When you own a small business, developing successful social media strategies is probably one of the last things on your mind. Dollars and cents matter to you, and spending money on marketing is expensive. Plus, who has the time to spend updating social media sites? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn… it seems there’s always a new site to join, and on top of that, it is time consuming. Extra time is not a luxury that you have when you run your own business!
However, developing social media strategies doesn’t have to be something that's completely out of your reach. With a little planning and organization, you can connect with customers on social media and still have time to run your business the way you want.
Pick Your Poison
Okay, that makes it sound pretty negative. But it’s something that you’ll have to do before you take any other steps. Just because a social media network exists doesn’t mean that you have to be on it. Your business may do very well on the most popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter—or perhaps you’re more interested in visual platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. Think about how you already connect with your customers and choose platforms that mimic that connection in an online atmosphere. You will feel more comfortable getting started like this, and in turn, you’ll interact with them in a natural way. Your efforts will give you a great start to your new marketing plan.
Create a Schedule
If you don’t have a plan going into your new marketing strategy, well… you don’t have much of a strategy, do you? After all, you wouldn’t plan a work week by just showing up whenever you felt like it. You have to create a schedule and stick to it.
The bad news is that all social media networks have different rules for posting. It can be a bit tricky to get the hang of the rules, especially when you consider that most of them are unspoken. But in general, you should try to update at least once a day, no matter which platform you’re on. A key factor to remember here is that quality matters more than quantity. However, no matter how often you’re updating, you have to be consistent. In fact, Search Engine Watch states that sixty-one percent of marketers say content creation takes too much time, while only 44 percent report that they have an actual marketing strategy. Don’t let yourself be one of those unprepared marketers. Create your schedule and you’ll already be ahead of the game.
Try Different Things
After you start sending out updates on your social media profiles, you’re going to have to monitor the responses you get. When you first start out, you probably won’t see much interaction, so you will have be the one who reaches out to others. Find people who share your interests and leave comments for them. Strike up a conversation about their products and services. Find potential customers by searching for people with interests related to your business. Offer an incentive for following you—a coupon, entry into a raffle, anything you can think of that will get your customers excited about your business.
Next, monitor your success by keeping track of visitors to your site through webmaster tools and analytics (if you don’t know how to sign up for these things, check out this guide). Look at common themes that seem to do well—do your customers enjoy picture posts? Do they like contests or special coupons? Whatever seems to be getting the most interaction is what you’re going to want to keep doing.
Keep at It
Developing successful social media strategies isn’t something you’ll be able to do right the first time. It might be disappointing to hear, but it’s true. You must work at it, and you must be willing to try new things. You need to remember that you are not a marketer and you shouldn’t have the same expectations for yourself that you would if you hired the professionals. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy increased traffic and online visibility. With consistency and some research, you’ll be able to make a difference in your web traffic without spending a lot of money.
Of course, there is always affordable help available if you need it. At Internet Local Listings, our packages start at just $199 a month for basic marketing services. Give us a call at (888) 770-3950 or visit our site to fill out a contact request today if you would like assistance!