Social Media today is as ubiquitous as television was and infinitely more powerful as medium to interact with potential customers. With 1 out of every 7 people on some form of social media, businesses can ill afford to ignore this medium, size of the business notwithstanding.
Social Media allows businesses of all sizes to compete and exploit this medium to promote businesses. As a small business entity, there are some dos and do not’s that need to be kept in mind while navigating the plethora of social media options.
- Set your social media objectives
Most businesses consider having a Facebook or LinkedIn company page as the end result of their social media initiative. It’s actually the start of your social media initiative.
Is your social media objective to drive leads? Or is it to engage with your consumers and build brand value? Or is it to drive thought leadership? Having a clear social media objective helps in understanding what you need to do and that will drive what you need to do on social media.
- Set up your social media team
Make no mistake, managing social media is time consuming. It is highly effective but is a slow burner. Rome was not built in a day and neither will your social media program. You will need to be clear on who will manage this. Will someone internally manage your social media or will you hire a social media management agency?
- Determine your best social media mix.
There are over a hundred different social media platforms for every conceivable purpose on the Internet. Unless of course you’re in a rather atypical business, you can’t go wrong picking from the following seven platforms
- Facebook – Set up your company page.
- LinkedIn- Set up your company page on LinkedIn. Please see our Small Business 101 Primer for LinkedIn.
- Twitter- Set up your organizational Twitter account.
- G+- Set up your company G+ page
- Pinterest- If you’re in an industry or can create high visual content, then Pinterest is a good platform to be in.
- YouTube- Can you create videos regularly? If so, then YouTube is a must. Remember video is the fastest growing segment on the Net.
- Xing- If you’re in Europe, you should additionally consider Xing along with LinkedIn.
- Determine your content plan
Setting yourself up on various platform is a relatively easy task. Where most businesses suffer is their ability to have a focused content plan. Answers to what to post, when to post, how regularly to post will partly determine the success or failure of your social media initiative. Content is King and good content is what will draw people to you your social page and let them interact with you.
If you have an objective of generating leads or traffic to your site, then educative content like the one you’re reading will help. After all, you did click on it and come to where I wanted you to come! If you’re looking to drive engagement with your brand then promotions & contests will help drive it. If you’re looking to drive thought leadership, you could look at commissioning someone externally or having your internal team provide thought provoking articles, videos and other content.
In many cases, it would be better to engage the services of a specialist social media management agency to help you create content for your social media platform.
- Determine your content delivery mechanism
Is your product or service a concept one? You might want to use a lot of videos to communicate and engage with your social media followers. Are you in a business to business industry where leads are important? You might want to focus bulk of your content delivery mechanism in the form of interesting articles that address the pain points of your customer.
On social media, there is no one content delivery plan. You will need to use multiple content delivery mechanisms to delivery content to your followers. The more varied your delivery routes, the greater will be the engagement from your followers.
- Determine your social media marketing model
How do you generate followers for your social media pages that you set up? For $5 dollars you can get hundreds of instant followers to you page. I would not recommend that. They would all be dummy accounts created with the sole purpose of generating followers or likes for clients. If your agency promises to get you a 1000 followers within a week, kick him out and hire someone else who doesn’t promise you this.
There is no sure fire way of getting instant followers for your social presence. It has to be built from the ground up. A good way to give a kick start is to declare a promotion or an incentive to like or follow your page. But bear in mind, this is temporary as those who have done so , have done it for the purpose of the promotion and are unlikely to be true followers.
You could always advertise your company page through the various advertising options available on the social platform you are in. However if you are looking at low cost ways to build a follower base without spending money do the following
- Communicate your 2 primary social platforms on all your company communication- letter head, visiting cards, email signature, packaging, advertising or blog page.
- Cross communicate to followers on each platform about your other social media presences.
- Encourage your followers to invite others to your page. Have you agency thank each follower as they come online and ask them to recommend your page to their friends.
- Promote your company page on other open social media groups on LinkedIn or G+.
- Create content that your followers would like to share with their friends on their social platform.
- Create content that your followers would like to put up on content curation sites like Stumble Upon, Digg or Technorati.
- Engage. Engage
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Likewise, all professional content and no fun makes for an extremely boring engagement that will peter out quickly. It’s normal human behavior. Ask yourself how many times you have clicked on some interesting professional content vs some cute cat playing with a ball of wool?
You should intersperse your professional or company related content with content that will bring a smile to your followers face. Did any of your employee’s children win a race at school today? Great. Grab a picture, take permission and put it up with a headline “Our next generation of winners”. It will grab attention as well as bring a smile and help in sharing it.
Use your company page to showcase your followers. You can bet they would love it and would love to share it with their friends. Creating engaging content and then engaging with your followers is key to creating a strong social media presence that will drive followers to your page.
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