Warning: file_get_contents(http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?latlng=,&sensor=false) [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.0 400 Bad Request in /home4/spyker/public_html/wp-content/plugins/google-seo-author-snippets/microdata_form.php on line 228

Small Business Guide to a Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy

Video and social media are tightly connected and our clients will frequently use social media to spread there videos. Especially within the small business community, I hear a lot of questions and confusion about social media and how to use it effectively. I also hear so-called “experts” handing out advice that is not helpful. The confusion and misinformation seems to revolve around two main points:

Myth No. 1:  I have to be on Facebook and Twitter!

Everything you do for your business takes time, and time is finite. Consequently, you need engage in activities that will bring your business the best results. If you used every social media tool out there you would consume so much time that other areas of the business might suffer. The trick is to pick the social media tools that your prospects are using. Find out where that conversation is taking place and join it. If you’re doing B2B, for example, then LinkedIn is probably a better solution than Facebook.

Myth No. 2:  It’s a great way to advertise!

Social media doesn’t lend itself to traditional methods of advertising. I recently met a “social media expert” and, after giving him my card, was inundated by tweets, text messages asking me to watch videos and sign up for prizes . . . essentially, an impersonal barrage of sales pitches. It reminded me of telemarketing – but telemarketing doesn’t work in a social medium. The audience is in charge now; they are initiating and engaging in a dialog with brands and about products. If you annoy your audience with intrusive marketing, they will share their irritation with their network, creating resistance to your company.

Social Media

A balanced approach to social media

So, how should you approach social media?

The following tips are gleaned from some great books (check links below) and my own experience. I am not an expert in this field; in fact, I don’t believe there are any real experts, because the medium changes to fast… but there are some thoughtful guides. I hope these ideas are helpful.

1. Listen and approach with humility

The best approach is to listen to the conversation, learn the rules of that particular network and then join the conversation with humility. If they are talking about your company or brand or just your industry, identify yourself and make helpful comments. If they are talking about problems they are having with your business, address the person directly and resolve the situation (for example, if someone complains about poor service at a restaurant, consider a coupon with an apology and explanation of how you are handling this issue). The person will be pleased and it will make you look good to those seeing the comments.

2. Create content

Create content that your prospects value. Write a blog, make some videos, write a whitepaper – things that give information about your area of expertise without selling. If you’re a garden center, write gardening tips. The idea is that you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Those that read, engage and share your content have an interest in the topic. At some point, when they are ready to buy, they will want to learn more about you, because you are the expert in their network. This is called “inbound marketing.” Rather than shouting your message to the world – which most people will probably ignore in an already ad-rich environment – you provide value and they come to you.

3 Share and engage

You’re out there reading things that relate to your industry. Try sharing the things you think might be of interest to your network. While you might not have time to create content every day, you can certainly be finding and sharing things as you come across them. Also comment on content where you have an informed opinion. In LinkedIn, answering questions is great tactic. The idea behind all these things is engagement in a social dialog with a network of people. As soon as you start selling, you lose your standing.

4 It takes time

Social networking won’t lead to sales overnight… in fact, it is extremely hard to track direct links from social networking to a sale. What is does is create goodwill and establishes you as an expert in your field in a community who might be interested in what you have to offer, and should therefore be an important part of your marketing plan.

These are all points I have gleaned from books like, “Social Media Marketing” by Liana Evans and The New Community Rules by Tamar Weinberg. They are strategies I have observed successful businesses engaging in, and strategies I try to emulate. I would love to hear what experiences you have had. Maybe I missed some cool ideas, or maybe you disagree with something.

What do you think? Let’s have a conversation.

Bookmark and Share

About the Author