There is no question. Social media can help grow your small business (SMB).
Check out Marketme, a well-respected social media news, views and advice blog.
Overall, social media forms the basis of any business which is eyeing growth and success in the online world. Businesses which use social media as a significant part of their online marketing efforts are sure to reap great rewards in the form of a successful business, as well as separate their brand and services from the competition.
Tools of Social Marketing
The trick to making social media/content marketing (SMCM) work for your small business, however, is understanding a few of the important steps and characteristics of this great, relatively new, marketing tool.
First, focus on the fact that it’s just that: a new tool in the marketing mix. That does not mean you’re adding another expense category to your overall marketing. It does mean it’s the appropriate time to conduct a total marketing analysis in your organization. Some things in the marketing mix work better than others and some are probably not effective. Decide what is working and what is not. Eliminate the marketing that is proving ineffective for your specific business. And, let’s agree now that it’s difficult to win in today’s world unless your business has an online component.
Let’s look at a few statistics:
- 47% of small businesses in the U.S. still lack a website.
- 94% of small businesses in the U.S. lack a mobile website, yet mobile marketing is growing at an alarming rate.
- 60% of small business owners with a website say their website is their most effective marketing tool.
These stats vary + – 5% depending on the source, but in general reflect an overall accurate picture for the small business.
Slowly SMB’s are buying into websites and digital marketing (online marketing, Internet marketing). With that in mind, the small business owner who is serious on business growth must grasp the fact that the world is fully engaged in online search, inquiry and purchase regardless of the product or service.
Okay, Social Media/Content Marketing. All current data shows this new marketing works and works well. In fact it’s the near perfect marketing tool for the SMB. So, if you have been hesitant or think it’s over hyped, now is the time to put those thoughts aside and get on board or get left behind.
Here’s how to get started with social media content marketing
- Important – devise a strategy and plan before you leap into a new program.
- Recognize that Social Media/Content Marketing, like any form of marketing is not a path to instant gratification. You may notice early small successes, but overall patience is a must for effectiveness. Make it a long-term commitment. Six months is bronze, 1 year is silver and 2 years is gold. Give it time an reap big rewards.
- Make the decision whether to do your program in house or use an outside firm/agency. Taking it outside is not expensive. You can get it done professionally and effectively for about $600 per month and eliminate all the headaches associated with inexperienced in house implementation.
- DO NOT use an intern or inexperienced person to accomplish your SMCM program. It’s way too critical to its success to take the chance. This is an investment to ensure growth.
- Should you decide to implement an in house program you must be consistent in your blog posting…minimum of 6 per month, every month.
- Establish both a Facebook and a Twitter account for your business and auto feed your blog posts to these social media platforms. Post other short information to Facebook and Twitter 4-5 times per week.
- Social Media/Content Marketing posts should have a focus of engaging and helping your audience, rather than for the sole purpose of selling your product/service or hyping your business. Sales will come as a byproduct of the help you offer.
- Establish a Google Analytics account in order to measure effectiveness and traffic.
- Offer FREE downloads/information to help the searcher. This will generate leads. Allow them to find you, rather than the “find um and beat um into submission” old school tactic.
- Establish a sound CTA (call to action) and lead follow up plan. Have an urgency for prospect follow through and contact.
Social Media and Content Marketing is the best new age marketing of the future. It’s not a gimmick, a fad or a passing fancy. It’s is a new, highly effective, marketing tool when used correctly and consistently over the long-term.