Boulder SEO Marketing founder Chris Raulf authored this blog post for the Online Marketing Institute. Click here to view the original post on the OMI website.
If there is truth in one thing, it’s that social media is on the rise. In fact, it’s more like blowing the roof off digital marketing as we know it today. Did you know that, according to SmallBizTrends, over 85 percent of marketers view social media as a foundation for Internet marketing, but at the same time only 36 percent of marketers think their current Facebook marketing efforts are producing results. Why such a low percentage? I believe it is due to the fact that many businesses don’t have a solid small business social media marketing strategy in place.
A vast amount of small business owners blindly post content about their business with no particular strategy. Utilizing your social media channels without a plan is like throwing darts in the dark and expecting to hit a bulls-eye. If you execute the following tips into your social media marketing plan, you will convert visitors to prospects, help drive traffic back to your site, and realize your potential for nurturing client relationships.
Start With Goals and Measurement
To begin with, get clarity on why you’d spend time on social media for your business. Are you using your social media channels to increase engagement, as a customer service tool, to increase revenue, for branding, to increase referral traffic to your site, or all of the above? Once you have defined your goals, the next step is to list them by priority.
After you prioritize your goals, the next step is to identify your target audience(s). This is where knowing your demographic and interests of your target market will come in handy. If you are unsure of these key factors, Google Analytics is a great and easy way to get started. Click on “Audience” and you’ll get access to a wealth of information on who’s already visiting your website.
Another great way to digitally pull accurate data about your potential customers is to create a survey asking your customers about their buying habits, age, location, gender, and other key factors. You can easily create a survey using free tools like SurveyMonkey or KwikSurveys to send via email or by adding it to your website. An important thing to think about is that each social media channel caters to different audience demographics.
Rally the Troops; Social Media Team Management
Running successful small business social media business channels is no solo operation. You will need a team of dedicated individuals to handle a variety of aspects.
Reputation management. The great thing about social media for business is the ability to address your customers directly. Due to the fact that anyone can post any comment at any given time, it is very important to have a member of your team dedicated to addressing customer issues as well as negative comments (yes, it will happen occasionally). If a follower or friend posts content that’s inappropriate, you want to catch it right away to prevent the tarnishing of your brand. Timeliness to these customer service responses is also very important. According to Social Media Today, 71 percent of customers who experience a quick and effective brand response are more likely to recommend that brand to a new customer. This compares to 19 percent of customers who did not receive a response.
Engage with content marketing. Have you “liked” or retweeted a company’s message on your personal social media page before? If so, chances are you found the content to be engaging, fun, useful, etc. for your social network and, in turn, you wanted to help spread the word.
Having a dedicated team member in charge of content marketing will help you in the quest for social media success. The content marketing team member can leverage engaging material such as running Facebook contests, creating thought-provoking posts, or posting images and videos to get people talking about your brand. How do you rate engagement? Below are two formulas for engaging your fans, provided by SocialBakers.
If you don’t have a solid social media marketing strategy in place, you’re missing out. Even small and micro businesses are able to implement and execute successful online marketing strategies; it just takes a bit of time and the right knowledge. A great place to get started is right here. The Online Marketing Institute features a wealth of online classes that will help you get started. Don’t delay; your competition won’t wait for you to make the first move.
About the Author
Chris Raulf is founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique SEO training and consulting agency located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. Chris and his team assist local, national as well as international clients with all of their SEO, social media and content marketing needs.
Chris has 15+ years of digital marketing expertise under his belt and The Online Marketing Institute recently added him to their “Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014” list. Find and connect with Chris on LinkedIn.