An effective social media strategy depends on finding the right sites to reach your audience. Beyond the major social networks, which attract a large, generalized audience, there are plenty of niche sites which will help you build exposure and website traffic.
Benefits of Niche Sites
Be Where They Are
The point of using social media for business is to get in front of potential customers, which means you want to be where they are hanging out. Whether you choose major or niche sites, define your audience using the following and then match it to the sites that meet your criteria:
Geography: Neighborhood, city, regional, national, international.
Interest: Consider the site’s focus: i.e., design, games, business, etc. Drill down as much as possible to match your target audience.
Demographic: Easily identifiable stuff about participants, like age, income, education. For data about social sites, start your research at PEWInternet.org. For small sites, you may have to find out from the site itself. Look for advertising information in the footer (just for info, not to advertise).
Activity: What people do at the site, i.e., simply commenting vs. watching videos. Think about the kind of content that fits with what your business is about, i.e., if you have a visual business, Instagram and Pinterest may be a good fit.
Affinity: What participants have in common, i.e., people planning a wedding or those that like to invent things with Legos. When people have an interest in common, they're more likely to share posts to people who haven't heard of you before. That will help you create awareness for your business with new people.
Many people participate in both major and niche sites, so select a balance of each. If you choose a major, join subgroups that match your audience, ie., a food related business in Seattle could join the Seattle Foodies group on Facebook.
Where to Find Niche Sites
The more sites seek to create interactivity and engagement, the more they’re likely to offer social opportunities to participate in. Start with the associations and groups your audience belongs to (ask them), then look for social opportunities in the following places:
Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of niche sites, finding the best match you can, prioritize them by highest amount of traffic. Then, start using them and track the referral traffic to your site, using something like Google Analytics to see if all that effort is paying off.
Learn more about social media marketing
People buy from people they trust. Convince website visitors you're the real deal with this checklist of trust factors — some are so simple, you may have just forgotten about them. Google ranks trustworthy websites higher too, so be sure to read through to the end for ideas that work with search engines.
Start with These Basics
Before we get into the meat of the list, here are some general good practices:
Simple Trust Signals
Add immediate credibility with any of these:
Build Out Your Content
Building trust can be especially difficult when promoting services because they're intangible. These tips will help you sing your own praises:
Maximize Your About Page
Your About Page shouldn’t be an afterthought. People like to know who they’re doing business with. Here's what to include:
Help Google See Your Site as Trustworthy Too
Google wants to make sure they’re sending searchers to useful sites. Here’s how to look good in their eyes:
A Little Tougher to Do, But Worth the Effort
That's our exhaustive list of trust factors, just part of Homepage Homeruns — our 129 page guide, packed with strategies, images, examples and checklists that shows you how to connect with visitors to convert more of them into buyers.
Tell us what you've been doing to increase conversion at your website in the comments below.
Looking for More Ways to Turn Visitors into Buyers?
Here's one of my favorite ways to stay organized when it comes to small business marketing management. It helps prevent the panic that sets in when you realize there's no time left to prepare for that big trade show or business slump. Planning ahead makes your marketing efforts more effective and can save real money too. For example, rather than buying what you need at the last minute, you can wait for a sale or get a bulk price for 6-months worth of business cards.
The Tools You'll Need
Use whatever makes your life easier and allows you to make changes. Since it's a planning tool and plans often change, it needs to be flexible. A white board and sticky notes, a giant erasable calendar, or if you prefer digital, a spreadsheet or calendaring tool could work too.
Step 1: Create a Chart
Put months across the top – six months to a year should be sufficient. Make it as granular as you like. If monthly is too detailed, do it by quarters. If too general, break it down by weeks (for this level of planning, you don’t need to break it down by day for this exercise. That level of precision would be appropriate for a specific campaign like one that supports a trade show or product announcement).
Step 2: List Major Categories
List the following categories down the left side of the page:
• Your business's key dates: opening, closing, vacations, inventory, anniversaries, events, etc.
• Trade shows and other industry events
• Marketing activities you're planning
• Other time-related activities that impact your business and your customers
Step 3: Fill Out the Calendar
Add activities to support the major dates and marketing opportunities. This could include:
• Website updates
• Sending out notices to your customers
• Materials that need to be created
• Prepping for a trade show
• Marketing activities that occur around a major holiday
If you're short on ideas, consider the following:
Take Advantage of the Ripest Moment
There are many things that impact a customer’s state of mind and influence when they purchase, so time your marketing activities with their purchase behavior. One way to do this is to deliver messages when a prospect starts thinking about making a purchase, usually set off by a trigger event. For example, people often look for a house or new apartment when they’re getting married or having children. Think about where on your calendar you would beef up your marketing activities, say around springtime. By timing communication appropriately, you can be top-of-mind just when they’re ready to shop (otherwise known as the ripest moment).
Follow or Contradict Business Cycles
Another way to time your activities is with the cycles of your business or industry. For example, when you know you're hitting a slow period, beef up your marketing. Conversely, slow down your communications in anticipation of being too busy to handle the work or the orders. If your company caters to businesses, consider what's normal for your industry. And don't forget to keep tabs on what the competition is doing to time your activities to coincide with or counteract what they're up to.
Follow the Christmas Calendar?
Consider how the seasons, holidays and school schedules affect buyer behavior and your income. Either you have a business that’s super busy during November-December, or things come to a crashing halt. Plan accordingly to flatten out the highs and lows, and to anticipate budgetary constraints.
Marketing Campaigns: Schedule Marketing Activities Together for Greater Impact
Coordinate your marketing activities to increase their impact, like sending out a press release in anticipation of a trade show. Align under one campaign theme or umbrella to give you something to talk about in ads, materials, signage or whatever you plan on using to promote. You should also consider partnering with others to leverage the marketing they're doing. For example if you're in retail, time an event with the local art walk.
As they say, timing is everything. And the best way to make the most of your time and money is by planning.