I often read articles on Social Media. I should. After all, I do offer the service, and it is important to my business that I am always up to date on the latest information. Lately, I have read some articles that just plain out right state, “You can never compete with the BIG guys!” Or, Social Media isn’t what it is cracked up to be.” Well, I guess if you are a small business, and you have a limited budget, that is true. But don’t let that stop you from posting. Because you are interested in your audience, not everybody else’s.
1) Plan Your Budget
If you are serious about marketing your business, then get serious about the costs involved with that. I always tell my clients to plan on 20% of your overall budget to go toward marketing. Regardless if it includes social media or not – but it should. If it does include social media, half of that budget should be allocated to that effort.
Let’s face it, the BIG guys have money! And they aren’t afraid to use it, because they know it does work. They have entire departments dedicated to posting social media. That would be a teenager’s dream job. That is, if they knew what they were doing.
2) Know Your Target Market
If you are a small business, hopefully you have worked on a marketing plan. Is that true? If not, stop reading this article and get started on one. Why? Because any dollar you spend will not be focused spending, but instead wasted spending. The reality of it is, you are not going to reach everyone, everywhere, all the time. So know your audience. HOWEVER, if you have a target market, keep reading.
3) Learn your Target Markets social media habits.
What time are they online? What posts seem to get the best visibility? What information, content or blogs are succeeding when you post? Are you looking at your content to make sure it isn’t some cute baby or kitty picture that gets a lot of likes?
4) Your information is important to someone. Keep the information you share relevant. But just because it is common knowledge to you, could be an eye opening experience for someone else. But there is always someone out there that just might look up exactly what you have to offer. Write a short weekly newsletter.
5) “I don’t have time to write a blog every week.”
That’s okay, I don’t either. In fact, sometimes blogging takes a back seat to busy work week. But do something and be as consistent as you possibly can. Have you thought of video blogging? You know, turn on your iPhone, pull up your video app, face the camera lense toward you, smile and talk to it. What I mean to say is, plan out 3 – 5 really good tips that help people who are interested in your business, and tell them about it. Don’t worry about stuttering, if your make up is perfect, or that exercise bike in the background. Just zoom into your face and talk. If you do stutter, just write out a little script and read it. Notice I said, “smile.” It adds confidence to the subject you are sharing. People will love, just try it!
Remember that the more you update your website, the better your SEO, which allows you to be more visible on search engines. So make sure anything you post, you post it to your website or blog first, and use your other tools, such as your newsletter to lead the reader back to your website. The more they see, the better your prospect of a phone call.
6) You said you don’t like your face on video?
Well, you can always offer free audios also known as MP3s. I have talked to people who prefer those, because they can listen to them while they drive. If you are blogging, keep them around 3 – 5 minutes long. And for heaven’s sake, add inflection to your voice. Don’t over act what you have to say. Consider interviewing a colleague. Maybe have a tag team discussion about a subject matter that is new to your industry. And, if the discussion is longer, you can split it up into series of 3-5 minute discussions, or offer it as a free audio for those who sign up for your newsletter.
Just because we are not a large multi-million dollar companies, doesn’t excuse any of us from trying to reach our audience. I could never compete with BIG Guys. But I can get my message out there, and you should too! People follow you because of you and what you have to offer. If you don’t offer it, then they miss out on great information and you miss out on prospects for your business.
7) Invest in good tools or call a professional to help you.
I know there are good tools out there. However, I suggest hiring someone to help you. Here is why — Tools don’t grab the engagement that organic posting does. The key is to get people talking about what you said. Follow up on the responses you get. Don’t just say, “thanks!” Say why you agree, disagree or hope to agree. Otherwise, those leads fall to the wayside.
You know, the BIG guys are always going to have the advantage with Social Media. But you have an advantage too! A small business owner adds a personal quality to their business that big guys can’t. You may have a good grasp on the events in your area, talk about how your service or product can enhance those events. You may have a tech tip that they never thought of – share it. Or, you may just have the information that lands in the right people’s mailboxes every week. The bottom line is that you have YOUR audience. You may want THEIR audience, but you have yours. Combine that with word of mouth referrals from networking, and you have something the big guys don’t! Relationship marketing.
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Bernadette Raftery, MBA and principal of A Virtual Success is an online marketing strategist who implements social media, search engine optimization and websites that help small businesses because A Virtual Success.