Monday, October 11, 2010

Small Business Needs Social Media Marketing

One of the biggest mistakes (and hence disappoints) that small business makes when it enters into the social media arena, is the compulsion to just post anything and everything everywhere.  It's a time-consuming task and without a strategic approach you are likely to find this activity come to very little and eventually lose interest and perhaps abandon it altogether, with the notion that "it doesn't work".  There's a right way and a wrong way, just as with all your marketing initiatives.  Why any business would enter into social media marketing without a strategy is frankly naive.

Your social media campaign is your marketing campaign.  Therefore it needs to have a defined purpose, campaign length, targeted demographics, an offer, informational or desired response, etc.

1. Define your goal: What are you trying to achieve - sales, awareness, brand image building, loyalty etc.

2. Define your marketing strategy and pick the social media that is right for the job.  You don't have to post in every medium there is.  Twitter and Facebook have distinct differences and therefore work best in different scenarios.

3. Don't try and do it all yourself as a business owner, as it will distract you from the daily management of your business.  Delegate this task to an expert, not your secretary.  Hire a professional, a marketing and social media consultant who knows what they are doing, for a few hours a week.  You can't afford this kind of expertise in-house full-time, so don't cut corners with an intern.

4. Do stay in touch with your social media expert and know what consumers are saying about your brand, and if a trend emerges, either use it positively or fix the negative but don't just do nothing.

5. Be aware that people are accessing your information from mobile devices - smartphones, so think how best to present it.

There are so many ways to use social media that it is important to really be disciplined about your campaigns, whether you are trying to build sales through offers or, provide information that makes your business be perceived as an expert in its field.  Done well and combined with mobile marketing (including geo-location specific campaigns), it will be a positive influence on your business.

For more about how to design a campaign, read Social Media Marketing For Small Business - a step-by-step guide by Audrey Peters - available on Kindle and iPad formats. Or if you have specific questions, post your comments below.

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