Three Social Marketing Avenues For Small Business.
Small businesses are just that – small, with limited resources. When dealing with small business marketing, branding and advertising one needs to be able to maximize overall exposure and consumer impact, at minimal costs.
Social Media provides the tooling and resources to do just that. Social Media has given businesses an unprecedented means to reach the masses with little or no overhead. However it does require careful focused planning. Do not make the mistake of presuming that it is enough to have a Social Media presence. Leveraging it for marketing and brand value requires more than haphazard attempts.
“The thing about Social Media that frustrates marketers to no end is that you can’t buy attention… ….What you’ll do instead if you’re just four people, [is ask] how can we amaze them? That change in posture, that change in attitude is the single biggest shift, that’s going on the Internet right now” – Seth Godin
In this post we will outline three key ways that small business operators can begin to utilize Social Media to broadcast their business and create brand exposure. To keep things fun, we have broken each tip into three categories (Cold, Medium & Warm) based on the steps to take in relation to expertise and technical marketing know-how.
3 Social Media Marketing Tips
As with all Marketing, success is determined by setting clear goals, implementing processes and then measuring results. It is our recommendation that, prior to establishing any of the below efforts, one determines first what their goals are. Only by knowing fully what is being sought, can one measure their success.
If you ask 10 different businesses what their feelings are on Facebook, you will likely get 10 different answers. Many small businesses are adopting Facebook – the problem however, is that few understand WHY.
The fact is that Facebook is a low-cost tool, that when used PROPERLY, can engage consumers, promote brands and drive business.
Social Media is just that – SOCIAL and as such the marketing and branding endeavors on it need to be as well. Facebook is a means of SOCIALLY engaging consumers on the behalf of a brand and recent studies indicate it is doing a great job. This study by Mashable, indicated that around 50% of consumers actually value a brand’s Facebook page MORE than their website.
If that isn’t enough reason to look at Facebook seriously, then consider this:
- Facebook now has over 300 million registered users.
- 87% of people like brands on Facebook.
- Of those people, 82% state that Facebook is a good means of interacting with those brands.
- Of those people, 35% feel that brands listen to them more on Facebook than on a website.
- 75% of people state they feel more connected to a brand via Facebook.
- 69% of people have “Liked” a brand because their friend has.
Let us repeat, “SOCIAL media” is just that – SOCIAL! and as you can see from these recent statistics, Facebook offers brands a large-scale opportunity to engage customers, both current and potential.
Put another way: “Business Success” requires “Branding” which requires “Engagement” which is made possible by “Social Media”.
Cold: Sign up to Facebook and secure a Facebook Page name for your business or brand. Note that you want to create a “Business Page” and not a “User Profile” for your business. Operating a brand or business persona under a personal profile breaches Facebooks Terms and that is a very poor way to start showcasing your brand
Have a look at other brands, including competitors and see what they are doing. Have a look at how many “Likes” they have and view their posts to see how they are engaging customers. For more on Facebook Pages, primarily setting up your profile for success, visit our previous posts:
- Facebook Finesse Part 1 – Profile Cover Images
- Facebook Finesse Part 1 – Tweaking The Little Things
Medium: Succeeding on any Social Media platform is all about socializing and engaging your audience. Post articles that they are interested in, try to include images whenever possible and provide a reason for your targets to tune in.
- Posts must be relevant to your business, brand and industry.
- They should be developed with the specific’s of your target audience in mind.
Warm: When posting as your business page, you are representing your brand as a whole. An understanding of branding, brand philosophy, brand promise and brand image is crucial to achieving long-term and expanded Social Marketing success. Posts need to be specifically built to represent the overall brand image of the business, but also engaging for the specific body of customers that are being targeted.
Side Note: You may also look at the Facebook Ad’s option. It is a paid service and allows you to custom tailor advertising to be displayed only to specific targets based on the information plugged into their individual profiles.
This is one of our personal favorites. It is quick paced, thanks in part to the 140 character limit on posts (tweets), and provides incredible opportunity for exposure. As of July of this year there are 500 million registered profiles with 180 million active users.
Twitter allows brands to freely communicate, either en mass or directly to other twitter users across the globe. The simple “hashtag” (#) system allows one to easily find other industry relevant users and content. It also enables a brand to build in specific search terms related to posts. This in turn adds to a brands ability to promote its association with specific services or ideas.
For a more few selling points on Twitter visit our previous posts:
Cold: We recommend signing up for Twitter asap and establishing a twitter account for your brand or business. Begin dabbling and take a look at the “Discover” tab to get an idea of how hashtags work and how best to connect with users pertaining to your business.
When signing on for a profile, Twitter will prompt you to find five users to follow, based on your interests and background. It then prompts you to find five more. This will give you a good idea as to where to start.
Spend some time searching different terms and users. Familiarize yourself with the type of content and the types of communications being shared. Search various terms related to your industry. Have a look, see who is already out there. Search out potential competitors and do some research. Simply put, wade into the water and get comfortable.
Medium: Once you are comfortable with the tools and how to use them, begin tweeting. Tweets are 140 character posts on Twitter. Keep your tweets relevant to your brand and industry, but ensure they are creative and engaging. You want to position your brand as accessible to the consumer audience, but also as leader on specific subjects or within a specific industry.
Begin connecting with other users. Using the “Discover” tools, find other users, whether brands or individuals, that make sense to connect with. These connections are an excellent way to spread your communications, generate increased exposure and grow your online presence. They are also a good source of other industry related information that you and your brand may profit from.
Warm: Maximizing your presence on Twitter will require more advanced tools. You will need to familiarize yourself with desktop and mobile Twitter clients like TweetDeck, Hootsuite and Twitterfall. These programs provide increased flexibility and control over your overall Twitter strategy.
- They enable pre-defined searches – crucial for monitoring specific keywords and names, including your own.
- They allow pre-scheduling of tweets, which in turn allows your brand to maintain a more consistent presence with far less labour.
- They equip users to better monitor trends, and communications.
- They also allow for more accurate measurement of “impressions” – or users touched by your tweets.
Another useful tool to explore will be Twitters “Lists” resource. Creating “Lists” or groupings of users based on specific will help you to keep tabs on topics and subjects, without the hassle of weeding through thousands of followers.
The primary concern for any and all Social Media Marketing is maintaining consistency to the brand image and promise. As an individual moving forward with a Social Brand development – this is key and must be kept in mind at all times.
Image source: smashingmagazine.com
Despite the ever-changing and advancing world of Social Media, Blogging continue to be play a strong role in brand and business marketing.
1. Blogging is a great way to supply consumers with information, services and resources all centered around your brand.
2. The content and linking can contribute greatly to increased SEO to your website.
3. Hosting a blog on industry related topics positions your brand as a leader.
Cold: Begin hosting a blog under your brand or business name. Several sites provide blog hosting for free including WordPress, Blogger and Blogsome. This sites will also allow you to convert your blog into a full website URL should you choose at a later date to do so.
Many of these sites offer easy to use, step by step instructions to establish a basic blog profile and it should not be too difficult to set up on your own.
Alternatives like Posterous and Tumblr also exist, although may not be the ideal choice for a beginner business related blog.
Our preference has been WordPress, however we also host a profile on Tumblr. At the end of the day each business is best off doing their own homework and determining which profile makes the most sense for them. Remember that hosting on multiple sites quickly diminishes time and resources.
Medium: Many web providers will allow you to transfer the blog hosting right to your own website. In the case of WordPress you can easily transfer it over to your website, thus increasing control over the content and aesthetics.
Stale Blogs are bad.
As you begin to work with the blog, you will want to maintain fresh content and posts. It is wise to post new articles once a week or more. Articles must pertain to your brand or business – remember that they are intended to position you as a leader in your industry. Keep it fresh and keep it relevant.
For more on developing engaging blog content, visit our article on “Blogging Tips”
Familiarize yourself with “tags” and how to use them. These tags will assist consumers in finding you and your blog. Sites like WordPress allow you to punch in desired “tags” and terms before publishing the article. Make use of them.
Warm: You have established a blog and begun maintaining it. Time to up the ante. To increase exposure and develop and audience, one needs to focus on CONTENT. Determine what your blog is intended to do. If it is to position you as a leader on all things “Interior Design”, then create content related to that field. Whatever your brand or business represents, that should be the driving force in your blog content.
Reading other people’s blogs, commenting on them and just generally establishing a presence is also a good way to lead people back to your blog. Get out and explore the Blog-o-sphere and make yourself known.
Make sure you enable your audience to share your content. Include Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Pinterest and all manner of other “share” buttons, to allow your audience to immediately share your content with their colleagues. WordPress and just about every other blogging site has plugins available that can be automatically shown on each of your posts – make sure to equip them.
Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.