While social media marketing is still in its infancy, it's definitely become too important for small businesses to ignore. In fact, social media marketing should be a central part of your overall marketing strategy. Unfortunately, social media marketing can quickly become overwhelming and you may not know where to start or which platforms to focus on. Don’t panic or avoid social media marketing altogether; instead, follow these simple tips for implementing an easy social media marketing strategy that will bring results:
Form a Clear Social Media Plan
Instead of diving right into social media marketing, set aside an hour to put a plan on paper. Here are a few key points to include in your plan:
- Who is your intended audience? Which platforms does this demographic tend to use most?
- Which platforms are you the most comfortable with and which fit your brand best? Facebook and Twitter are great places to start, but if your service or product is visual in nature (if you own a clothing boutique or hair salon, for example), you may want to leverage the power of photos on Instagram and Pinterest to show off your goods.
- How many platforms do you have time to update regularly? It’s better to start with just one that you can commit to than spread yourself too thin across too many platforms.
- Decide which platforms to create profiles on and add this task to your calendar.
- Set a goal for how often you plan to post. For example, maybe you will create one blog a week on your business website, and update Facebook and Twitter three times a week.
Create a Cohesive Social Media Brand
Now it’s time to dive in and set up new profiles, as well as edit existing ones. Aim for a cohesive feel and look across every platform that you use. Your profiles should feature the same profile photo (your logo, for example) and business name as well as similar taglines. You don’t want to post the same exact content on each platform, but you do want the voice and tone to be cohesive.
Focus on Quality Interactions
Social media is meant to be interactive. Don’t simply post and run, but instead spend time building relationships with customers as well as other business owners. Follow people and companies on all of your platforms, re-post content you enjoy, and take time to answer questions or address concerns in a genuine, professional manner.
Automate Your Posts
Automating your posts via a service like HootSuite saves you time and makes you less likely to let your accounts go dormant. Set aside a time each week to craft all of your social media posts for the week. Then simply schedule them to appear at different times throughout the week using the automated service, instead of posting everything at once.
Pay Attention to Timing
A savvy social media plan takes timing into account. If you post updates or publish content in the middle of the night when most people in your country are asleep, by the time they wake up and check their social media accounts, your content will be buried too far in their newsfeeds. Most experts say that posting to Facebook and Twitter during the afternoon and later in the week brings the most views and engagement.
If you are too busy with other aspects of running your small business to attend to social media, consider outsourcing this task. Hiring a virtual assistant or social media intern to spend a few hours a week managing your social media is well worth the cost if it brings you new business and frees up your time. Sites like upwork.com, zirtual.com, and even Craigslist will put you in touch with qualified freelancers and assistants.
Growing your business through social media doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By incorporating these tips into your marketing plan, you will soon engage many potential new customers for your small business.
How Can Act! Help?
Using Act! Connect, business owners can easily integrate social media accounts with prospect or customer contact information. This allows you to better track and communicate with customers across multiple media outlets. The better your personalized communication is with your customers, the more likely they are become long term clients. This feature is just another way Act! works to keep your business connected.