Getting started with Social Media Marketing for your online business
Integrating social media into your business marketing activities is essential in today’s information and social media age. At first glance, it can seem overwhelming, directionless or like opening a can of worms. But it doesn’t have to be this way. By working with an online marketing partner like Fun4business, you can create an optimal and manageable plan that is in alignment with your business vision, goals and objectives.
Here is an overview of the basics of social media marketing.
First, you need to research your target market and figure out which social networks they are on.
Social media marketing follows the same rules as traditional marketing. The more you know about your target market, the better business strategy you can apply to your efforts. Each social media platform appeals to a different type of person or business. It is important to research demographics about your target market and then identify which social networking sites they use regularly.
How do you find out this kind of information? Here are some ideas to get started:
- Develop a list of 5-10 questions to extract specific information from your respondents: “Are you on social media?” “Which ones are you on?” “How often do you participate?” “Do you use social media for mainly business or pleasure?” “Have you ever clicked on any sponsored or paid-for ads?” etc.
- Ask your current clients – you will likely have a better response rate if you phone them up and have a conversation. (This is also a great opportunity for you to check in with your customers and stay in touch!)
- Send out a survey to all of your contacts by email. Be sure to follow up. Alternatively, run an in-store survey via paper responses or an online survey app.
- Take a look at what your competitors are doing: Which social networks are they on, how much do they contribute and does it look like they engage in paid advertising. Some may expertly utilize channels like writing LinkedIn articles, which they share to their connections, and link back to their websites and Calls to Action. Sometimes the best social media marketing is where the true objectives are hidden and it looks like (and is) a regular friendly post or update.
Next – Strategically select your business Social Media channels.
We recommend choosing a maximum of 2 or 3 social media channels and really focusing your efforts on these main networks. By limiting your social media business channels, you are ensuring you have the time and resources to participate fully and not over-extend yourself. For example, establishing a social media marketing plan whereby you schedule time in your calendar to maintain 2 networks is manageable. On the other hand, if you commit to say 6 networks, you are more likely to get overwhelmed and either give up or not be able to keep up.
This may present you with some personal challenges. For example, let’s say your target market is on Facebook, and you do not have a personal Facebook account and do not like the idea of joining up. This preference needs to be taken into consideration before deciding to launch a business Facebook page or group. Be honest with yourself and your desired level of commitment. Think outside the box for alternatives and solutions; for example, you can delegate someone else to manage the Facebook initiatives?
Keep in mind that social media networks generally only allow unique usernames. This means that you might want to claim your preferred username on multiple social networks that you plan to utilize in the future. On the other hand, it isn’t good form to sit on those usernames for decades, without using them at all – called “squatting”.
Once you have decided on your networks, the next step is creating professional Social Media Profiles, with consistent branding across the board.
On each network, you will need to create a “Company Page,” which entails uploading your logo and a large banner image, as well as crafting taglines, short and long descriptions, etc. Therefore, it is efficient to write out a Social Media Profile template with all of your required business information, and use this Business Profile Sheet on all of your networks. This is kind of like your company’s home base on each network, and from which your free and paid campaigns will stem.
Create a Social Media Marketing Plan
Research and plan what type of updates and posts you think would best market your business. For example, first look at whether your purpose is to educate, entertain, inspire, share important information, sell products, etc. Then match appropriate content with each type of post. Be sure to mix and match, and not come off like a robot.
Create a posting schedule
Planning out your posts 3-6 months or even one year in advance allows you to create flow within a big picture view and strategy. For example, January is a great time to look at the upcoming year in advance. You can highlight holidays, special occasions, seasonal promotions and more, ensuring that you hit these important dates. Creating and adhering to a schedule allows you to work more efficiently, like creating multiple posts at the same time and then scheduling them to auto-post. Additionally, this will ensure you don’t duplicate posts or send out uncoordinated information.
Integrate with your Email Marketing
Coordinate your social media efforts with your email marketing strategy.
A different kind of tone…
Understand that social media marketing is more informal, bordering on “amateurish-looking” compared with other marketing mediums and depending on the nature of your business. Aggressive marketing tactics mostly have no place here; softer sales rule this domain. Notice your own preferences! What posts appeal to you or repel you?
Depending on your overall online marketing plan, including number of networks, updates, and business profiles you have, you may want to consider using a program like Hootsuite to manage all of your accounts in one place. It also enables sophisticated scheduling and options. For example, you could literally schedule an entire year’s worth of campaigns in advance and then automate it.
Choose to work with Fun4business!
When working with Fun4business on your social media strategy, you have a couple of options available:
- You can outsource the bulk of the work to Fun4business.
- We can teach you how to manage your social media accounts for business and you can do the maintenance part yourself. Or perhaps you are able to split up the tasks between yourself and your associates, employees, etc.
Here at Fun4business, we work with you to find a balance that will be the right solution. It may take some trial and error and experimentation.