Why Social Media Marketing is Key for Small Businesses

Mod PR by Amy Wray Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses

Social media marketing is not a short-term fix but it can be a very effective long-term strategy for any size business to listen to and engage with customers and prospects. If you are looking for a short-term fix you are going to be very disappointed. Success does not happen overnight in any aspect of the word and when it comes to social media it takes at least 6 months to really start seeing solid results. Although, it might not be a short-term fix, social media is vital to growing your company in today’s business world. Social media marketing is here to stay and the sooner you embrace this new wave the smoother the ride is going to be.

In social media marketing there are three primary reasons and functionalities, which are building awareness, building sales and building loyalty. When you use social media for your business it is a totally different ballgame than when you use it for personal uses. If you think Facebook is simply Facebook no matter what you’re using it for, you are sadly mistaken. Social media can literally make or break your business.

When you decide to take the plunge into the social media world you need to know that just like with any business plan it requires a clearly defined strategy that incorporates goals and objectives. A recent survey showed 73 percent of small business owners are now using social media. Why? Because now with the world of social media people are reaching greater amount of audiences and social media marketing can do amazing things for your small business, but in order to do so social media must be properly implemented and maintained. Not one social media marketing plan fits all businesses. You must know how it will best be used for your business in your industry. It’s no secret that social media when added to your marketing plan can help grow businesses, boost brand awareness, skyrocket customer relations and even boost sales.

Social media helps to create a personality for your business that traditional advertising just doesn’t achieve. With social media you can create a likable personality that people will associate with your small (or big) business. Big companies have big budgets dedicated to branding and marketing… that’s a luxury that often small businesses don’t get. That’s why it is a must for business owners to take advantage of social media marketing… it is far less expensive than traditional methods.

Since we live in a incredibly well connected world, social media makes it super easy to reach out to your customers – in real time! If you’re experiencing a slow business day you can turn to your Twitter or Facebook to get people into your store by offering a special one day sale that applies when they mention your Twitter or Facebook post at checkout or use a special discount code at checkout online.

Customer Attraction and Engagement
One of the goals and objections of social media marketing is customer attraction and engagement. Social media is a wonderful opportunity to engage with customers by starting, maintaining and joining conversations. In reality in just a few clicks of the mouse you are connected to thousands of customers and contacts. It is also majorly important as a business owner to read comments left on your social media networks, this is an incredible tool for gaining direct insight from your customers (current, past and potential) and even from your competitors.

It’s not about Self Promotion
The whole idea of social media is building relationships and growing trust and you can’t do that in marketing or in real life if all you do is talk about yourself all the time. If you haven’t discovered this concept by now, here’s a newsflash: People hate hearing someone constantly talk about themselves. It’s simply unattractive and the same thing holds true in the business to customer world. Remember, social media is about creating a personality for your brand so don’t always stick to the self-promotion of your products and services. It’s okay to step away, I promise. You want to create a likable personality, gain trust and loyalty and you do that by answering questions, providing helpful information and keeping a light sense of humor that gives your customers a reason to smile.

You don’t have to be Everywhere
This is a huge mistake made by a lot of good intention business owners. When you implement social media into your business marketing plan it does not mean that you need to jump on the bandwagon of every single social media network that exists. There is absolutely no reason to be on every social media network… not all of them are going to be the right fit for your business and because there are so many different social media networks there is just simply not enough hours in the day to properly utilize all of them. If you are doing the social media yourself you know how time consuming social media can be and you also know that you need to also attend to the other aspects of running your business. Whether you run your own businesses social media networks on your own or have hired an expert, your money will be put to the best use by finding which networks are the most relevant and effective to reaching your customers. It’s important that you only focus on what is going to work the best for your business and sometimes that means just utilizing two social media networks. It’s even more important to select those most effective social media networks and then execute your time on them properly, effectively and (this is a big one) consistently! If you only take away one thing from this post make it this: A neglected social media presence will reflect poorly on your business – if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage and participate in your social media networks, then it is crucial you hire a social media expert.

Something that I stress to all clients, potential clients and whenever I am doing a speaking engagement about social media is that the social media game is CONSTANTLY changing and if you don’t keep on top of it, you WILL get left behind. Social media is not a fad or new trend, this is here to stay in the business world whether you like it or not. The popularity of individual social media outlets may rise and fall and new networks will come and go, the overall concept and value of social media maketing is here to stay in the business world.

The Dos and Don’ts of Newsletters

the dos and donts of newsletters

Newsletters can be a fantastic marketing tool for your business… if executed properly. Some people who have done their research can do this task wonderfully on their own. However, a lot of people try to save a buck by trying to do their newsletters themselves and soon discover they’re not getting the results they hoped for. You can save a lot of money, time and energy by outsourcing your newsletter needs to a public relations professional or agency. Whether you are currently doing your own newsletter, have hired someone to handle your newsletters or just tossing around the idea of starting a newsletter I have put together a list of tips for successful newsletter marketing for your business.

Do know your target audience.
Just because you have a email contact list a mile long does not mean every single person is in your target audience. Do not send your newsletter to all of your email contacts. When you start your newsletter, send an email to your contacts inviting them to subscribe to your newsletter and provide them with a link to do so.

Do decide on the frequency of the newsletter, and be consistent.
As a general rule, I recommend to my clients to send a newsletter once a week or once every two weeks and stick to that schedule. Strategic consistency is key. People don’t like to be bombarded with anything. If people feel like they are constantly seeing your name appear in their inbox they get annoyed. Annoyed is the opposite of what the goal of a newsletter. You want to captivate your audience, not drive them away!

Do provide up to date information that is interesting, relevant and engaging.
There’s a saying, “content is king,” and it’s a saying for a reason… it’s true! Before you hit the send button make sure you ask yourself these questions, “Will people want to read this information? Is this content timely? Will my readers find this information interesting?” Just because you find something interesting or think your readers should read it doesn’t mean your readers do want to read it. This is always brings the first tip back into play, when you know who your target audience is it’s much easier to decipher what they do and don’t want to read.

Do make the newsletter easy to read and visually engaging.
Think of a newsletter as short tid bits of information. It’s not a newspaper, it’s a newsletter. Make sure to keep the info short and to the point or use it to entice the reader to click on a link to read the rest of the article on your website or blog. People are also very visual creatures, so it’s important that the newsletter looks appealing. The use of colors, fonts and images help with this.

Do include upcoming events of interest to readers.
Including upcoming events in your area that would interest your readers is a great way to get the word out about events.

Monitor the open and click-through rates.
Not only pay attention to the percentage of people who clicked to open your email, but also pay attention to what links are generating interest and utilize that information as a base to develop more content.

Provide an opt-out or unsubscribe option – and honor requests.
This is golden, people! Just because you like your newsletter doesn’t mean everyone is going to like it. And that is okay! If someone doesn’t want to receive your newsletters anymore, provide them with a link that allows them to unsubscribe.

Never show email addresses of newsletter recipients in the To section. Use the BCC field.
This is mandatory. Some people are very private about their email addresses and they don’t want the world to know it. It is also just bad etiquette to put the addresses of a newsletter in the To field. This is why there is a BCC option.

Don’t sell or provide a newsletter contact list to other companies without recipient consent.  
Not only is selling or giving away email contact lists without recipients’ consent bad ethics, but it also causes your readers to lose your trust. This also goes back to not adding people to your own newsletter contact list without their consent.

Include a call to action for social media.
Include links/buttons to your Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other professional networks you use.