Tips to Get your Social Media marketing on the right Track

Social media is the new darling of the online marketing world and, if you’re keen on tapping into the people, and the power, of social media, you’re going to need a plan. It’s a lot more than just “liking” someone on Facebook or sending out a “tweet” once in a while. The fact is, with social media you can’t just “wing it” because people absolutely love their social media websites and they can easily spot an imposter or poser.

Attracting and, more importantly, engaging people with social media, and then converting them into customers of course, means carefully mapping out an effective strategy. The tips below will help you to do just that. Enjoy.

  • What is your social media goal? Depending on the business or industry that you’re in, you’ll want to use social media to either gain exposure for your brand, interact directly with customers and, occasionally, promote your products and/or services. In order to do that you are going to have to not only identify what the goals of your business are but also understand your customer’s goals as well, and figure out how your social media strategy can help you to connect the two. One of the best ways to do this is simply to look at social media as a way to solve your customer’s problems, and then do that.
  • Should I handle my social media or hire someone to handle it for me? This is a very important question as, once you’ve gotten your social media started, you’ll need to keep it going, update it and respond to comments and questions on a regular and continual basis. If it’s just you, the best thing to do is to start small so that you don’t get overwhelmed. If you have someone on staff that you can delegate your social media tasks to you should do that and, if your business is big enough, hiring a social media marketing expert or firm would probably be a good idea.
  • Do I need to have a presence on all of the popular social media sites? Most social media experts would say that no, you definitely don’t want to try and have a presence on every social site, even just all the “big” ones. In fact, it probably would be better to simply focus on one social media site until you feel comfortable and know exactly where you’re going with it and what it’s doing for your business. Which site depends on many factors of course and so, if you need to, you may wish to dip into several (but only your toes!) to find out which one is the right one for you.
  • Which sites are best for a small business? Twitter, the micro-blogging website, is an excellent social media site for small businesses and, even better, it’s one of the easiest to learn and to use. It basically consists of sending out “tweets” on your Twitter site and, since there is a 140 character limit, you can easily handle sending out one, two or even a handful of tweets to your customer base per day. Google+ can boost your website’s SEO, Facebook is excellent for business-to-consumer retailers and, if you’re looking to reach out to people in your industry with influence, LinkedIn and Slideshare are both excellent. If you’re selling products that are attractive or colorful, Pinterest would also be a good choice.
  • What schedule should I have for posting new content? The answer to this question depends on the type of social media marketing that you are actually doing. If you are sending out “tweets” on Twitter you can actually send several per day with minimal effort. If, on the other hand, you have a “blog”, you would probably only want to post new content once, or maybe twice, a week. The fact is, people visit their favorite social media sites throughout the day and the more you are able to post the better chance that they will see your content when they’re on the site.
  • Is social media a good place to provide customer service? That depends on which social site you are using. With sites like Facebook Twitter and Google+, responding to customer inquiries and questions is quite easy and also instantaneous. It’s also a good way to handle customer complaints before negative reviews are posted on your site.

These are some great tips to get you started with your social media marketing and content. Keep in mind that social media marketing isn’t like direct, traditional marketing. You’re not going to be doing a lot of “selling” per se on social media but, instead, be building up a base of fans and customers who are interested in what you have to say and, occasionally, will also purchase what you’re selling. Stay on social media long enough and you become the “expert” that people seek out when they need help in your particular field. If you can do that, your social media efforts will definitely pay off, and continue to do so well into the future.

How To Use Social Media To Promote Your Small Business

Today, no matter what you sell or where you sell it (online or from your brick and mortar location) you can bet that one thing is happening every single day; people are talking about your business online. Now, there’s an old saying about the fact that any publicity is good publicity. Frankly, we don’t buy that. The reason is simply because, unless you’re a big celebrity or sports car, negative reviews and comments online can only hurt your business, not help it. Not only that but, with hordes of people flocking to social media websites like Facebook and Twitter every single day, if they’re knocking on your door and you’re not answering, they’re going to find another door to knock on.

With that in mind we put together a blog about how to use social media to promote your business. It doesn’t matter if your business is online, off-line or a combination of the two, this blog should give you some excellent pointers and advice for getting the word out to the public about who you are, what you offer and why they should be buying from you, using social media. Enjoy.

Before you can begin any conversation about promoting your business with social media you must first answer this question; what is it exactly that you are trying to promote? What are the specific assets that your company has that you should be talking about? Who are the customers that your product or service are targeted to? If you don’t know the answers to these basic questions then, no matter what you do, you’re not going to get the best results.

Your next step is to determine which social media websites are going to be the best for your particular product or service. For example, if you manufacture women’s clothing and fashion accessories you will definitely want to have a Pinterest site as well as Facebook and Twitter. The reason is that on Pinterest you will find people who are much more interested in seeing what you have to offer rather than reading about it. The reason to be on Facebook and Twitter is basically because both of these social sites have tremendous amounts of traffic. Determining which social media websites are the best for you is an important task and should be taken quite seriously

Once you’ve decided to jump in to social media with both feet you should find yourself a good social media managing program. One of the best is called HootSuite, a program which allows you to manage all of your social sites from one page as well as schedule messages, ‘tweet’ in real time and find out what your click-through statistics are.  There are several different social media managing websites available so make sure to do your research and find the one that’s best suited for your business.

In order to get any sort of traction from your social media websites you’re going to have to post new, interesting and relatable content on a regular basis. The fact is, social media is really not about advertising but about giving people something of value to attract them to your brand, business or service. Once you’ve attracted them and they come to you with questions or concerns, then you can hit them with the hard sell. (Actually, hitting them with the soft sell first is probably a better idea.)

Finding websites that you can link to (and that will want to link to your website) is also very important if you want to promote your business using social media. Sites like LinkedIn and Google+ are great to link to but finding as many websites that are in the same industry or have similar interests as your business is vital for growing a large fan base and increasing the chance that people will come to you to make a purchase. They come to you and find great links and go to great sites and find links to you.

We’ve already talked about posting content. The thing about content is that, if it’s interesting or valuable, it will usually get comments, questions and remarks. Your job is to monitor your social media websites (remember HootSuite above?) and answer those questions, refer to those remarks and have comebacks for those comments. Doing this will show people that you not only check your social media sites regularly but that you actually care about what people are saying on them. This is called engagement and is one of the most vital factors to getting a real following on any social media website.

Engagement can be as simple as following someone on Twitter, re-tweeting their comments to your followers, liking someone’s comments on Facebook or following them on Pinterest or LinkedIn. These are the little things that you should do every single day in order to not only prove to people that you care about what they are talking about but also to encourage them to share what you are talking about.

Basically what you need to do is find a handful of social sites you like, update them constantly, add new content regularly and engage with your followers as much as possible.  Over time this will build and build and, one day, you’ll have more followers than you ever thought possible and revenues that match.

All set? Good.  Now get started using social media, keep up with it and come back to visit us here regularly for more info on how to grow your brand, increase revenues and other excellent info. See you then.

Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 8 of 8

Welcome back for the final part of our 8 Part Social Media series.  In this final blog we’ll be talking about how to monitor the conversations (i.e. feedback and reviews) that will inevitably find their way onto the internet about your business and/or services.  More specifically we will talk about how best to make sure that they stay positive (aside from your company always giving excellent customer care, of course).

There are 5 steps that your company can take to make sure that you are always on top of any content being posted about your biz that wasn’t posted by you.

1) Set up Google Alerts, a free email update that will alert you any time your company is mentioned on the net.  Any time your company or product/service is mentioned online Google sends you an alert and shows you where it is. Powerful stuff indeed.

2) Get to know Google Analytics and use it often.  This will not only allow you to track your social media campaigns it will also show you which websites are sending the most traffic your way. It’s a powerful tool to evaluate the success (or failure) of any marketing effort you make.

3) Use FaceBook Search to see who is talking about your company on the Face and of course what they’re saying about you.  (Hopefully it’s all positive.)

4) Search the same way on Twitter. If you recall we mentioned TweetDeck and Seesmic in an earlier part on Twitter.  Use these services to monitor any word or phrase and keep track of who’s using them and when.

5) Use any services that will push info back to you via email about specific phrases or words that you wish to track.  BackType is one such service that will send you an alert (similar to Google) when your company or the word or phrase you choose is mentioned anywhere online.

Keeping track of what’s being said about your company online may seem like a waste of time to some but the fact is that, if you do it well, you can see where you’re doing things right, where you’re making mistakes, and put out small fires before they get out of control.  Controlling what is being said about your company is impossible but responding in a timely manner and taking care of customers is certainly not and is vitally important in today’s hyper-fast information age.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this 8 Part series about Social Media Marketing and we wish you the best of luck in all of your future Social Media endeavors.  Check back often for more tips and information and take care!





Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 7 of 8

Hello and welcome back for Part 7 of out 8 Part Social Media series.  Today’s topic is how to leverage a combination of different Social Media tools to best market your business online. The simple fact is that, as the old saying goes, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket.  One social media site is a good start but a combination of several going at the same time is your best bet for a good return on your investment.

Cross-marketing is the first task you need to accomplish.  Connecting your FaceBook and Twitter accounts for example is an excellent idea as your posts on each will show on the other, doubling up your efforts.

Connecting your LinkedIn profile to your Blog is next, as LinkedIn has a feature that will let you publish a synopsis of your latest Blog on their site in your account, automatically updating your profile every time you post to your Blog.  Nice!

Integrating Twitter into your Blog is a great idea and makes it so much easier for your readers to tweet about your posts directly from your webpage.  There are also a lot of other sharing tools out there that will allow you to give your readers the ability to easily share your posts to other social media sites as well.

Once you’ve become adept at doing these tasks (and are performing them regularly, if not every day) you’re ready to execute a multi-media marketing strategy.

For example, once you post a video to YouTube you can then post about it on your Blog, Tweet about it on Twitter and, since these should be connected, your FaceBook fan page will get the updates too.  Sharing it on Pinterest and other sites as well is a great idea and will allow you to get lots more mileage from a single video.

Of course you’ll want to make sure that the social media websites that you’re posting to make sense for your business.  Pinterest, for example, is heavily into photos.  If you’re a service oriented company they may not be the right site for you.

Consistency is also key here as, if people come back to visit and you don’t regularly have new content they’re going to fall off in droves.  Keep posting and keep the great content coming and you’ll not only build an audience you’ll keep them coming back for more.

Then of course you will want to come back for more, specifically Part 8!

Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 6 of 8

Hello and welcome back for Part 6 of our 8 Part Social Media series for small business. Today’s topic is Multimedia such as videos, photos and even audio and how they can help you promote and brand your small business.  This may be one of the more difficult aspects of social media marketing quite honestly but the payoff can be bigger too so, in our opinion, it’s well worth the effort.

No conversation about multimedia on the internet would be complete without YouTube of course, the video juggernaut that is one of the most powerful and popular websites in the entire world.  Participating on YouTube will help your biz but, to get the most bang for your buck out of the site, you’re going to need to start making and posting videos of your own.

These can be as simple or as complex as you’d like, but we suggest that simple is the way to get started.  A webcam and some expert knowledge is all you need, plus a topic that is interesting of course and will attract viewers and hold their attention.

YouTube also has a powerful suite of tools that you can use to evaluate the effectiveness of your videos, making it easier to know what people are watching and what to offer in the future.

Flickr is another site that is excellent for building some affinity for your brand and/or product.  People love pictures and Flickr give you a place to post and share them easily.  They also have discussion groups and other tools that will help you focus on your local marketplace.

BlogTalk Radio is becoming a very popular site for businesses.  You can host your own internet radio talk show there and, if you offer interesting info, tips, tidbits and other useable content, you will find that people start tuning in regularly, especially if you give them the opportunity to call in and ask questions directly to you.

The main point of any multimedia content is of course to make it interesting, helpful or, if neither of those two, at least funny.  People love funny and you will certainly build an affinity for your biz and your product using humor.  As will all Social Media content is king so before you start make sure that what you will give your viewers / listeners will entertain or help them in some way.

Once you’re on your way to YouTube stardom remember to come back for Part 7!

Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 5 of 8

Welcome back for Part 5 of our 8 Part Social Media series.  Today’s topic is about the need for you and your company to participate on other Blogs.  The fact is, it takes time to build a reputation on the internet and sometimes it’s better for you to go out and make some noise and get some attention (i.e. be proactive) rather than to sit back and wait for people to come and find you. With that in mind here are your strategies for doing that very thing.

First you’ll need to find a few Blogs that cover your specific industry and make a habit of surfing to them at least weekly to see what’s being posted, what’s new and what’s news.  Get to know who the writers are and what their opinions are and, when you’re ready, start leaving constructive, interesting comments and notes about their posts.  If you need help finding Blogs Technorati has a list of the Small Business Blogs that you can use for reference.

Once you’ve found a few good Blogs to follow you’re ready for some more advanced techniques of building a rep for yourself. By now you have hopefully built a level of trust and credibility due to leaving great comments, asking interesting questions and even leaving bits of useful advice on other Blog posts.

You can now use the affinity that you have grown to ask some of these writers to let you have a go at a Guest Post on their Blog.  This is an excellent way to have your opinions and ideas seen by a much larger audience (depending on the Blog). You’ll want to agree on the topic and send a draft of your post ahead of the scheduled posting date of course so that all goes smoothly (and you’re invited back).

You can also ask that they guest post on your Blog also, which will bring over readers from their Blog to yours and open up some new doors in the process.  If you can’t do this with the ‘big guys’ right away don’t get discouraged.  Social Media takes time to build and bear fruit and so does Blogging of any kind.

How To Guest Post To Promote Your Blog from blogging expert Darren Rowse is a definite must-read if you want to start guest Blogging to build your business.

So get started making a Blogging name for yourself and make sure to come back and see us for Part 6, Multimedia!

Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 4 of 8

Welcome back for Part 4 of our Social Media 8 part series.  As Social Media continues to grow and more and more companies jump on the Social Media bandwagon many businesses are realizing that online reviews and online review site are extremely important and can have a huge impact on their bottom line. One of the best of those sites is Yelp and they are the focus of Part 4.

Yelp publishes millions of local business reviews every single day and your best basic strategy with them is, as with all social media sites, is to register your business account with them.  Setting up a business account on Yelp is free for everyone and every business.  Once set up you can tell the world about your business (location, years in business, etc.), begin to track the amount of users that are viewing your company profile and of course tell people about any sort of promotions or specials that you may be having.

While you’re at it you should also consider adding your business to Google Maps, Foursquare, Bing and other similar sites.  Frankly the more the merrier when it comes to letting your potential customers know who you are, where you are and what your company can do for them.

Once you’ve gotten the basics out of the way it’s time to really start using Yelp to drive people towards your business.  Some of the advanced strategies that you can start using on Yelp include adding your company’s website URL to your Yelp profile which of course will help lead people directly to you.  Uploading a few photos of your company (or yourself) is an excellent idea and will add a huge boost to your trustworthiness in the public’s eyes.

Getting proactive is a must with Yelp and other sites like it.  If you have good customers, family and friends that have used your services one of the best things you can do is to ask them for their review.

You can go even further by offering premiums or other specials to people that leave reviews. For example, if you are the owner of an auto-repair shop you can offer a free oil change to anyone who leave a great review or, if you have a service company, you can give a discount to anyone who mentions that they found you on Yelp.

So get started, get your reviews going on Yelp and join us back here soon for Part 5.


Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 3 of 8

Welcome back for Part 3 of our 8 part Social Media guide. Part 3 deals with something that, while not exactly a specific social media site, is very social and can attract people to your business and your services just as well. What I’m referring to is your company Blog, a social media platform that can make all the difference in your customer base and your revenue stream.

The basic strategy for your company Blog is simple; if you don’t already have a custom domain name you need to decide on one and register it ASAP. Setting up your own Blog isn’t necessarily a difficult endeavor and so if you’re comfortable with WordPress or Blogger then go ahead and set your Blog up on your own.

An alternative to these sites is the site Posterous where you can set up a simple Blog that will let you tell people about your company in your own way using written content, videos and pictures.  Taking a little bit of time to compare these choices is a good idea to see which one of them feels ‘right’ for you and your business.

Of course if you’re a newb or have never set up a Blog before it may be a good idea to enlist the aid of an expert who you can give direction to about your business and who can give you direction about setting up the Blog or possibly set it up for you completely.

Once you’ve set up your Blog you’re ready to start building an audience for it, and that can only mean one thing; excellent content. The simple fact is, no matter what your platform or who your audience is, content is king on the internet.  Without interesting, informative and helpful content you might as well not even start because nobody is going to stick around (or keep coming back) if they don’t enjoy what they see on your Blog.

One of the best ways to do this is to focus on what you want to tell your prospective readers and customers. This will of course depend on your expertise and what your company specializes in. It also will be helpful if what you’re blogging about interests YOU because Blogs are a long-term investment that require time and resources to start and maintain. 

So get started Blogging and, once you’re up and running, come on back for Part 4, Yelp.  See you soon!


Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 2 of 8

Welcome back for the 2nd Part of our 8 part Social Media series.  In this part we’ll be taking a look at one of the most powerful Social Media platforms on the planet, Twitter.  This micro-blogging website has become enormously influential and is beloved around the world. In fact, it was profiled in Business Week and they agreed that it’s a powerful way to promote just about any type of business that you can think of!  Let’s take a look at how to use it to your best advantage.

The first thing you need to do to if you want to get started on Twitter’s powerful platform is to sign up and reserve the name that you want on your account. You may ‘tweet’ (send messages) using your own name but you want that all-important company name on your webpage no matter what you do, and you also want to make sure that none of your competitors get the name before you do. There’s a simple guide on Twitter that you can use to get things started.

Spending half an hour surfing various Twitter pages and familiarizing yourself with what’s available on their site is a great idea, and you should of course search for whatever it is that your company does or produces. For example, if you’re a florist searching ‘flowers’ or ‘local florist’ should give you an idea of who’s out there and what they’re doing on Twitter.

You can also search for your business on Twitter.  Who knows, people may already be talking about you! Once you’ve familiarized yourself with what Twitter can do it’s time to step it up a notch and really get things going for your business.

Using a few of the advance Twitter tools that are out there is the best way to start using Twitter to funnel revenue towards your biz. There are many mobile clients that Twitter has like Tweetie, TweetDeck and Seesmic that will give you the flexibility and control that you need to create your own Twitter ‘voice’ and develop a strategy to increase awareness of your brand.

Pre-defining searches to monitor keywords, grouping people to minimize noise and distractions and defining custom searches (use Twitterfall) will help you to focus in on trending topics so that you can take advantage of them and get noticed.

Use these tips and, once your Twitter page is up and running, come on back for Part 3 where we’ll talk about the power of Company Blogs. Good luck tweeting!


Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 1 of 8

It seems that everyone is talking about how great Social Media is and how it’s a necessity in today’s market.  The problem; many people still don’t know how to utilize Social Media to their advantage.  In this 8 part Social Media synopsis we’ll take a look at the best social media outlets and how to best put them to work for your business.  Basic and advanced strategies that will help brand your biz and increase your revenue ASAP.

One of the biggest players on the social media scene is of course FaceBook. To get started putting the behemoth to work for you start by signing up for a regular account and then using the business name to sign up for a Business Fan Page.

While you’re busy doing that also take some time to research some of the Fan Pages of your competitors or other businesses that are similar to yours.  Take a look at what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and hat kind of content they are posting. This will give you a much better idea about what you should be doing, or how to do your Fan Page even better. Checking out what kind of pics they use, what their videos are espousing and how many ‘friends’ the have will steer you in the right direction for practically nothing.

If you already have a regular (read; personal) FaceBook membership account what you want to do next is expand the FaceBook presence to your business.  You can do this by creating a Business Account or a Business Fan Page.

Best to get a Business Fan Page as the Business Account has all sorts of restrictions and is quite basic.  A Business fan Page on the other hand lets you create a FaceBook page where your customers can register as ‘fans’ of your company.  Once they do this they will get every single update that you post to your page, thus creating a connection directly to your biz.

While you’re at it you should also consider running ‘hyper local’ ads on FaceBook to connect with all the people who live in your general vicinity.  If you’re a brick and mortar store or service center this is vital as FaceBook is worldwide but your customers might not be.

Now that you’ve got the Face working for you it’s time to move on to Blog post #2, Twitter.  Use this advice well and we’ll see you there.