Social media now seems to be the buzz-word of any small business and as a marketing tool it certainly has a role to play along side its more traditional forms of communication to your target audience such as email marketing, advertising or PR.
I can understand the appeal but the time cost that it takes to make it successful should not be under-estimated. So where do you start and use social media as a marketing tool for small business effectively? At the beginning. Once you have completed your marketing plan and brainstorm session and you know where you want to get to the first question to ask yourself is which of the social media networks would work best for my business? The obvious choices are Faceboook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and Google Plus, but there are lots more coming onto the market. To consider each of the merits of each:
Facebook is the biggest network there is; currently it has over 1 billion users (2013). Not only does it have a growing network but also people tend to stay and engage with their community, they on average spend 1-8 minutes per visit. You need a personal profile to build a business page, but it is a great place to start with social media to promote you business.
Twitter is easy to use, difficult to control, good for businesses. Be seen as an expert or comic and enhanced with strong imagery it can be very powerful.
LinkedIn is the largest business network on the internet, with over 200m members (as at 2013). Essentially it is a great way of getting your CV out into the job market place. To ensure it works effectively for you think ensure you keep up to date, join groups and build credibility and demonstrate knowledge by commenting and responding to group discussions.
Pinterest is great for visualizing your ideas and campaigns, which is then easily linked to your Facebook page. Understandably it has a strong female following.
Google Plus is perhaps slightly less used currently but as this is part of Google any interaction with this will help your SEO rankings.
Once you have chosen your preferred network it is great to then build your content plan, which should be relatively easy as this now falls out of your marketing plan and strategy. Some key top tips to remember:
- Social media can be totally absorbing, ensure you allocate a particular time to this activity.
- Hootsuite is a great tool to help you manage your social media updates.
- Take any arguments offline.
- It is key to communicate regularly with your community whether that is to talk about your business or engage with your network.
- Test and learn: keep a track of what does and does not work for you. Think about what your audience engages with most.
- Track response: ensure that you know what level of engagement you had in the beginning and therefore the step change any activity achieves.
- Enjoy talking to your audience!
If you do need some marketing help, support or guidance get in touch to arrange your no obligation consultation. We look forward to working with you and seeing your business flourish!
Sources: Chartered Institute of Marketing, Kotler and “Brilliant Social Media” by Ian Gray.