The good news is that UK small businesses and organisations are now realising the significance of social media. The bad news is that many register with as many platforms as they know without really knowing what to do next. Not planning in advance can lead to lots of wasted time and disillusionment in the whole process. Social marketing is not an overnight success. It’s like any networking – it takes time, it’s about relationships.
Planning is as important as in any business process, so I’ve put together a straightforward 8 step guide that will help you get started.
1) Sit down with your team and decide what you want to achieve. Are you looking to increase the number of newsletter or brochure sign ups or maybe become better known for a particular product/service?
2) Research your customers and potential customers. Are they active on social media? What are they looking at? What do they want to know? If you can’t find out ask them
3) Once you know where your customers are you can decide the most suitable social platforms to use to speak to them
4) If you don’t already have one, create and use a company blog. This will form the core that will drive all your other communication
5) Once you’re up and ready spend time listening (or reading) doesn’t just dive in. Gradually build your network and start building relationships
6) Ok, you’ve spent some time listening to what people are saying now you can start to add your comments. Look at what’s being said in groups related to your market and add your voice
7) Start to post your own content. This can be a mixture of original material or sharing content from other people that you think your network will find interesting. Where possible help people
8) Monitor and measure. Most social platform have their own analytics plus there are some free ad-ons you can use before moving to more sophisticated paid ones. The beauty of social media is that you can see it working.
The biggest trap to avoid is overtly selling. I see lots and lots of posts that are pure and simply direct selling. The clue is in the name, SOCIAL media. Today people dislike being sold to. Everyone does some research first and always deal with people they trust. Social media is a means to gain that trust and to make sure that when someone is looking to buy a widget, your widgets are already implanted in their mind.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a headache for many small businesses. Many think it a waste of time and can't see the point and those who can are often worried about being taken for a ride by those who practice the 'dark art' of SEO.
Well, the bad news is that small businesses can't really afford to ignore it any longer. However, the good news is that the new search algorithm from Google, the Panda 4.0 should help.
The phrase 'content is king' is as well worn as a comfy pair of shoes, but from now on content really is king. The new search criteria will reward those web sites that provide good, original, authoritative content that is frequently updated whilst penalising those sites that just re-hash existing material. In addition you will be rewarded by how easy and intuative your web site is to navigate.
If you view your web site as a an online catalogue you had better start thinking again and if you haven't got a blog onto which you regularly post then again, start thinking.
Fortunately Google have uploaded a post that will help in your likely review.
You've been doing the usual things such as asking questions, giving opinions and posting pictures. Now it's time to take your facebook page to a new level and this infiogram from pagemodo shows you how.
David has worked in advertising and marketing services for 30 years both client and agency side. Having worked with local, national and muliti-national clients, he set up DLH Marketing to help small organisations, owner managed businesses and those organisations without in-house marketing.