Social media marketing isn’t rocket science, but it’s pretty close. Any small business owner — online or otherwise — knows that to be successful it takes a well-developed presence on not just one but as many social media platforms as possible.
Even for the experienced marketer, it can all be a little dizzying keeping track of different strategies for different platforms. Those who are just beginning often feel like they don’t even know where to start when it comes to the different platforms, and would though they may have accounts in all the right places, they aren’t using them in a way that produces the best results.
This brief guide is for those business owners who have their efforts in some of the right places, but not all, or who may just not be executing their marketing strategies the right way.
While Facebook wasn’t the original social media giant, it certainly has risen to that status today. With over 300 million users to date, Facebook provides great marketing opportunities to a wide range of potential customers, and at a price that is so cheap it’s sometimes hard to believe.
The Imperative: You absolutely need a Facebook account for your business, whether you’re an online store or a blog, Facebook is too great of an opportunity to let slide by. So, if you don’t have a Facebook account, create one.
Some businesses choose to reserve their company name for their personal accounts, but a better strategy is to build a personal profile and then create a Business Fan Page that is attached. These pages allow users to “Like” your business and register as fans. All your fans will receive any updates you post directly on their feeds.
As you are setting up your Facebook account, make sure to explore some of your competitors’ pages and see how they are setting up their pages. You don’t want to exactly duplicate their strategy, but if notice common elements in all of them, it’s probably because they have all determined that it works.
Especially over the past few years, Twitter has proven to be one of the most successful and important social media platforms on the internet. Ways to use Twitter for your business are innumerable, and a simple search will provide many specific strategies — for now we are just going to cover the basics to get you started.
The Imperative: Set up a Twitter account under your business’s name. Unlike Facebook, you aren’t limited by reserving an account with your company’s name. After you’ve created your account, search around on Twitter to get an understanding of how keyword searches work and what kind of results are possible from a search. Again, searching for competitors is important, both to see what kinds of keywords they are employing, and to see what kind of information they are tweeting.
Get comfortable with the basics of Twitter, and then look around for desktop clients that will expand the control you have over your account, as well as over the data you record about it. Some great Twitter add-on tools are TweetDeck, HootSuite, and Seesmic.
Of course, if your business is a blog, you can skip this section, but for any readers whose business isn’t blogging, it can be an extremely useful marketing tool to pick up.
The Imperative: Set up a company blog, no matter what platform you use. Posterous is free blogging platform that, along with Google Blogger, looks pretty good and is very easy to use and update. For more experienced bloggers or for those with some technical knowledge, WordPress is also a great platform for blogging that offers more customization than Posterous or Blogger.
Content is of paramount importance, so be sure to publish material that your readers and followers will want to share — ultimately that is how you will increase your presence online.
Guest Blogging & Beyond
Guest blogging is simply writing posts for other blogs and networking with other webmasters to establish mutually beneficial marketing relationships. If there is a blog that is related to your business, read a few posts on the site and see if it’s something you could contribute to. If it is, contact the webmaster and pitch your idea. If your post is popular, the host’s site will get some traffic, and you will get some links from his new traffic.
The Imperative: Search for guest posting opportunities, but don’t stop there. There are new social media platforms, such as Pinterest, that are generating a lot of buzz, and you should be scanning the web for new opportunities to get the word about your company out.
This is a guest post by Susan Wells. Susan is from free insurance quotes, she writes on topics including health/car/life insurance, mortgage, real estate.