Social Media for your Small Business

social-media-buttonSocial Media can be intimidating for most small businesses. But for small businesses, social media is a powerful promotional tool.

On the surface, social media marketing seems pretty simple. You create an account, post updates about your products, services or company growth and reap the rewards. However, in order to see success, you need to think about your audience first. How can you create and share the content they’re going to love? Social media marketing requires that you do more than just post endless updates plugging your products. Engagement is key and that requires more than just pushing your sales pitch.

Start with a Single Network

Choose a single social network (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest) and master it. Don’t spread yourself too thin across too many and run the risk of overwhelming yourself with tasks and new technologies to master. Keep in mind that the best one for your business might not be your favourite or the one you’re the most comfortable with.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is great for sourcing leads. LinkedIn groups can be used for finding like-minded business owners who can help to problem solve. Many small business owners go through similar struggles and can benefit from talking to each other on LinkedIn.

http://www.linkedin.com

Facebook & Twitter

Twitter is a good first choice for professionals looking to establish themselves as experts and thought-leaders, while Facebook definitely works best for the retail and hospitality sectors, particularly if your business does promotional offers.

Small businesses can make excellent use of Twitter for self-promotion (look at the 80/20 Rule), but there are other possibilities, too. You could offer customer support via tweets, or tweet out market research questions and collate the answers.

http://www.facebook.com | http://www.twitter.com

Pinterest

Pinterest is great if you offer visual products or services, for example DIY kits or photography. It does favour the female demographic.

http://www.pinterest.com

Remember the 80-20 Rule

The 80-20 rule is commonly cited as one of the most important rules for using social media—but also one of the most commonly broken ones.

What is the 80-20 Rule? 80% of the content you distribute via social should be about your customers – what they’re interested in, what their needs are and new solutions to their problems. 20% should be about you and your business

Set Realist Goals and Be Patient

Six months is a realistic time frame to test whether a social media marketing campaign is working for your business but remember that you’re looking for long-term success. Building a reputation and a community around a brand online takes time. Don’t give up too quickly and don’t resort to breaking your chosen Network’s Rules.

In the end, it comes down to listening to your customers. Much of Social Media is about listening. How can you sell someone something if you don’t know what they’re willing to buy or what they really need?

All the best!

Online Strategist and Web Designer passionate about user-friendly design, responsive websites, small businesses, startups and her family.

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