Social Media for Small Business - Less of the Marketing and More of the Social.
There, I said it: Social Media for small business should be more social and less about marketing. Those businesses that see it as another vehicle for advertizing their products and wares will find a very mute audience.
To make the most of social media, small business needs to have a complete change of strategy.
The biggest mistake businesses can make when entering the social media space is to view it as another place to do marketing. Marketing on social media is more than a tactical shift; it’s a complete change in strategy. Here are 5 tips to help you find success with small business social media.
Social Media for Small Business Tips
1. Being Social is a Frame of Mind.
Many businesses want to get involved in social media because they see it as a free means of marketing their company information. It is NOT!
Social media provides the unique opportunity to engage with mass audiences on a more personal level, which can help increase awareness, boost revenue, establish authority or create stronger customer loyalty.
2. Social media, is Not Stand Alone
Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and even a blog can’t function independently and don’t serve a purpose unless they are aligned with business objectives.
If your small online business marketing goals are to create awareness, generate leads or boost sales, social media serves as a tactic to help realize those goals. Social media should never be viewed as a separate or independent program.
3. Social media is A Listening Post, Not A Soapbox
Do you remember when you could walk into a record store and at the side, or towards the back there would be listening posts where you could listen to the latest albums before deciding to buy it or not?
Well, social media gives businesses the ability to listen to what the market is actually talking about before jumping in. By listening, conversing and sharing, businesses can better understand their customers, gather feedback and THEN engage with the masses in a more personal way. The emphasis should be on adding value and the first step is opening your ears and listening.
4. Relevance Trumps Content
You have just started writing a blog. Your content, in your eyes, is absolutely brilliant. Mind blowing even. You share this content all over social media, Facebook, LinkedIn Groups and specific Twitter hashtags, yet receive no response whatsoever.
Well, firstly if your content is about pink fluffy cushions and it is shared in an entrepreneurial forum, do you really expect engagement? If so you need to re-think. BIG time!
Even the best content will fall on deaf ears if it’s delivered to the wrong audience, shared at the wrong time or presented in the wrong way.
Learn to understand the needs of your audience. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is my ideal target audience?
- Where is my audience online?
- What problems does my audience have?
- When is the best time to engage my audience?
- How can I best engage with them?
Knowing your audience will help shape your content and make it infinitely more valuable and ultimately, more sharable.
5. Test and Track
Using social media for small business is only one step on the way to getting your blog noticed. The only way to check on the progress of your social media engagement plan is to track your results.
By results, I don’t mean the number of Facebook fans, Twitter followers or even blog subscribers you have, all of which are nice to have. Those metrics on their own can’t be taken as a true measure of success.
The value of social media isn’t measured by the size of your following, but by the resulting actions taken.
Whatever your business does, there will be a way for you to measure the influence of social media. Many social media sites may be free to use, but your time isn’t free. Tools like Google Analytics and bit.ly URL tracking are much more valuable because they measure the real effectiveness of your social media strategy.
The advantages of social media for small business are too great to be ignored and plenty of smart organizations are using this to their advantage daily. When your competitors are out there winning audiences, how can you afford not to?