By now you’ve probably figured out the importance of social media to the success of your business. How to leverage social media and be successful at it? That you may not have figured out yet. On their quest for knowledge about social media, many of the people I’ve talked to have discovered that the information stream is endless and not always relevant to small businesses. The learning curve seems steep and they find themselves sinking more and more time into just figuring it all out.
I’m here to tell you that there is hope! In fact, you probably already have what it takes to launch an effective social media campaign for your business – you just may not know it yet. Below are the top 5 things you need know and do in order to develop the social media campaign for your small business.
Know Your Target Audience
Marketing 101 teaches you that in any good marketing strategy, you must first know who your target audience is. The same is true with Social Media. You must know who you are talking to before you can craft a message that will get their attention.
Create a Simple Content Strategy: Stick To What You Know
You can probably Google this topic and find thousands of articles on how to create the perfect content strategy, and you will no doubt find countless pieces of useful information. However, most small businesses don’t have that kind of time to waste. Here’s the short and sweet version: Stick to what you know. If you’re a lawn maintenance company, no one really cares about your favorite brand of cookies. However, they DO care about your favorite brand of weed killer. Why? Because you’re the expert! At least, that’s what you’re hoping to establish through your content strategy.
The saddest thing I often find with small businesses is that they have attempted to start a social media presence but abandoned it soon after. Nothing hurts your business more in social media than an abandoned Facebook page, Twitter account, blog, etc. Your small business should post frequently in order to stay at the forefront of your followers minds. Here are a few tricks to prevent your social media accounts from being abandoned:
- Schedule time into your week to focus on gathering content, creating content, responding to followers, and posting. How much time is up to you, but make sure it’s reasonable in relation to all of your other responsibilities. And of course, as a small business owner you are already an expert at delegating, so get someone else to help you! Just keep in mind that this is your company’s voice to your customers, so you may not want to pass off the responsibility to your teenage niece, no matter how many hours she spends on Facebook daily.
- Have a brainstorming session about what type of content you will post. Remember, you want to provide valuable content to your followers and engage them in conversation. Quotes, questions, links to news stories related to your subject, product reviews, etc. Keep this list close by so you can reference it during the time you scheduled to focus on social media. Already knowing what type of content you are going to post will speed up the process.
- Schedule your posts through a free post scheduling site. My favorite is TweetDeck. You can load up all of your content for the week, then schedule exactly what day and time you would like it to be posted.
One more note on posting frequently: If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t say it. Someone can follow you with one click, and can also unfollow you with one click. No one likes people who talk just to hear their own voice – be aware of this when you are posting and find good, quality content to share.
Interact With Your Followers
Believe it or not, social media is about relationships, and was not created so that you can market your product. CRAZY, I know. This means that the most valuable social media skill to have is the skill of building relationships. If you don’t know how to build relationships and instead make social media all about yourself, you are guaranteed to fail. The good thing is that this isn’t a difficult thing to do. All you need to do is pay attention to who is communicating with you on social media. Who is RT your content on Twitter, who is commenting on your Facebook posts. Say thank you, answer their questions, ask them questions, invite them to special events, ask them to share your content. So you don’t have anyone following you yet? Send an email blast to your existing clients notifying them of your social media presence. Or, actively search for people who are talking about your topic on social media and join in their conversation. Bottom line is that social media is all about building solid relationships with your followers and turning them into lifelong customers. It may take effort and time, but great relationships are worth it.
what do you think: Has your business succeeded in social media using one of these techniques? Do you have another important tip that should be on this list? Share your stories and suggestions in the comment sections below.