“Social media doesn’t work for my business,” “Social Media is a waste of time,” or “My target market is not on social media.” I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard these things repeated over and over.
Although some people seem to think that the idea behind social media is “build it and they will come,” that’s not always the case. It’s my belief that social media doesn’t necessarily work well just on its own, but rather, it should always be part of the bigger picture and a component of your overall marketing strategy.
You should ask yourselves some questions as you begin to create your strategy: What are you trying to achieve? What are your goals? How does this fit in your business plan? How well do you know your target market?
Social media marketing is a long term strategy for a business — it can take a lot longer than six months to see results. It starts with a strong marketing strategy and a good website. Also you may need to use different elements of the marketing mix for different market segments.
Here are my tips that might help you see the bigger picture when it comes to social media:
1) Websites cost money. Invest in a good one.
As the old adage says, sometimes it takes money to make money. Imagine that your audience are fish in the ocean, and your website is the boat. Social media channels are the lures meant to “reel” people in — you should make them good, because there’s a lot of competition. Through social media, you are communicating and engaging with customers.
Your website should be designed in a way where once people land on it, they are able to find what they are looking for easily, and most importantly if you do ecommerce, have a place where you can do lead generation (capture their information). Some ways to engage customers could be through an e-book download, and a newsletter or free webinar sign-up.
2) Keep a blog.
Moreover, you can use your blog to improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Use keywords that will make your website more search-engine friendly.
3) Be consistent.
It’s frequent to see small businesses that set up their social channels and are active for a few weeks, before either forgetting about it or do a poor job keeping up. You have to dedicate time to social media. It’s a medium where success does not happen over night or in a couple of months. Give it at least 6-12 months before making a decision.
Starting a social media page but not managing it well will look poorly on your business. Tweeting only a few times a month or updating your Facebook every other week won’t help you grow. People will forget you are there, and remember, you are competing with other business trying to get the attention of the same audience — be sure to keep your content fresh and consistent.
4) Integrate your efforts.
5) Listen to your audience.Think bigger picture and integrate your social media into your everyday and traditional marketing efforts. For example, when making sure your customer
base knows you are on social media, put it on everything you own — from business cards, to your website, to your email signature, as well as brochures, pens, etc.
As a small business owner, its difficult to be everywhere at the same time. But, be sure to be where your customers are. Do they spend more time on Twitter or LinkedIn? Spend time networking on those channels or by answering questions or participating in Tweet chats or LinkedIn groups.
6) Share content that matters or is useful.
Don’t talk at your audience — rather, position yourself as a resource in your space. The content you post should be relevant to you industry and to your consumers, and add value to the work you do.
Questions? Let us know in the comments! (See what I did there?)