published in Change, Entrepreneurs, Marketing for small business, Removing Barriers, Social Media by Maryanne | November 8, 2013

 

Social Media Marketing Tips for Frustrated Small Business Owners

 

woman looking at computer

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?

Er…no.

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.”

Here, here!

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 🙂

Related blogs:

Pssst…Might Sharing be the Secret to Social Media Marketing?

Smooth Sharing on Social Media – How Easy is it to SHARE Your Blog or E-zine?

6 Tricks to Getting More Marketing Mileage Out of Your Blogs

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.

14 Comments

  1. Glynis on November 8th, 2013 at 9:30 pm:

    Maryanne — I am really impressed with you for attending the workshop. This is exactly the type of seminar I would like to be part of, but somehow keep being too overwhelmed by the course descriptions to even sign up. And, of course, with your easy and fluent writing style, you have taught me so much just in this post. Thanks!

  2. Maryanne on November 10th, 2013 at 12:41 pm:

    This comment just came in via e-mail from the instructor of my course:

    Fantastic synthesis of the material, Maryanne.

    It’s people like you, who take the bombardment of information, digest it, and then get it, that makes this job worthwhile.

    From confusion (frustration) comes clarity.
    JK, Victoria, BC

  3. Shan on November 10th, 2013 at 1:13 pm:

    Well done Maryanne — you’ve come a long way baby! Social media is a useful tool (and not just a place to share recipes and post photos) if you take the time to recognize this fact and appreciate the business results it can bring if applied with some forethought and follow-up. I’ve been following Seth Godin for years and have learned so much from him. Mark Ragan (PR Daily) is also another valuable resource to check out: http://www.ragan.com/Main/Home.aspx

    See you in the Twiiterverse!

  4. Maryanne on November 10th, 2013 at 2:03 pm:

    Thanks Shan!

    I just checked out Mark Ragan’s site and signed up for his e-zine. And I found a great article while I was there about how LinkedIn is now a big driver of business visitors to websites:

    http://www.ragan.com/SocialMedia/Articles/47464.aspx

  5. Shan on November 10th, 2013 at 3:05 pm:

    You Go Girl! I notice that some of the professionals I follow on Twitter actually don’t get the point of social media, despite their noted business success. The only time they tweet is when they want to put a plug in for their new blog, workshop, seminar, or book. This would be fine if they also shared it out a bit by highlighting someone else’s business or engaged their followers in conversation (it’s not very social if it’s always one-way communication). They don’t even retweet. Their social media efforts are predictably self-serving — the very thing social media isn’t about. You, on the other hand, are always generous on social media when it comes to sharing people’s posts, and giving others credit for their achievements and business offerings. Thank you for that.

  6. Maryanne on November 12th, 2013 at 7:21 pm:

    Well, I’m sure learning a lot about the do’s and don’t’s of social media! I started writing another blog post this morning about the whole GIVING aspect of social media…and how really it is about serving others 🙂
    Maryanne

  7. Maryanne on November 12th, 2013 at 7:22 pm:

    This e-mail just came in via e-mail:

    Thanks Maryanne. I appreciate you sharing the blog link. Good job. Thanks also for the link to Seth Godin’s TED talk. I get his blog and have read some of his books. I like a lot of his ideas.
    BW, Calgary, AB

  8. Maryanne on November 12th, 2013 at 7:41 pm:

    Another comment through e-mail:

    Thanks for sharing this. It got me thinking about setting social media goals/targets. Up until now, I’ve considered social media to be another voice for our organization – another means of communicating. But now I thinking perhaps we should be setting specific goals or expectations for our social media use.
    IW, Calgary, AB

  9. Maryanne on November 13th, 2013 at 1:10 pm:

    Thanks for sharing what you learned! I too feel social media is so overwhelming to me because I don’t understand it…I need my kids to explain this stuff!

    I look forward to your other blogs on this.
    KA, Calgary, AB

  10. Maryanne on November 13th, 2013 at 1:34 pm:

    This message came in via Facebook:

    Hey Maryanne…thanks so much for this post….so helpful and as always…you are a leader!
    LS, Calgary, AB

  11. Maryanne on November 17th, 2013 at 5:32 pm:

    This just came in through e-mail:

    Great article and response from people. If only all the technological stuff did not make my stomach just turn. But you’re right, I have to go there.
    TC, Abbotsford, BC

  12. Maryanne on November 17th, 2013 at 5:41 pm:

    Another helpful tip & link just came in through e-mail:

    Yes – social media is another learning curve. You just have to determine which ones work better with your business. But you will get there:)

    Juhli Selby http://juhliselby.com/ is a great instructor and teacher of all things social media. You should follow her and attend any of her workshops that she posts on her site.

    LF, Victoria, BC

  13. JUHLi SELBy on November 17th, 2013 at 8:57 pm:

    Great article! It sums up very nicely what I hear from my clients every day. Having a great online presence is a lot of work and learning this stuff can be very overwhelming. It’s an ongoing journey!

    I love how you shared that it started to sink in & and now you’re tackling things step by step.

    Thank you to LF for the very kind mention and thank you for sharing it here on your blog ; ) Let me know if I can ever help with any questions.

  14. Camilla on November 18th, 2013 at 5:27 pm:

    Great notes, thank you! It’s really daunting, half the stuff out there, and you have to wonder how long it will even last…Facebook has lasted, but I know more people getting off Facebook than staying on it. Twittering seems to be the new trend if you don’t land yourself in hot water like the stars of Hollywood regularly do!

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