Social media has become a haven for small business owners for marketing and promoting their products and services to potential customers online. Small businesses can freely use social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Foursquare to promote their brand to social media users. We know that most consumers are now using the social media. Current statistics tell that there are more than a billion active users on Facebook and also more than a billion monthly unique visitors on YouTube – two of the largest social networking sites in the world. Thus, small business owners and entrepreneurs cannot ignore social media. They have to learn social media marketing (SMM) to grow their business. Here are 16 social media marketing tips for small businesses.
1. Use tools. Social media, itself, is a tool. It is a mother to many other tools that you can use for social marketing. Small business owners should learn how to use tools to save time, especially if they don’t have a team to do all the tedious tasks of marketing on social media. There are many tools available on the Internet to make your SMM life faster and easier – and a lot of them are free. You may read these 45 Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing from Social Media Examiner to get some useful tips on where to find those tools and how to use them.
2. Target your market. Make sure you will hit the bull’s-eye on you social media marketing campaign. Learn how to target your audience by doing your market research. Learn how to use specific keywords or search phrase in your content (i.e., title, headlines, description and main content) when publishing blog posts, videos and images. Furthermore, learn geo-targeting (targeting a specific location) and demographic targeting (targeting a particular age, gender, interest and profession) to ensure that you will only be promoting your products to the right market.
3. Be a data scientist. To accurately target your audience and to make sure that your marketing campaign will be a success, learn how to gather intelligence and utilize them. Your social media tools will not work if you don’t know how to use them. The information they will provide to you would be wasted if you don’t know how to analyze, understand, and utilize them to make better business judgments and marketing decisions. There are many ways to become a data scientist, but the first step is to learn how to make a series of experiments.
4. Be a psychologist. Social media is not social without people. Small business owners have to learn how to understand human behaviors. They have to reach not only the minds and thoughts of their audience, but also their emotions. Social media tools are only here to help us facilitate the process of social media marketing, but the main essence of marketing is still about people. Thus, small business owners should learn how to connect and communicate as a real human and a real friend with compassion.
5. Show up. According to Woody Allen, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” Social media marketers need to show up to earn trust and confidence from their target audience. In other words, they have to fully introduce themselves by completing their company or personal profiles. Confidence and transparency are important when marketing your business on social media. Thus, don’t make your profiles and about pages lack important information that your potential customers need to know. If you have great things to show that will make your business more reliable, like certifications, good testimonials, and proof of brand excellence, showcase them on your pages.
6. Be a great story teller. Social media is a form of Information technology, but its essence is more on the information rather than on the technology – and we know that information comes from humanity. Social media marketing is more about connections and conversations. Therefore, in order to succeed in this field, you have to express yourself and share your experiences and stories. For example, when you share posts and links on Facebook, Google+, and other social networks, don’t just copy and paste your link – but tell a good story about it.
You don’t say this (we can see the title and you don’t have to repeat it again):
You say this (tell a good story about your link):
7. Learn how to shut your mouth. Don’t show up your 100%. You have to learn how to restrain confidential information about your business or about yourself. Social media, like Facebook and Twitter are very tempting when it comes to self-expression. But we cannot deny that social media marketing is a game, and there are many competitors who are perhaps spying on you. To succeed in every business, you have to learn how to shut your mouth. Besides, you also need to learn how to think before you click to avoid disasters, such as offending people or ruining your personal reputation.
8. Be an influencer. You have to continue promoting your business and personal brand to more people to constantly grow your networks. Do not ignore numbers. Your number of Facebook followers, Google+ circles, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, blog readers, LinkedIn networks and other social media followers will determine how influential you are. More importantly, do not ignore the quality of those numbers. Make sure that you have built up relationship with your followers and those numbers are actually engaging with you. Check out these 3 top influencer marketing campaigns of 2013 from Social Media Today to learn some great lessons about becoming an influencer.
9. Be an expert. To make people believe your stories and to become an influencer, you have to prove to them that you’re an expert in your field. You have to show them that you know what you are talking. Hence, make sure that you have chosen an industry or category where you can provide a top-notch service or solution. Being an expert is also a continuous process. Therefore, you have to continue training and practicing to be more competitive in your niche.
10. Implement SEO. Search and social should be integrated. To maximize traffic and attract visitors from search engines, SEO your social media pages. Social media pages, like Facebook Page, Twitter profile, Google+ Page, YouTube Channel and Pinterest Page are also indexed by Google and other search engines. Hence, have a SEO in mind when creating title, description and even username in your social media pages. Here’s some useful tricks on how to SEO optimize your social media pages from Koozai.
11. Invest money. Time is gold. That is why small business owners should learn how to invest money to save their time. Just like paid search engine marketing or search PPC advertising, you can also try paid social media marketing or social PPC to speed up reaching some of your business goals, such as improving your traffic, exposure and lead generation. If you are targeting people from social media giant Facebook, here’s a guide on how to advertise on Facebook.
12. Practice visual marketing. The world is now filled with people who are busy and always on the run. That is why it’s hard to catch their attention. Most people would not click and invest time on reading an article or a story, especially if the title and headline are not catchy. One effective way to bring your messages to social media users is to convey your brand messages through rich images, like infographics. Visit Infogr.am, Piktochart.com, Visual.ly, and Easel.ly to start learning how to create an engaging inforgraphic for your social media marketing campaign.
13. Use video and audio marketing. Leverage content marketing by using videos and Podcasts. Videos are powerful marketing media that small businesses can optimize to bring their marketing and advertising messages to target audience. You can promote your interesting videos in YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo.com and other top video sharing websites. You can also share your vids on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and most social networking sites. To start your video marketing, here’s a guide for marketing at YouTube from Kissmetrics.
14. Follow the rules. A simple yet a very important social media tip is to follow the terms and rules of social media you are in. Whether it’s Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube or other social network, you have to obey the rules to avoid being banned or penalized.
15. Be updated. Social media marketing is a very competitive arena. Social networking sites are also evolving fast. They are constantly changing rules, design, and usability. Therefore, social media marketers should always do their own research and be updated with the current news about social media.
16. Wow your audience. Finally, always have the passion to highly satisfy or wow your target audience, existing customers, prospects, and everyone who will meet you and your business, whether online or offline. Remember that marketing is fundamentally driven to providing people and customers a great experience. This customers’ great experience is where all word-of-mouth marketing begins. Take note that even if you have a good social media marketing or advertising campaign, if your customers will have a bad experience with your business or products, all your SMM efforts would just be wasted. Hence, take this social media tip as the mother of all the tips above.
Small businesses can’t ignore the power of social media, as we are already living in the social media era from desktop to mobile or wearable applications. To be competitive and successful in business, business owners and entrepreneurs should learn how to be adaptive and resourceful with the available technologies that the world could offer. However, we should not always rely on these technologies. We should not always rely on tools, scripts and applications. Social media marketers have to put first humanity in the heart of their social media marketing campaign. Besides, information technology is more about information, connection, conversation, and relationship rather than technology.