Online Marketing Strategy | Taming the Social Media Marketing Beast: How to Clean Up Your Small Business Marketing
Online Marketing Strategy | Did you know social media is the number one daily activity among Americans, topping time spent on email and Google? Realizing that it isn’t just a fad, more and more business owners are starting to use social media for marketing. You’ve heard that social media marketing can lead to more loyal clients, more brand recognition, more repeat business, more… well, everything. But success like that isn’t instant, or automatic. It requires more than the random status updates about your great sale, latest product, or a shameless plug in the local paper. Social media marketing is easily a full-time job, and for good reason.
Effective social media marketing requires a great deal of effort. It isn’t simple for small business owners, or anyone else for that matter, to come up with a steady stream of short statements in 140 characters or less. Social media marketing done right reaches far beyond broadcasting messages about your brand and getting exposure. Use these tips to boost your social presence, and fulfill the potential for direct sales, converting potential clients into paying ones, driving relevant traffic to your website, and building client relationships.
Choose The Right Platform | Online Marketing Strategy
There are hundreds of social media networks, which means there are many options beyond Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Take some time to determine which networks are best for your brand, and limit them to five max. Each social network has to be treated as a separate marketing medium. There can be content that is shared across all networks – for example if your business was recently acquired by a global company, this is likely news you want to share across the board, but you should adjust your strategy depending on the audience for that channel.
Post Timely | Online Marketing Strategy
Know the best days and times to post for your target market, and demographics. You want to catch your audience not only when they’re checking their messages and news feed, but when they might have a few minutes to click through a link, and visit your website to read more about your products. For many businesses, this is Monday through Friday at around 10am and 4pm. However, this will vary depending on whom you’re targeting. Do your research.
Use Images | Online Marketing Strategy
People are becoming more attracted to images, or easily digestible videos like those on Vine. Here’s the trick, though: The best images are self-explanatory, like infographics, and charts. Just posting a stock image doesn’t do much for your brand. From how-to videos to funny viral videos, there are a lot of different techniques you can use to engage your followers. If you aren’t already on YouTube, set up a channel for your company, and figure out what you have to offer to your potential clients. If you make a video, make sure it’s professional and high quality.
Track Your Reputation | Online Marketing Strategy
In addition to review websites like Yelp, potential clients are also relying on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest before doing business with a company. Pay special attention to what people are posting about your brand on all of these social platforms. The larger your audience, and the volume of conversation around the brand, the more complicated it can be to find the nuggets of insight in the social media noise. Set aside time to review metrics that are critical to your business on a monthly basis. Here are some stats to focus on: number of posts, follower growth, clicks to your website, page views, post likes or shares, impressions, etc.
Provide Value | Online Marketing Strategy
Brands, have a tendency to be egocentric. They talk only about themselves, their products, services, features, benefits, staff, culture, financials, and on and on. It’s pretty obvious why a business is on social networks: To boost sales, whether directly, or through building client relationships (which will hopefully lead to more sales). However, social networks aren’t a direct sales platform, so don’t treat them that way. Your content must provide some type of value to your potential clients. That value could be education, increased productivity, entertainment, or cost savings. To your followers, it shouldn’t feel like marketing, even though we know it is by nature.
At the end of the day, using what works best for your brand is always the best approach. While knowing what professional marketers are doing to advertise on social media is beneficial, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Each business is unique and the customer demographics for that business are unique.