10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business

As small business owners embark into the often scary world, of self managing their social media campaigns, many do so blindly.  The old saying goes, a little education goes a long way. There are a plethora of ways to drive traffic to a website, increasing brand awareness throughout the site, and potential customers through Social Media Marketing. The ability to reach people in real time and manage the audience has never been easier. The startup tech world has certainly seen to that.

Social Media Marketing takes time, resources and expertise. The tangible benefits of effective social media are … Constant exposure online, more traffic website, information sharing, better lead generation, better search ranking (SEO), increased brand awareness, direct customer feedback and service, and commitment to customers. Social media is not a one shot approach however, and it definitely takes patience, persistence and passion to achieve some of these benefits. oGoing is a US social network for small business. Over ten thousand entrepreneurs, small business owners, startups, service providers and SMB are using oGoing to connect, share, network, promote and grow their business using the latest social media.

“oGoing is helping many small businesses build their social media presence, promote and share their products and services, generate warm leads, and attract new customers.” Sanjay Dalal, CEO. Sanjay has over fifteen years leadership experience at emerging technology companies in Silicon Valley and established innovators in key positions of business development, product management and marketing.

Here are Sanjay’s 10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business:

1. Create a social media plan 
Many owners think social media means creating a new account and sharing couple of updates… Worse yet, they do the same thing on multiple social media channels and expect the same results. “If you build it, they will come!” Not quite. Social media is not a field of dreams on auto-pilot. When owners don’t get any traction, they give up quickly thinking that social media doesn’t work. The reality is that they did not establish a real plan.

2. Outline specific goals 
What are the specific measurable goals after three, six or nine months using social media? For instance, by using social media, would the business create 50 new connections resulting in 20 prospects and 10 leads? Can social media help generate 100 new visitors to the company’s website? These are just a few examples of specific goals marketers and leaders could establish to measure the impact of their social media efforts.

3. Identify the stakeholders 
Who will be doing social media for the business? This is an important question. Many a times, the owner does social media himself or herself (this can get pretty expensive since owners are now taking time away from their work), or asks a family member. Some businesses are hiring interns or consultants to do social media. If social media can deliver the results versus the aforementioned goals, the business can make an informed investment in hiring additional resources for social media.

4. Allocate weekly time for social media 
Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to social media. Time and frequency of posting updates is crucial. Keeping an eye on trends and alerts relevant to your business, and seeing what your customers are doing and saying matters. Interacting regularly and having conversations with your customers is necessary. Rule of thumb: Allocate at least two hours a week per social media channel!

5. Start with one or two social media channels 
Each channel takes time to manage. Each channel takes time to fruition. When a business starts with too many channels at once, they are not able to engage effectively with potential customers on any channel. Social media marketing requires strategy, focus and execution. If a company wants to engage with thousands of small business service providers, owners and entrepreneurs, promote their products and services, and attract new customers,oGoing is a great small business social network.

6. Find and know your customers, influencers and partners 
Set up custom alerts for specific terms pertaining to the company’s customers, industry, influencers, and trends. Create custom searches on the social networks by keywords, customers, and also the competition. The more a business listens and learns, the more knowledgeable and able it becomes in serving their customers and growing their social media presence.

7. Connect, engage and promote your customers 
Focus on connecting and engaging with a few customers. A business can engage with customers and prospects by promoting their updates, by sharing what they are saying, by mentioning them frequently, by replying to their questions, by asking them questions, by inviting them to events, by asking them for feedback or by sending them a direct message. Frequently engaging with customers and frequently promoting what they share ultimately leads to better customer satisfaction and higher sales.

8. Ask questions, share insights, tips and best practices 
Numerous studies have shown that when a business asks questions in their updates, the percentage of responses go up. Even when a business wants to share a tip or best practice, the engagement is higher when the update is posted as a question. The key to social media success is to keep the posts real, conversations authentic, content fresh, and the tone enthusiastic and funny.

9. Become “The subject matter expert, i.e. the authority” 
This is the holy grail of social media. Can the company become the authority for a particular domain of knowledge? When customers seek out the company’s updates, favorite them, share their updates, respond and mention them, add the company profile to lists or group, the company achieves authority status. These experts share some common traits – they are real, successful, inspiring, edgy, and love sharing their knowledge.

10. Analyze, repeat and modify the plan as needed 
Did the company realize the aforementioned social media goals? If the company followed through on the nine success tips above, it should achieve most of the said objectives. How does one achieve all the goals? It’s quite simple: Do more of what’s working. Correct what’s not. Be nimble! Leverage the many tools available in the market place for social media analytics, reporting and management. The best barometer for success: Is the company attracting more customers, and are the customers engaged?

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