You hear it all the time: the business down the street has thousands of Facebook followers, they had a successful Groupon campaign and amazing blog, they are tweeting all the time and gaining new business. Where do you start? Here is a great starting point or evaluate your existing social media efforts against leading industry advice below.
Note: Keep in mind that unless you are very active on your social media and/or you have a campaign that goes viral, your social media efforts are normally between 1%-5% of your total Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign ranking factors for changing your position on Google.
Top Social Media Platforms:
- Blog on your website
Tools to Measure Return on Investment:
- Rival IQ
- Twitter Alerts
- Google Analytics
Step 1: Setting Goals
Before creating a Facebook page, think about why you are doing social media. Is it to spread the word on your business? Gain more customers? Become a resource for the community? Engage in a larger mission than your business? Who is your target audience and how do they respond? What time of day do you get the most traffic? Can you post on the weekends when you get high traffic?
Social Media Strategy Consists of:
- Mission (long term goals)
- Goals (short term goals)
- Tactics (Strategies to get the word out)
- Measure Results (see above “Tools to Measure Return on Investment”)
There are many online resources to help you with setting custom social media strategy goals for your business or you can call Awesome Dynamic for ideas free of charge at 847-220-7285 or [email protected]
Step 2: Stick to a schedule
As part of your goals, make sure to schedule time dedicated to social media. Old posts can hurt you. Falling behind with old tweets and posts can make your business look like it has been permanently closed if the last post on your Facebook page was 2 years ago. On the other hand, frequent posting worked into your routine with quality content can establish your online reputation. Even though you are a busy small business owner that is pulled into many different directions, there is still time to do social media or hire someone to set it up and you can spend 1-5 minutes per day approving posts.
Frequent AND Quality posting leads to:
- Great community reputation
- Create online personality for your business
- Posts going viral
- More traffic to your website
- Gaining More Customers
Step 3: Master 1 Social Media Platform
Start with 1 social media platform and master it. Do not open every social media account you’ve ever heard of or see on your competitor’s sites. Blogs are 1 form of social media and you have complete control on your website. Frequently adding fresh and compelling local content to your website is one of your competitive advantages as a small business, especially when dealing with national competition and chain stores. Master Facebook then move onto the next one. Soon, you will be an expert. Make sure you choose the platforms that make sense for your business. For example, Tumblr is great for vintage furniture shops but not so good if you have an older demographic and are running a roofing company.
Step 4: Use Visuals and Interesting Content
Evaluate new things that are going on in your business that are interesting. Posts that have images, videos, and Gifs are almost always preferred, get more clicks to your website, and are shared more than plain text posts. For more science-like viral tips check out this video with viral expert Emerson Spartz, CEO of spartzinc.com.
Step 5: Engage, Don’t Broadcast
Stay up to date with your customers and community by interacting. Don’t just blast out coupons and random thoughts. Stick to your goals and strategy and engage by answering questions, checking out your customer’s profiles or posts, reposting items from other local businesses or videos that relate to your industry and more. Just because you’re online, doesn’t mean it’s a one way street. Also, don’t post anything (even to angry customers) that you wouldn’t say in person or imagine if you would say it if there was a crowd standing in front of you. Your online reputation and brand personality can be formed through your social media.
Step 6: Advance Techniques
Get those customers that your competitors are ignoring. You may not be able to send out a tweet and your stock price goes up as a Fortune 500 CEO can, but what you can do is use tools like Social Cast or Twitter Alerts and “Nearby” function. These tools allow you to get as detailed as setting a 1 mile or 20 mile radius around your coffee shop and for any Tweets that mention the keyword word “coffee”, you can simply Tweet to all those people. So if someone is close to your shop and posts “I am so tired I NEED coffee!” or “My boss is having me do the 3rd coffee run of the day” you can reach these people that your competitors miss in real time. A huge difference between Twitter and Facebook is that you can contact potential customers that you don’t know personally.