The dilemma a small business owner faces every day is time. How can you add more hours into an already overwhelming schedule? The answer is: find more time for social media.
Yup, you heard me right. In order to find more time in your day, you need to spend more timeon social media. And no, that is not an oxymoron. Social media marketing is the best way to leverage a small business owners time and create success. The most difficult part for most of you is just getting started. So let’s jump right in to make the impossible, possible:
- Know the benefits of social media. Your current and future customers are using social media. They are not using the phone book, the classifieds, or the late night cable infomercials. Your customers are tweeting, posting and reading content online. Social Media Marketing is not optional. Think of it as networking with people at a party. Some need what you have, some don’t. It’s not about “followers.” It is about offering a relevant message that drives people to your website…and that brings us to tip #2.
- Have a useful website. Note that I said “useful” not “awesome.” Awesome is good of course, but useful is better. Why? Everything that social media marketing is supposed to do for your small business is to drive people to the website. So stop what you are doing and look at your website. Is it easy to read? Can people find your contact information? Do they know what you do? Is the site mobile-phone friendly? It is useful? Bells and whistles mean nothing if you don’t update your site and have an easy way for me to contact you. When was the last time you changed anything on there? This is the face of your business, if it’s not an easy, enjoyable experience; you are losing current and future customers.
- Create a social media presence. Ok, I get it, for some of you that makes your stomach wince. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites. It is a conversation! Just get it started! Create the site; load a profile picture, post quotes or articles. Ask people for feedback about your newest line of products, and don’t run away when they respond. This is how the big guys showcase their winning personalities, by tweeting back and liking what people have to say. Have fun. Be present and timely, and just get something going.
- Become the expert. So you don’t want to write for the New York Times, but you can (and must) write for your customers. You have to be where your customers are….not where you are! So write about your passion. Tell us how you got started and why. Post articles that are interesting for your business. Write a review on a book you read. Take photos of your staff wearing funny costumes. Take photos of people using your products and services. Be social. To be a success in business you need to provide people with the things they want to improve their lives and work. Tell them why you are different. Better yet, show them. Be funny, or nerdy, or completely rebellious if that is what you are offering people. It’s not rocket science, its about passion for your business.
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Use photos. 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook have a photo. We think with our eyes people!!! Take photos, post photos, collect interesting photos, ask your customers for photos. Images received 150% more retweets than those without photos—that is a good thing. This is a visual conversation so share a perspective of what you do and that will connect people to your business.
- You have an online reputation, feed it. I think we can all agree that having positive reviews will find you more customers. Even negative reviews, when responded too quickly and turned around, can help you to find customers. So ask your happy customers for reviews—while they are still in your office or business. Make it fun. Make it part of doing business. It will open the floodgates to new customers. It will set you miles apart from your competition…who, by the way, is not paying attention at all.
And don’t feel that you are a little behind the eight ball. The best part about social media marketing is that it is a living, breathing conversation that just needs to get started. Peoplewant to interact online, so why avoid it? Many things can be automated; alerts can be set to notify you, the computer can and will help you to find the time to grow your business. And most important, it’s never too late to get the social media party started. 70% of small businesses spend less than one hour a week maintaining their web presence….and that is the group that thinks social media is important. Imagine what your business can do if you double that time per week! Start with two hours a week, and work toward an hour a day. It will pay off if you keep at it. Before you know it you will have to hire a social media coordinator to help you handle the marketing while you focus on all the new customers coming through your door.
Does the thought of tweeting about your business make you break out into a sweat? What is your biggest obstacle to getting started with Social Media Today?
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