Navigating the social media stratosphere can be a daunting proposition for anyone, let alone a small business owner. Online marketing can be inexpensive, as there are numerous free options. But there are so many options available — can you be certain that you’re hitting your preferred audience, at the right time, with the right application. Nothing simple about that, right?
Small business owners wear lots of hats and often do not have time to research all the options, nor the budget for employing an expert firm to do that work. A study by Thrive Analytics supported that, finding that 77% of small to medium businesses struggle with this issue.
We’re here to help with a blog that will give you some helpful things to consider as you wade out into the Internet ocean, trying to send lifelines to your on-the-go customers.
Start with the Basics
To begin with, if you’re doing online marketing your business should and must have a website for people to learn about your products and/or services. At the bare minimum, a basic website should have at least four to five pages including the following:
- Introductory landing page – State why your company exists and why customers need what you offer.
- An “About” page – Tell customers more about your company or organization.
- Product or service page – Include descriptions and marketing information about your core products/services.
- A “Contact Us” page – Give customers a place to make inquiries.
Once your site is launched, you can add more pages to fill out the missing gaps of information that customers will need.
Once you have the foundation laid with a business website, you can start to investigate the path you want to take with social media.
Decide what your goals are: Create awareness? Convert traffic to customers? Increase website visits?
Determine your audience: Who would use your products or services? Can you assist them with resolving a need or issue?
Communicate a key message: Make it easy for a potential customer to understand what you offer and why. Find a social media message style that will connect with the customer age, gender and lifestyle.
The Nitty, Gritty Details
Now you’re at the stage where you can choose the channel of communication you’ll want to use. The major platforms to consider will be Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Yelp, FourSquare and Tumblr. Again, choose one or two that you believe will best reach potential customers.
Also, once you start posting, be sure that you are keeping the messages fresh, new and interesting. There’s nothing worse than having out-of-date content on a platform. You want to keep potential and current customers coming back to see what you’re posting.
Once you’ve followed the afore mentioned steps, continue to expand your efforts. Of course, the more effort you can put into this marketing method, the better the results. At the very least, be sure that the posts that you make are high-quality, relevant information.
Ask for feedback from your target audience, and then look for helpful comments that can be used to improve your site and social media interaction. Sometimes the best way to gather these comments is with a promotion or discount. For example, ask readers to comment on their best (or worst) experience dealing with a similar product or service. Offer a prize to the most interesting answer. Plus, you can use the comments as possible sales leads.
Lastly, keep track of the successes and failures of the social media campaigns with social media tools like Google Analytics. This will help you to see if the hard work of doing a social media campaign is paying off in the form of additional customers or revenue.
As you continue down the social media path, there will be additional marketing tools that you can add to your endeavors like tracking Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising and more. You can choose how far you want your efforts to go based on the time and resources you have available.
Taking the time to venture into social media marketing will help you gain a better understanding of your business, customers and market, and it can be a big help with improving your overall sales efforts.