Social Media Marketing Tips for Frustrated Small Business Owners
Are your social media marketing efforts bringing you the results you want?
Do you even KNOW what results you want?
That’s a rather important first step, I learned yesterday. I took a FANTASTIC one-day course at Royal Roads University called Social Media for Small Business. It was taught by Jordan Keats.
However, I must confess to having been overwhelmed at times – and I wasn’t the only one. To many of us, social media is daunting. It’s one thing to post a cute pic of me & my dog on Facebook. It’s quite another to learn how to use social media as an effective marketing tool that will lead to results – but doesn’t take a huge amount of time, energy and money.
Once I determined the results I was looking for – book sales – I had to ask myself the next obvious question: was posting my dog’s photo on Facebook going to achieve that?
How about my habit of posting blogs that only a handful of people – most of whom have already bought my current book – will read: is that going to yield book sales?
You get my drift.
That’s why I took the class. And frankly, sitting in a computer lab for 8 hours, learning about SEO and hashtags, tribes and google analytics wasn’t just overwhelming, it was exhausting.
Another writer in the class put it perfectly when she said to our instructor something to the effect of: “You are the social media native. We are the social media immigrants. We’re still learning the language, the culture, the lay of the land…and to be honest, it’s not only frustrating and confusing – most of us don’t even want to be here! We’re here because we have to be. We know we have to learn this so that our businesses can survive.”
And even though I didn’t understand half of what Jordan was saying – and patiently showing us on the massive overhead screens – I dutifully took detailed notes and crossed my fingers they might make more sense later on.
And sure enough, something interesting happened on the drive home. All that he’d said started to click into place…as it related to my company.
By the time I got home, I’d stopped perceiving social media networking as yet another ‘marketing thing’ I had to figure out and conquer because I needed the sales – and instead start to view it as an incredibly useful tool that, when used correctly, would help me reach new people who wanted to hear from me.
In other words, the internal barriers I had towards social media started to dissipate.
When I got home, I read through all my notes and highlighted the key points. Then I set a clear, tangible goal of what I wanted to achieve through my social networking efforts (number of books sold). Then I determined exactly which social media platforms I was going to use and how. Then I made a SHORT list of the tasks I needed to do and when I was going to do them over the next six weeks.
And since the best way to learn something new is to teach it to someone else, I’ve jotted down a few pointers for any other small business souls out there who might also be stumbling through the cyber-wilderness of social media.
Here are 10 social media marketing tips for small business owners:
1. You have to determine what results you want to achieve from your social networking efforts. Increased visitors to your website? Increased product or service sales? Increase number of subscribers to your e-zine?
2. You need to figure out who your market is. Then you need to find your market…your peeps, your tribes. Check out Seth Godin’s Tribes video or book.
3. You’ll need to do a bit of trial and error to determine which social media platform/s is best for you to connect with your tribes: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. You don’t need to do them all!
4. Facebook is excellent for connecting with friends and maintaining relationships.
5. Twitter is great for connecting with like-minded people you don’t know. Twitter is a fantastic way to build a buzz about your business or product.
6. Hashtags are really important to use in your tweets because they help target who will see your posts. Do a hashtag search first to make sure you are using the correct word/term to reach the people you want to reach.
7. Retweet other people’s tweets!
8. LinkedIn is not a sales platform (oops). LinkedIn is about connecting to like-minded professionals. It’s a great place to learn about what the people in your industry are up to and share ideas, job postings, etc.
9. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is basically just the key words you need to use in your blog posts, article titles, web pages, tweets, etc so that search engines can find them. Here’s a quick trick to see how search engine optimized you are: google the key words that pertain to your business and see if you or your business comes anywhere near the first page of rankings (which is where you want to be).
10. Google Analytics tracks your social marketing efforts. You set this up on your website and then you can see who is visiting your site, how long they are staying, which pages they are visiting, where they’ve come from, etc. Very important!
Hope these help. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to dash. I’m heading into Twitterville to do a little anthropological observation of the tribes I might like to join 🙂
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the upcoming book, Barrier Removed; A Tough Love Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund.