Small business owners are the lifeblood of our economy. According to The U.S. Small Business Administration, since 1995, small businesses have attributed close to 50 percent of the total United States private payroll. That’s pretty impactful isn’t it? What isn’t that remarkable is how some small business owners utilize internet marketing or social media. Some don’t even know what it is or shy away from it thinking that it can’t help or grow their customer base or business.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ are just a FEW of the social sites that every small business entrepreneur needs to know about. Why? They can be the main conduit to the individuals and groups who are the target audience for your business.
As a business owner you’re probably thinking that you don’t have time to learn about social media or internet marketing. Actually, you don’t have the time NOT to. There isn’t a definitive number that captures how many large corporations or small businesses have a social media presence or use the internet to market their services, but let’s look at the number of people who are signed up on two of the largest social media networks. Cnet.com reported late last year that Facebook has a billion users. Twitter is not far behind at half a billion users. In order to reach them you have to have a presence as well. Depending on your business, Facebook or Twitter may be right for you or perhaps other social sites would be best. After you determine this, here are 10 tips that will help you maximize your social media efforts and activities.
- Pinpoint why your business is unique and promote the hell out of it in creative ways! Do you make cakes that have a special ingredient that cause people to dance and smile after eating them? Zone in on the special value you provide and build a framework to highlight it in your internet marketing plan.
- Create a catchy offer. If you’re an author, give away a specific number of books when you hit benchmark social media follow numbers or give away tickets to an event you’re appearing at. Always make sure the offer benefits your audience!
- Provide continuous value to your followers. Whether it’s promotions, how-to videos or personal advice or reflections about your business experience, make sure you’re connecting directly to your social media supporters. People always respond favorably when they feel valued and are more inclined to share this feeling with others.
- Create a lead generation website or blog. We all like pretty websites don’t we? As a business owner looking cute is nice, but if your site doesn’t include a way to attract new followers or customers then it’s not going to be of much use to you. Make sure you have plenty of ways built in to your site that allow visitors to share your content. Also, provide coupons and promotions and other special offers for your products often to ensure you are reaching new potential customers.
- Implement a follow-up system. If your followers are responding to your content, communicate with them. If they are asking questions, get back to them in a timely matter. If your site collects emails, create a newsletter so you can let them know what’s going on with your business, that way they always feel connected to you. Followers or customers who are ignored will leave.
- Use an “attractive character” to endear your business, blog or product to your audience. The Geikco Gecko, Jared for Subway and Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials are great examples of attractive characters. Of course as a small business owner, you may not be able to create larger than life characters as these so you will have to be creative. Is your cat or dog a ham? Use them in your marketing! Do you have a friend who is a graphic artist? Ask them to create a unique logo or artwork for you.
- Provide ease of use on your site. You can have an amazing product, blog or service, but if your site is not organized in a way that people can find what they are interested in a quick and efficient manner, all of that greatness will be for naught.
- Encourage evangelism! One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website or blog is to get others to do it for you! Build collaborative relationships with other blogs and businesses, place social media share buttons in prominent places so visitors can share content easily and be active on other sites and in your business community. If you show interest in other’s projects and businesses they will share the wealth.
- Use powerful keywords. In order for people to find your site or blog on Google, it has to be ranked high. Employ the use of Google AdWords for assistance in selecting the best keywords to include on your site and also do your own searches online to test out the best headings and titles to use in your posts.
- Build a social media strategy. Seems simple right? Create a Facebook or Twitter profile and then the people will come! It doesn’t quite work that way unless you’re a high profile celebrity so you have to create a specific strategy in order to maximize your social media efforts. Determine how many followers you want, how often you will engage them and track your success by analyzing your profiles through Google Analytics or other social engagement programs.
The proper use of these tips should help you maintain and grow your social communities and customer base! Let me know if you need a consultation or additional information on internet market and social networking.
About The Author: Bob Mangat is the Owner/President of Invigo Marketing Systems Ltd, a leading Vancouver SEO Company offering a variety of services including Internet Marketing Consulting, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, List Building and Website Design/Redesign.