Social Media Marketing Tips for New Business Owners
If you are like the majority of my Social Media Consulting clients, you have found yourself in a place where you are suddenly leading a new venture, whether that is a B2B , B2C or Non-profit venture. Social media marketing, done right, is an essential for small business. But trying to figure out your Social Media Strategy can be confusing and time-consuming.
For any new business owner, whether they are an executive that has left a company after 20 years to start their own, a novice, or a serial entrepreneur, in order to gain visibility they need a proper social media plan. It is a common misconception that this simply involves setting up a channel or page, but it requires a strategy that is going to position you and your business as thought leaders. It is essential to develop a plan that includes tools to manage and monitor, as well as providing targeted content that will give your audience a unique value and drive engagement. Without this, the start-up small business owner will waste time and money.
So where do you start? What do you post? How do you measure?
Before you start acting on social media set up, you need to develop your strategy, design tactics, and gather your tools. I am going to share the social media marketing tips that have worked for, not only my own start up, but the hundreds of small business owners that I have helped. I break down these tips into three categories:
Social Media Strategy
What strategy means for a small business owner is that they first need to know what their position is in the marketplace. You need to determine how your business is unique to the industry that you are serving. What that means for your social media approach is that you need to define your language and messaging. So what are you going to say that you do, determine the company says that it does, and how do I set up a space where the customer can voice their opinion? “How can I provide social customer care?” A quick example, stealing a bit from JetBlue social customer care is in my latest Entrepreneur Magazine social media article.
The first step is to determine your social strategy goals ranging from what I call light-weight to heavy weight metrics. Light-weight metrics include Facebook likes, new LinkedIn connects, increase in Twitter followers, more likes on Instagram, a new subscription on YouTube or even a new +1 on Google+. These metrics are important to measure on a weekly basis once you start executing. On the other end of the spectrum you have a heavy-weight metrics focus, especially important for a B2B or service-based company, is measuring high-touch engagement. This can mean anything from a share of your original content, comments on social posts, a reader coming from social media to your website, to a lead right into the social channel (e.g. like someone sending you an in-mail on LinkedIn wanting to learn more.)
To determine your strategy, light-weight to heavy-weight goals, and where you can quantify results and build a pattern you need to understand your buying cycle. For example, in a service-based business or a business with a hard to reach audience (like a C-level Executive) you need to understand that your sales cycle may be 6+ months long, where the buying cycle B2C company is highly transactional so you can track these metrics almost immediately.
The next step in determining your social media strategy is to build your audience profile. Ask yourself, “Who are my target customers? What are my customers doing on their social channels?” B2C customers are drawn to peer-to-peer channels such as Facebook and Instagram, where a B2B customer is more likely to use LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.
Determine what your customer base is doing on socials by taking the time to visit these channels and research your customers’ personal interests. Your goal is to mine these groups to start gathering insights on which social channels are delivering the most site traffic, where your users are spending their time in social, what types of content is driving the highest consumption and share ability, and so forth.
With this data, illustrate user social behaviors and traffic patterns. You will start to realize:
Finally, as a new business owner, a critical strategic piece to implement is to develop your own personal brand strategy alongside of your company’s. You need to define who you are and what you want to own as your knowledge base. What are you providing with your social media? Humor, Knowledge, Support? As an individual, your social media needs to have a direct, but authentic, match to who your customer would find if they walked into your brick and mortar. Because I want to give you some tactics and tools to move forward, I am going to stop on strategy. If you need help building your own powerful CEO brand, I offer personal branding consulting programs.
Social Media Tactics for Small Business Owners
Now that you have determined your social media strategy, you can move forward with developing your social media tactical plan. Tactics differ from Social Media Strategy as they do not come into play until you start to execute and manage your own social media. Social media tactics will differ from business to business, so you will need to determine which marketing platform is best for your B2C, B2B, or non-profit. Here are some tactics and examples:
Social Media Marketing & My Go-To Business Tools
As a social media thought leader I am expected to know and speak on Social Media tools, like my recent panel at the Social Tools conference. In case you missed it, I want to deliver some tips to you now. Like you, I am a small business owner, with less than 5 full-time employees (and many remote by project expert contractors). I want to give you a peek into my own world and the tools that I have used to streamline my own business and for all of my small business clients.
Social Media Tools