Four Social Media Tips for Your Small Business
“Not having a social media presence is like having an unlisted phone number” Heidi Richards Mooney
Anyone who owns a computer or smart phone knows that social media is no longer a fad. It’s become a serious business necessity. Its where people, your customers, are looking for companies to do business with. Your customers are spending time on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Quora and a host of others today. Which means, if you don’t have a presence, they are finding the competition. You’ve probably already read that if Facebook were a country, it will likely be larger than China in less than 3 years. With a page rank of 3, YouTube® is the 3rd largest website in the world and still the 2nd largest search engine in the world surpassed only by Google (for now).
If you own a small business now more than ever you need some cost-effective marketing tools. And social media is cheap! In fact, for the most part, it’s FREE. Except of course, for T-I-M-E. And we all have the same 24 hours in a day of which roughly 8.5 of those is spent on our professions, businesses and careers. And it seems like we have even less time to spend networking in person which means we have to try and spend our time wisely and effectively networking the way so many people are these days – online.
There are a lot of and questions and confusion about social media too. With all the social media sites, it can get downright frustrating. Where do we spend our time? How much time should we spend online? And what should we do when we are online? All of these are valid questions. There are no simple answers. Except this. Spend your time online where your customers are most likely to spend their time. How much time? That depends. Are you doing it all by yourself, or do you have some help? Most small business owners wear many hats, one of which is the marketing department. The best way to decide how much time is to schedule 15 minutes a day to begin with. See what type of results and responses you are receiving. If very little, alter the time of day you are spending online AND the amount of time. There is no one size fits all formula. The important thing here is to spend time. Schedule it as part of your regular routine. Just like you do making sales calls, writing reports, attending meetings, paying bills. It’s that important.
Here are just a few tips to help you use Social Media more effectively:
Here’s Looking at You ~ If you’ve been thinking of putting together an informational video to help consumers make wiser buying decisions or to create an experience or just to entertain your customers, there is still time to do so. YouTube, Vimeo and a host of other video sharing sites are ready to host your videos. For a huge list of video hosting sites, check out Internet Video Magazine.
Sharing is Caring ~ What exciting offers or discounts can you share with your followers? Use the power of social media to spread the word about your latest special that is “exclusive” to those individuals who follow you. And by the way, encourage them to share the offer with their family, friends and business associates.
Use Your Blog to Spread Good Cheer ~ Now is the perfect time to shout out to your peeps that you are aligned with a cause or local charity. Encourage your customers to “give a little back” when they make purchase. Online fundraising is becoming mainstream on sites like Network for Good, Razoo, Causes and Crowdrise. Getting on the cause-marketing bandwagon is becoming mainstream for most businesses today, no matter the size. Be sure your blog posts feed into your social sites so EVERYONE in your funnel knows what your company is doing.
Monitor you Brand’s Reputation ~ If you have not been listening to what people say about your brand, now is as good a time as any to start. How do you monitor your rep? Here are a dozen FREE tools to help you monitor and manage what’s being said about your company:
- SocialMention gathers considerable data about where and how your brand is mentioned online. Especially good for large brands and companies/individuals with unique names.
- Addict-o-matic: Allows you to create a custom-made page to display search results.
- Bloglines: A Web-based personal news aggregator that can be used in place of a desktop client.
- FriendFeed Search: Scans all your FriendFeed activity.
- Google Alerts: Target keywords that are important to your brand and receive streaming or batched reports¬.
- HowSociable?: A simple way to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social Web.
- Icerocket: Searches a variety of online services, including Twitter, blogs, videos, and MySpace.
- Monitter: Everyone is talking about Twitter, but what are people talking about on Twitter? Monitter provides real-time monitoring of the Twittersphere.
- MonitorThis www.alp-uckan.net/free/monitorthis/ tracks the mention of your brand name on over 20 different search engines.
- Technorati: Search engine and monitoring tool for user-generated media and blogs. Billing itself as “the leading blog search engine,” Technorati has been helping bloggers and those with their fingers on the blog pulse stay informed for years.
- Tinker: Real-time conversations from social media sources like Twitter and Facebook.
- UberVU: Track and engage with user sentiment across FriendFeed, Digg, Picasa, Twitter, and Flickr.
Heidi Richards Mooney is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of WE Magazine for Women, a WordPress Web Designer, the author of a dozen books and a social media consultant and trainer. Heidi has interviewed hundreds of experts on Social Media Around the World. In 2003 Heidi was named one of 50 women shaping the Internet by the International Virtual Women’s Chamber of Commerce. In 2009 she was named a Twitter Woman to Follow by Only2Clicks.com. She works with solopreneurs, professionals and small businesses in ecommerce, direct sales and retail. Follow Heidi on Google Plus