Written by Aaron Houghton of www.boostsuite.com
In the last few years, social media has been the big buzz word for any company who wants to make an impact online. But as a small business, with a limited amount of time and resources for marketing, how do you use social media effectively?
Here are three tips to keep in mind for using social media effectively on a budget and a busy schedule:
First – Make it Easy for Your Followers to Spread the Word
The first thing to remember about social media marketing for a small business is that its main purpose is to use your followers to spread the word about what your company is doing (sales, promotions, new stores, new products, new services etc). The challenge you will face is that unlike a well known company (for example – Coca Cola) – it can be hard to attract a large following online.
The first step is to make sure that you include prominent links to your social media sites in all communications with customers – put links to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in all your emails, make sure its in the footer of your website, put a sign on your counter (if you have one) and actively ask your customers to follow your company online. The more followers you can have the better.
Second – Stay Interested to Stay Interesting
The second step in this process is to keep your social media up to date. Post a new blog article on your website? – make sure its shared via your social media outlets. Hire a new employee? – celebrate on Twitter. Just started carrying some new products? – post some pictures on Facebook. Whenever you can, keep your social media updated with new information potential customers might find interesting.
There are many tools you can use – like HootSuite – that let you easily publish to all your social media sites. You can even create posts in groups and schedule them to go out at different times throughout the week. For email marketing, email service providers (like MailChimp) have automatic integrations with social media sites – you send an email to your list – that email gets posted online to your social media sites automatically!
Third – Ask for Help
The third step to effective social media marketing for your business is to actively ask your followers to share your content. If all you do is post information – your reach is limited to your immediate followers. However your social media followers have lots of friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family. Don't be shy – ask them to share.
Consider creating promotions where the more something is shared – the bigger the discount or incentive. When you post information – actively ask your followers to share – many times it can be as simple as asking for a quick favor. “Hi everyone, we just started our yearly sale – we want to to spread the word – would you mind reposting the url below to your Facebook page to let all your friends know?”
Remember to ask for help on a regular basis. You will find your social media reach grows tremendously when you get your posts shared beyond your network.