Business page with new content, promotions, specials and giveaways at least once per week. Keep content fresh and new. Users will tend to check back regularly if they find useful, new content regularly posted.
Post content that is fun as well as informative. Remember, products that have promoted their brand using funny videos often find that their videos “go viral.” A viral video is a great way to promote a product with very little to no cost to the promoter.
Think about the funny Old Spice viral videos with the theme, “Smell Like a Man, Man.” Old Spice reported that their sales of the cologne doubled when the videos went viral.
Getting Started with Twitter
Twitter is a great way to put the word out about a new product or a promotion. Twitter allows users to post “tweets” in real time.
These tweets are visible to followers of the poster. Many times, interesting tweets are “retweeted” by users who find the tweets helpful or interesting.
To get started, create a Twitter account for your business. Open the Twitter website in a browser and create a business account with a descriptive username. Next, as with Facebook, invite your contacts to “follow” you on Twitter.
However, don’t stop there. Use the Twitter site to find other users and follow them. One way to attract followers for your Twitter account is to follow them first. Learn how to use hashtags (#) to mark your tweets as relevant to particular topics.
Many resources are available to show you how to get the most out of Twitter.
Add a Twitter button on your business website and ask users to follow you on Twitter, too. Announce specials, sales and promotions using Twitter. Cross-promote products and services on Facebook to flesh out your social media marketing campaign.
Social media marketing is a cost effective way to attract customers and help them see your business as current and relevant. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even explore other social media marketing techniques using platforms such as Pinterest, too!
Booya. OK so that’s the end of this post. Over to you. So you market using social media? Does it work for you? And if you found this post useful, I’d love it if you’d share it with someone. Later biz monkey!