So you have gotten all excited about Social Media Marketing (SMM) and Internet Marketing (IM) and the benefits it will have on your small business. You are ready to reap the benefits. You have heard all about Facebook and Twitter, Blogging, Social booking marking sites, review sites, Foursquare, Manta, Merchant Circle, Videos, Youtube, Vimeo, Google + etc etc.
So you are all fired up and start going to these sites and setting up your accounts / business pages. Awesome! But after about 6 hours at the computer, you have only logged your business on Google places – which is incomplete as they need to send you a pin, same thing for Foursquare, Manta is set-up and so is your Twitter account with no followers and 2 Tweets entered by yourself. You have finally figured out how to set-up a Facebook page, but you haven’t got any “likes’ therefore FB won’t give you a unique company page name until you reach 25 “likes”. This sucks! And guess what tonight after dinner you will start setting up your blog.
When you get to that you don’t know your way around and it takes you about a week to settle on design and start adding some meaningful content. You have posted everyday to your FB page, you still only have 15 “likes”. You have tweeted everything from what you are having for dinner, the song you love, your house warming and fed lots of info about your company. Damn but you haven’t made your first video yet, nor uploaded it, you forgot about the Google and Foursquare pins,and what about business listing directories and article sites blah blah blah….You get the picture right?
It sucks and is not at all fun. It is a load of horse stuff right? NO. You need a plan. First of all if you are a small business you can hire a firm to assist, but reality is you probably only have a limited budget. So GET IT RIGHT. Here are some tips:
1. What do you actually want from SM and other IM channels? Lots of followers, people to read your blog, access to new leads, engage existing customers, be seen as the expert, get positive ratings, get more traffic, targeted traffic and leads?
2. What are you selling or offering? Are you a dentist, Booze company, Photographer or a ball bearing salesmen? It makes a difference here. Your strategy will depend on what you are selling, offering or researching. Trying to run a SM campaign will be very different for a ball bearing salesmen compared to a booze company. It is not one size fits all.
3. Mark out a plan. What you want and how you think you are going to go about it. Draw it up.
4. Simplify. Start with what I call your “Key Foundation”. Your website is the first part of that foundation and should be the anchor. Then onto that attach 2 other channels, your blog and your facebook page and concentrate on those first. Many folks neglect their website which is a big mistake. And here we don’t mean being pretty, we mean being VISIBLE!
5. Get in a specialist consultant or company. If you choose the right company it will SAVE you, thousands!!! I can assure you. This is their area of expertise and will save you hundreds of hours. You should be focusing on what you do best.
6. Implement the strategy. Go for it. Be persistent and patient.
7. LISTEN. This may bruise your ego somewhat. But you simply cannot barge into SM channels and expect everyone to listen to you. Guess what, the conversation has been happening before you came and will continue to do so when you go to sleep. SM allows you to engage and listen into what consumers are talking about. Think walking into a party – you don’t stand at front door and shout. ” Hey everyone I have 15% off all massages for next 2 days”. “Also on July 4th I will give you and eyebrow wax for $5 bucks”. “Husbands please come along and buy a new range of male nail polish I offer”. After 2 minutes, the host will come up and say. “Mate do you mind shutting up for a second?” – And guess what? No one will want to engage with you after that in any case….Same principle.
8. Continue to monitor and adjust accordingly. Work WITH your consultant, it is your company too and you should be involved in SMM and IM.
9. Continue to engage YOUR customers. It is not just 1 way traffic of you feeding sales offers, coupons etc etc.
10. Grow accordingly. Once you have the above and under control, attach more and more components. That is where the consultant / specialist can assist too. They can get you set-up and visible with Video, SMM, IM, local business listings etc, to go along with your efforts.
Remember, your website is the anchor. Developers don’t always know about SEO. Get an SEO expert at the beginning. Your goals are:
Visibility – start with your webpage, blog and Facebook and VIDEOS (get help for those)
Engage with customers – new and existing.
Follow up and continue to engage customers.
Have a plan and get real results. Don’t just throw spaghetti against the wall and hope some will stick. It will just become frustrating and overwhelming. Remember this is your business and is meant to be fun and exciting. And that is what SMM and IM can be if you have a plan.