Social Media Strategy
When it comes to social media marketing, you can spend a lot of time playing online and never sell a thing. That's why it's important to think about social media strategically, so you can make the most of your marketing budget. Which in the case of most small businesses is measured by how much time you want to devote to it. See below for the components that make up a good social media marketing strategy, along with some of our favorite tools.
Spend Your Time on the Right Networks
Be sure you're joining the networks that are right for your business -- ones that give you the opportunity to meet people who could eventually become your customer or can refer you. Also, sign up for the ones that a decent amount of activity and traffic. You can check this on sites like Quantcast, Compete or Alexa (see below). If few people visit a social networking site, then there can't be much networking going on there. And remember, there's no replacement for meeting people in person. Sometimes you've got to step away from the computer, get out there, and make connections.
Social Media Toolkit
Creating a social media toolkit™, will help you communicate consistently and correctly by gathering everything you need in one place. These materials may be used for future marketing efforts as well. The toolkit includes:
Social Site List & Profiles
It’s important to include niche social sites in your list, beyond the mainstream sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to target more effectively. You should compile a top-10 list based on the target audience, relevance and traffic. The list may include neighborhood blogs, bookmarking, review or social networking sites and more. Read our Missing Link blog post or view the slideshow below for more info.
If Facebook is one of the sites you choose to focus on, be sure to take advantage of all the customization options for your business page.
Once you've done that, start adding posts before inviting anyone. You don't want to send people to an empty page. Join groups that include your target audience and start participating (don't just jump in and sell).
Add a Facebook badge to your website. Once that's done, invite your contacts to the page and be sure to let everyone know you're on Facebook now (i.e., blog, social sites, email signature, etc.).
Know Which Sites to Use
Select the right niche social sites by using one of the following tools to measure the site's traffic.
Owned by Amazon and founded in 1996, Alexa is one of the oldest tools out there. At the site you’ll find among many other useful tools, including a downloadable toolbar, traffic stats and related links.
Offers a whole host of info and a downloadable toolbar for your browser that reveals visitor numbers for each site you go to.
This site offers traffic graphs and detailed demographic information including gender distribution, age, household income, ethnicity and education. For its partner sites, it will also reveal a site’s geographic distribution.
Google Ad Planner
A free media planning tool for identifying websites your target customers are likely to visit.
Google Trends (Insights for Research)
Once again, Google comes to the rescue with a data tool that may help you figure out where your customers are and when they may be ready to buy.
Favorite Social Media Tools
Find material to share, schedule and manage posts.
Even the free version will save you a whole lot of time following and unfollowing, and generally managing your Twitter presence.
Find curated content to share, then connect with Buffer to post to Twitter automatically.
When you're ready for more extensive monitoring and Twitter management.
Want to learn more?
Read Robbin Block's book, Social Persuasion: Making Sense of Social Media for Small Business.