Many small businesses have just started on social media. Many customers have told me that they don’t know where to start. Whatever your budget, there are a few simple ways to “test the waters” before you jump into it.
Below are some tips to help you get started integrating social media into some of your traditional marketing and sales efforts. Social media should not be something separate from traditional marketing efforts. Integration is essential and will maximize your investment in all marketing, both online and offline.
Remember, just like marketing, social media doesn’t sink or swim. The best marketers are those who take risks and take time to listen to their customers and learn from their mistakes. Try, try, and try again. If you do these three things, you will be fine.
These social media quick guide tips are listed below to help your business thrive:
1. The Big Three: If you don’t have these already, make sure to create Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. These are the three most essential social media accounts. Blogs are also useful for most businesses. You can create one for free at WordPress.com.
2. Develop a Marketing Plan: If you don’t have one, write it down or hire a specialist to help. It should not be 100 pages. At least 30 minutes to formalize your goals and objectives. If you do not have goals and objectives, you will have to measure your success and learn.
3. List of Joint Marketing Partners: Make a list of your partners, local charities or other companies with which you can partner for certain joint marketing activities. Why not meet and share resources, post an ad and use everything for your voice, marketing, and branding.
4. Market Access Strategy: After at least putting your calendar in a sketchbook, add key categories for each month. They should include the types of activities or media that you use for marketing. These should include social media, site marketing, local advertising, promotions and campaigns, charitable activities and general events. Optional tactics can be fundraising, seminars, webinars and email deliveries.
5. The Nitty Gritty: Now the hard part is … what are you going to market? What will you promote, what types of emails are you sending, talk to your customers? What are you going to tweet, share on Facebook or chat with LinkedIn members? I think this is an area that small businesses are struggling with. If you don’t already have a messaging platform, create one or hire someone to help you. At least make sure you have a mission statement, vision, value proposition, business description, product description, benefit statement and more. Developing this content once at the start of the year will save you tons of time. It will also allow you to be more agile when a new opportunity for good business emerges in a short advertisement or joint marketing or charitable sponsorship. It’s about “creating one, using several”. I also suggest that you write monthly messages on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for each month. I promise you that if you do this, you will not regret it.
6. Listen First: You must listen before launching social networks. Listen to your customers, partners, mentors and especially your customers. What do they say about your product or similar products? How do your customers use social media? What social networks do they “socialize” with? You will probably be surprised at the effectiveness with which they are used. Keep notes on what you learn and how you can contribute to the content on the social platform to encourage them to read, listen and respond to your content.
7. Develop a Social Media Plan: Based on what you’ve learned in research, develop a plan that includes goals, objectives, and tactics for social media platforms, the public, partners and content. This should be attributed to your overall marketing plan. If you follow my instructions, you can easily attribute your social media strategy activities to a broader perspective. Guess what friends mean … wala … you’re on your way to an integrated marketing country! Congratulations!