Most small businesses we come into contact with realize how important social media is for their business and recognize the need to have a presence on the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Most businesses who are too busy running their bricks and mortar business tend to find social media marketing and the technology surrounding it, intimidating.
Social media can seem daunting at first but because many small businesses realize that social media is not a fad and it is here to stay they generally have some questions that they would like answered before they decide to get involved.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. Hopefully a question that you might have asked is included:
1. What is Social Media Marketing?
You do this by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. This process allows you to build online communities or networks, encouraging customers to participate and engage with your business, which will promote customer loyalty to you and your brand.
2. Why does my business need to get involved with social media?
The way that your customers communicate and use the Internet has changed dramatically. Most people now access the Internet via their smartphones and tablets where the information is literally there at their fingertips. There are literally billions of people of all ages now using social media and they expect your business to be there too.
By embracing social media your business will:
- Increase your online presence
- Raise awareness of your products and services
- Build loyalty with existing customers
- Build trust with prospective customers
- Increase website traffic through social sharing
Not only that, but you could see an increase in your search engine rankings. Likes, shares, tweets and social authority are all taken into consideration in the search engines’ algorithms.
3. HELP! I don’t know where to start
Marketing on social media sites is not really much different from other marketing campaigns that you may have run. It is a good idea to start with a plan. Write down your goals and objectives you want to achieve with your social media campaign.
With a well-structured plan you will be able stay focused and not get distracted, which is so easy to do with social media.
4. How much time should I spend on Social media each day?
It does not have to be particularly time consuming, especially if you set off with a clear objective about what you want to achieve.
The only time it gets time consuming is if you are allowed to get sidetracked by all of the ‘noise’ and activity happening on the site. You can easily have a profitable marketing campaign by spending just 10 to 20 minutes in the morning and 10 to 20 minutes in the evening.
5. When should I post on social media?
The best time is when your target audience is likely to read your posts. In order to determine the best time to post consider the lifestyle of your target audience. For example, if you want to target people who work, post in the morning when they are most likely be on their way to work and check their messages on the journey. You could then post at lunchtime and again when they are travelling home again after 5pm.
If want to target an audience that is retired or does not work, post mid-morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening.
With practice and experience you will soon be able to decide when the best time to post comments for your customers. The secret is to test and to measure the responses and comments that your posts generate (or the lack of them). Over time you will discover what works best for your business, industry and customers.
6. Which social media platform should I use?
There are a number of popular platforms you could choose from. Facebook is the most obvious choice with well over 1 billion users and the number is growing daily.
Facebook is a good choice for businesses as you can target audiences with a variety of advertising options. Not only that, but Facebook is now part of people’s daily routine and they check their accounts many times a day.
Twitter is another platform, which is part of people’s lives. It is fast paced and gives users access to information and news much quicker than traditional news channels.
As tweets are limited to just 140 characters you need to learn how to get your message across using as few words as possible. It is a reminder of how people’s attention span on social media and the Internet in general is extremely short because there is just so much information out there. People tend to scan information online rather than read huge amounts of information.
3 relatively new social media platforms are becoming incredibly popular.
The first one is Pinterest. Pinterest is a visual platform used to upload and share photos of literally any subject you can think of. It has a huge female following but is starting to level out as more men are discovering and using it.
Google+ (Google Plus) is starting to flex its muscles now. It is owned by online giant Google, so has huge financial backing. Google+ is widely tipped to be the social media channel to challenge Facebook as the king of social networks.
LinkedIn is a business-to-business social media platform. It is a lot more formal and corporate than the other social platforms. It is an excellent way to connect with peers and network professionally within a specific trade or industry.
There are many more platforms but these are the ones that are more widely used by businesses.
7. How much does Social Media cost?
If you are a small business with little or no marketing budget then the only cost is the time you need to buy out of your busy working day.
If you have a modest budget and would like to increase your company’s exposure then you could consider Facebook advertising, which can be affordable and very effective.
This is not a definitive list of the most commonly asked questions not the list of possible answers provided.
As with many areas of marketing it is always best to tailor the marketing strategies within the context of your business, industry, customers, budget and time.
If your question has not been answered then please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to share our experience and expertise with you.
As we said earlier, social media is not a fad and it is here to stay. It is being used by your customers on a daily basis.
Another point that is worthy of a mention is that Social Media is not just for big brands!
You don’t have to be a global conglomerate to get involved with social media. In fact social media platforms give all businesses, no matter what their size, a level playing field.
Small and medium sized local businesses just like yours can reap terrific benefits from the range of opportunities that social media has to offer too.
A lot of small businesses that we talk to find social media daunting. Many don’t know where to start or lack the time simply because they’re too busy running their business.
That’s why we’ve designed our cost effective local business social media management service.
You can trust us to look after every aspect of your social media strategy – from publishing new content to responding to customer reviews.
Engage with customers and grow your audience…
To successfully grow your audience on the social web, you need to be actively sharing relevant content that engages with your fans and followers.
Providing good relevant content and engaging with your customers will keep your business in their minds and help generate awareness of your products and services.
Our team helps to grow your audience by:
- Selecting the social networks and mobile applications that right for your business and industry
- Building your social profiles so they look professional and can be found by people searching for businesses like yours
- Creating and sharing great content to attract new followers, likes and links
- Starting conversations with your customers and talking about topics relevant to your business
- Promoting your content across multiple social media websites to maximize your online exposure
- Helping you to design and publish special offers that will attract new customers and encourage customer loyalty
- Publicising any special events that your business is holding
We will also look after your online reputation.
Anyone in business knows that your reputation is everything.
The Internet has made it easy for people to share their thoughts on your business by posting comments and reviews.
Regardless of whether they love you or are just letting off steam, it’s important that you monitor and respond to your customers as quickly as possible.
Our team helps to protect and enhance your reputation by:
- Helping your fans spread the good word online about your business
- Monitor social media websites for people talking about your business
- Respond quickly and appropriately to all customer reviews and messages
- Reply promptly to positive reviews to create long-term relationships
- Act quickly to identify negative reviews to enable you to resolve complaints
- Thank customers who check in after their visit
We hope that this article has provided you with enough information to see how important social media marketing is and how it can benefit your company.
If it has and you want to give your business a wider audience then we look forward to hearing from you so that we can show you what we can do for your business.