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A Professional Social Media Road Map for Small Business Marketing
Every small business needs to have an online marketing strategy that supports their offline presence. Here is a simple social media strategy that every small business can use to help grow their business.
- Social media presence – If you haven’t already done so, take some time and properly implement a social media strategy for your company. If you’re not talking about your company online, through social media, chances are someone else is. Make sure you control the story. There are many tools to help you monitor what people are saying about you or your company You can monitor what people are saying about your company’s brand, services and products by subscribing to free online monitoring services hootsuite, Google Alerts and Toilert. These same services are a great way to stay informed about your competition. All of these services allow you to target your results by keywords, company names, or general terms that help define your query. So once you realize that people are talking about your company or your competition, you’ll want to participate in the conversation so you can help steer the conversation in the right direction. The following social media platforms are essential for every small business owner to participate in.
Twitter: Twitter can be your company’s greatest online marketing tool and it’s free! Check out this video clip TechCrunch which interviews UCF’s Dana White. Take a look at this data graphic by Kissmetrics. More than 1 billion tweets are posted every week. As a small business owner, you have a particular expertise in a particular area. It’s important for you to create a Twitter account and talk about things that can help other people You can and do write about topics related to the services and products your company offers Always write with a flair for giving advice freely. Also, ask your customers to follow you on Twitter. Use the platform as a way to communicate special offers and deals related to your business. Starbucks has a great social media success story that every small business can benefit from. The Next Web did a recent story on their social media strategy here. The great thing about Twitter is that people will find you and follow you if you have something to say. This allows you to follow what people are saying. Go to Twitter and sign up for a free account. They recently launched Brand Pages which are like Facebook Pages for businesses. It allows you to set up a brand page for your business. Don’t worry about “writer’s block”. The great thing about Twitter is that you can retweet other people’s tweets. Make sure you follow people who have similar services and products and don’t be afraid to share or retweet their stories. Follow these Twitter steps:
- Sign up – save your name before someone else does.
- Upload your logo: Spend a few dollars and hire a graphic design company to make your Twitter page really pop. I personally recommend Gamby Studio.
- Link your Twitter account to your website, business cards and brochures.
- Follow industry leaders who share your interests.
- Tweet: Be sure to tweet or retweet relevant information.
- Load a Twitter application on your cell phone. I recommend Tweetcaster or Hootsuite.
- Check out TwitHawk: A great way to tweet directly to people talking about your industry, service or product….in real time! It’s like Google AdWords but for Twitter. This is a great advertising platform that allows you to send direct messages to people who need or talk about your product.
- Check out the 48ers too. Free service that allows you to send direct messages to people (in real time). Set up keywords to track and let the app do the rest. It will show you real time results on both Facebook and Twitter. Great way to market your company in real time but make sure you have time to manage it properly.
LinkedIn: According to several leading social media sites, LinkedIn is becoming the most popular “sharing” button on both business and personal websites. With over 100 million users, I rank LinkedIn as the second best social media marketing tool for small businesses. (Yes, better than Facebook). A properly set profile allows users to opt-in for business venture requests from other users. If your company is a b2b service then LinkedIn is the place. This is not a viral marketing strategy. Most people are professional decision makers that can be targeted based on their set profile. My suggestion would be to pay for a premium service plan. Check out the ad platform and run a few targeted campaigns.
Facebook: The 10,000 Pound Gorilla is my 3rd pick for Social Media Marketing. Other than StumbleUpon and Reddit, no site gets more page views on a daily basis. By now, if you’re reading this, you already have a Facebook account. Now take the next step and create your brand page. Every business is slowly but surely building a Facebook page and you should too. Once your page is up and running visit the Wildfire Promotions Builder for contests, coupons, group deals and sweepstakes. This is a great way to have your own personal Groupon. Wildfire also has great tools for brand page design.
Google+: Google+ pages are just starting to generate some buzz Not fully released to the public but soon every business will be able to create their own page for their business. Here’s what you need to know:
- Start early: Don’t wait. Although not as popular as Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages will be very beneficial for your business in the long run.
- Call to Action for Customers: Make sure you keep your audience updated on the products and services they are interested in and invite them to “hangout” to join one of your “circles”.
- Don’t get confused: Unlike Facebook, Google+ lets you create multiple pages for your brand and products Just be careful not to. Simple is better.
- Website +1 button: Make sure your website has one so people can share your website with other Google+ friends Google measures your website’s relevance by a number of factors including how many people currently use the Google+ button on your website.
- Use a Google+ URL shortener: The URL that Google gives you for the brand page is too long and not good for marketing. Several companies offer a service where they can assign better and shorter strings to your Google+ URL.
- It’s not FACEBOOK: Google+ users are a little different from other social media users. The platform attracts a lot of tech-savvy users. Make sure your comments and content are relevant to your business and don’t devolve into blathering diatribes.
Note: Facebook will release a new “Coupons” app currently in beta Offering coupon deals like Groupon for businesses should be a great way to get started but much more effective and much cheaper.
Company Blog: I personally advise Tumblr It’s a free service with great templates to choose from Articles posted on Tumblr can be automatically sent to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Blogs have high relevance to search engines and can be a huge boost to search engine optimization for your website. Make sure your articles are well written and unique in content. Do not steal or scrape information from other sources. (Search engines like Google quickly realize that your information is stolen. If they find it, they won’t index your site.) Take the time to write good content or hire a company to do it for you. There are many services that offer copywriting for a fee. Feel free to have a blog or many blogs but just make sure you update on a constant basis and become an expert in your field. Make your content so good that people will want to share your information with other friends and people.
YouTube: Create your own YouTube channel. Try to create something unique. If people like your video, they share it with potentially hundreds or thousands of people, and pretty soon you have a viral campaign. YouTube now has a video advertising platform. Online media marketing is big business. Spend some money and create a company video that explains your business and services It’s a great way for people to learn more about you without having to read boring text on a website
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