Small Business Marketing Strategy: Managing Your Social MediaBy
When it comes to small business marketing strategies, there are few that have gotten more attention in the last couple of years, and appear to be more important that social media.
Let’s take a look at why it has grown so fast, gotten such a huge amount of media coverage and lip service and at how important it really is for your business…
A few of the key reasons, in my opinion, that social media has grown so incredibly fast include (but aren’t limited to):
- Accessibility: Social media doesn’t ‘cost’ anything as far as cash out of pocket, so if the resource you feel you have to give for your business is time and not money, social media can appear to be a panacea.
- Ease of Use: Pretty much anyone can learn how to use it, it’s far from rocket science, so everyone can pretty much gain access and make a go of making social media work for their business.
- Leveling the Playing Field: Social media has leveled the playing field like almost nothing else ever has in recent history. The internet started the process, making building a business so much more accessible to so many more people and reaching target audiences so much more possible. After the Internet really took off it was hard to imagine something else would come along and open things up even more, but that’s just what Social Media has done – you want to reach your target market? With the right strategies, patience and diligence, you can build a platform that would have required a whole different set of tools in the past, now you can (almost) sit in your bed in your pj’s and truly build an empire.
- Bottom Line, We’re Social Beings: We are fascinated, intrigued and forever busy lapping up the news and information about our fellow beings. It’s all different kinds for all different people – everything from Hollywood gossip, to political musings to the next business hotshot – whatever your poison, it’s there for the taking. Social media allows information to spread like wildfire, gives us a forum for conversation with people we might never otherwise interact with and if we’re interested in and passionate about something and no one else around us is, we can find someone who has the same interests and will be delighted to play with us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Yes, it’s almost too much to fathom. And, what’s worse, is there is a new platform cropping up almost weekly, if not daily. You know the big shots – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn – then there are a handful of others that are growing a good sized following. What’s a business owner to do? You could, quite literally, spend all day, every day on social media making contacts, building relationships and your ‘business’, and some people do… often with little or now ‘bottom line’ results.
But, the really smart business owners are figuring out that ‘hours in’ does not equal ‘dollars out’. So what are you supposed to do? How important is social media for your business, anyway?
Let me put it to you this way… social media is definitely not the ‘cure all’ some people make it out to be. However, it IS one of the biggest opportunities you have as a small business marketing strategy. But that’s just it, you need a real STRATEGY.
How do you figure out what works?
The fastest and easiest way is to cut to the chase – don’t re-invent the wheel. Spend a little time and money and get a solid course in first one, then maybe two, possibly even three of the top sites. You don’t need to be doing ALL the social media sites right away (or ever, really) – and most importantly, if you are spending more than an hour a day on social media TOTAL during your own ‘business hours’ (what you do with your personal time is your own business), and you aren’t seeing tremendous results in the form of press coverage, regular leads and opportunities for exposure and flat out cash, then you are spending your time INEFFECTIVELY.
What is that time worth to you?
How much is that extra 2, 3, 5 or 10 hours A WEEK worth to you and the growth of your business? So quit mucking around and GET SOME HELP.
Find someone you trust, who seems to be doing well on one of the platforms and find out where they learned what they learned. If they didn’t take a class, interview them and try what they’re doing (only if they are ACTUALLY GETTING RESULTS). If that doesn’t work, find someone who is teaching a strategy you believe will work for you, take the time (it’ll be short in comparison to you trying to learn it on your own) to learn their methods and try them as they are recommended and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised – you just might find out that you CAN actually make money on Twitter, using Facebook or posting videos on YouTube…
Now, obviously, I have a recommendation for a Twitter course… and I feel it would be inappropriate not to mention it here. Everyone that has made the investment and actually USED the information has seen pretty great results. Some people have landed valuable clients, some terrific press, some have made direct sales. All of them have gotten something that was worth way more than what they spent on the course.
I’m still looking for a Facebook course that I really believe narrows things down and gives you the best strategies. If I come across one, I will definitely let you know, and if you know of one that you think will benefit others reading this, then put the information into the comments section below.
As for YouTube and LinkedIn – I’ll be taking a video course with an amazing woman starting this month, so I’ll keep you posted on that. She and the course come highly recommended from someone I know to be quite picky about who she learns from, so I think it will be GREAT. And, I’m still looking for a great LinkedIn program – I have my basic strategy, as I do with Facebook, and it’s working for me, but it’s not highly developed enough to share with other people yet. So, just like with Facebook, if you know someone who’s fabulous at sharing LinkedIn strategies that build business, share it here.
The bottom line really is – you can figure out this small business marketing strategy all on your own, but do you really want to reinvent the wheel? Spend a few bucks, cut to the chase and start getting clients, building relationships with key influential people, getting some great press and make your money back in WAY LESS time than it will take you to figure it out on your own. And, stay tuned because I’m going to talk about a new tool to make your social marketing MUCH more effective in the next post.