7 Social Media Strategies for Small Business Owners
GUEST POST – Social media is an invaluable and free tool many small businesses are not utilizing in their marketing efforts. According to StreetFightMag.com, less than 20 percent of startup businesses actually have websites that link to wildly popular social-media networks like Twitter and Facebook.
Most of the small business owners who don’t utilize social media say they simply do not have time. Other small business owners indicate they have no clue where to even begin to start a social-media campaign. Businesses cannot afford to ignore the advantages that social-media efforts provide.
Before taking advantage of these opportunities, you’ll need a website. If you don’t have a business site, or are looking for new web hosting, check out sites like www.webhostingchoice.com that offer a list of the highest rated web-hosting sites in the industry. If you are among the owners not currently using social media to grow your business, consider attending a seminar or workshop to expand your knowledge. Workshops teach small-business owners how to manage web presence, find the best platforms, use tools to measure content and share the business’s point of view in a more visual and engaging manner.
In the meantime, we’ve compiled some helpful tips to help make the most of a free-marketing opportunity, increase brand awareness and generate leads.
1. Integrate Social Media into Your Entire Business System
Small business owners should keep track of the traffic social-media networks are directing to their website. By integrating these efforts with such tools as Google Analytics and Omniture, you will clearly see the role social-media outlets play in marketing efforts.
2. Get Your Timing Right
Tweeting or posting on Facebook during the optimal time of day is crucial. The perfect timing for a restaurant to send out messages with their lunch specials is around 11 a.m., while happy-hour deals should be sent around 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to post business-related info, as they are not as hectic as Monday or as close to the weekend as Friday.
3. Give Deals and Discounts to Loyal Followers
A huge reason customers follow companies online is to hear about special deals and discounts. Offer special promotions, online deals and exclusive discounts on your social-media pages to give customers a reason to follow your company and to help generate sales and leads.
4. Their Friends Can Become Your Friends
Folks who have pages on Facebook and Twitter have an average of nearly 250 friends each. When business owners write posts and respond to customers, they promote social sharing to each reader’s network of 250+ people. By engaging with customers in conversation about your products, you can tap into that network for free.
5. Check-in Sites are Great for Promotions
Foursquare and other check-in sites can provide an excellent opportunity for cross-promotion and customer acquisitions for your company. Connect with a customer via Twitter or Facebook and thank them for visiting; But also ask them to provide feedback about your company on sites like Google Places and Yelp to get the word out.
6. Track Your Social Media Success
It’s crucial for small-business owners to know how well their social-marketing efforts are working. Keep track of metrics and measure your success over a given period. On Twitter, know which tweets are getting the most re-tweets. With Facebook, track which posts receive the most “likes.”
Once you’ve mastered the techniques of effective social-media marketing, really impress customers with a professionally designed interface. Professionally designed widgets, apps and other social-media tools can give your business an edge over the competition by driving customers to the website.
7. Choose the Correct Platform for Your Small Business
Each social-media site has a distinct style that may work best for a certain type of message or marketing idea. For instance, Facebook is great for posting photos or a new logo, but the same post lacks impact when used on Twitter. Small-business owners should experiment to learn which type of content gets the best results on a certain social-media site.