Small business owners are always trying to do more with less. When budgets are tight and time is limited, it’s tough to know which marketing tactics offer the biggest bang for the buck. Social media marketing has gotten a lot of hype, but how can small businesses truly make social media marketing work for them? If you’re a small business, how can you attract a big social media audience, without a big company budget?
Here are a few easy tips for how to make the most of your social media marketing, no matter how small your company might be:
Create Informational Content.
Everything you post on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, ideally, should be something worth sharing. Don’t just post mundane updates about what you ate for lunch, and don’t complain about your daily struggles – instead, try to stay upbeat and informative. Share news stories for your industry. Compliment other people whose work you admire. Try to be enthusiastic and entertaining. Let the voice of your social media presence be the voice of a supportive, smart, inquisitive colleague.
Have the sorts of conversations on Twitter or LinkedIn that you would enjoy having with colleagues at work – fun and engaging, but still professional. Try to constantly be a source of helpful advice, education and encouragement to the people who follow you. Ideally, your Twitter feed, Facebook page or LinkedIn profile should leave people in better condition than they were in when they found you.
Make it Automatic.
You can use tools like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to automatically schedule your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posts. That gives you the flexibility to write content in advance and schedule it in advance for a month at a time (or more). For example, you could write a bunch of Twitter posts about industry trends, linking to news articles, and commenting on where you see your industry headed, and then schedule these social media posts to publish once or twice per day to give you a steady foundation of social media activity. Then you can supplement this automatic social media activity with daily responses to questions or conversations with other people.
It’s also a good idea to use these automatic tools to re-post some of your best content a few times in order to give people a chance to see your latest blog article or your latest podcast or video interview. There is so much content constantly being shared on social media that sometimes even our best content can get lost in the clutter – so don’t be afraid to share the same article a couple of times each day, maybe once in the morning and once in the evening, just to make sure people have a chance to see it. If you’re re-posting something for the second or third time, add a note upfront that says, “In case you missed this, here is my latest article,” or “I’m really proud of this new article and wanted to give you another chance to read it.”
Strike up Conversations with “Famous” People.
Don’t be shy! Social media is meant to be a conversation, not a monologue. Even if you’re a small business with only 50 Twitter followers, you don’t need to feel intimidated by people in your industry who have a bigger social media audience. In fact, you should seek out these industry experts and comment on their posts, and try to get mentioned or “retweeted” by them.
Getting retweeted by someone with a bigger social media audience is one of the best ways to build a bigger audience of your own. If you can earn the trust and respect of the biggest experts in your field, you’ll be well on your way to having your own reputation as an expert. Talking with industry experts on social media is also a good way to build relationships with these people that could potentially turn into opportunities to build your audience in the future.
For example, if you have a relationship on Twitter with an industry expert, you could ask them to be featured in an interview article on your company blog. Then you will have a new piece of content that you can share, and that your industry expert will have an incentive to share, thus growing the size of your audience.
The best way to get big marketing results on social media is to show some personality and character. Look for ways to be a leader. Don’t just talk about yourself, your company and your sales offerings – instead, share your expertise, show people how to make more of themselves and improve their businesses, and offer insights and problem-solving suggestions.One of the most powerful ways to build an audience on social media is to have such a strong “force of personality” (in a virtual sense) that people are drawn to you and believe in what you say. Social media, at heart, is not really about “technology,” it’s about credibility and authentic human connections.
No matter what industry or line of work you’re in, there is a world of people out there looking for help, advice and useful information. Social media marketing gives you the chance to connect with these people each day and show them how you can help solve their problems. If people like you and trust you and enjoy hearing from you each day on Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media channels, they’ll be more likely to keep following you and keep spreading the word about what you do. Give people the help that they need, and they’ll keep listening to you – and buying from you.