If you’re like most small businesses, marketing dollars can be tight. Investing in an expensive, heavy-hitting traditional marketing campaign could set you back before you even get started. Sure, your customers need to be aware of your products and services, but who are they, where are they, and what’s the best way to communicate with them? That’s why you need to start with a marketing strategy.
Start with a Strategy
You can reach a large audience on a limited budget, but you have to determine who will benefit most from the traditional marketing avenues and then find ways to leverage word-of-mouth, grass roots efforts. That’s where the internet and social media can help.
Social media is a great way to “boost” traditional marketing efforts. For instance, if you spend the money on a white paper, you can’t just put it on your website and hope people stop by. Promote your work on social channels. Find clever ways to get your audience to share your posts using links to drive people back to your site to find the white paper.
The Do’s & Don’ts of Social Media
Depending on your strategy, approach and goals, you’ll be able to determine which social media platforms are right for you and your business. Chris Litster, SVP, Sales & Marketing/Executive Team Member at Constant Contact, says there are eight best practices for successfully engaging customers and promoting your small business through social media. Also, Inbound Marketing names several dos and don’ts to consider:
- Know your customers. Tailor your messages to your consumer base. They care about what you can do for THEM, so follow the 80/20 rule. Make 80% of your content relevant to THEM, 20% about your business, products or services.
- Start Conversations. Ask your Facebook fans to share their opinions on topics that are relevant to your business or that interest them. Think of questions that will engage fans and inspire them to refer business, while also providing you with insight.
- Share your expertise. Post little-known, fun facts in the form of questions. Include a special offer for the first person to answer correctly.
- Be original. Let your personality show; don’t be boring. When you’re excited about your product and business, your followers will be, too. This will set you apart from your competition and help people remember you.
- Like your own posts. You can, however, encourage your employees to like and share your post. Often, they are your greatest ambassadors.
- Neglect your social media. Wonder why no one is following or engaging with you? You have to stay engaged with them (and actually use your social accounts or they won’t work).
- Forget to network. Making connections by networking and developing relationships is just as important on social media as it is in real life. But be genuine… offer help.
- Spam. Nobody likes to be bombarded by the same information over and over again. If you get too annoying, you may start losing followers.
- Be a robot. Too many automated posts can start to sound impersonal. Customers will have a better experience if they feel like they are engaging with a human being.
What social media practices have you found the most helpful? Please share your successes, as well as any warnings, in the comments below.