Now that you understand the benefits of social media marketing, you’re ready to implement social media into your business. As a small business owner with a reputation on the line, it is important to fully commit to new efforts and to see them through. You must balance this while making sure that social media makes business sense – that the time invested produces results.
Understanding The Value of Social Media
Here at Scrappy Face, we are often asked what the ROI associated with social media is. We, unfortunately, do not have a straight answer for you. While social media is a marketing effort, it is also a communication platform that will help you build your brand and relationships locally, within your field, and with customers and potential customers. Therefore, it is hard to measure. While there are great tools to help you track the success of your social media, it can be difficult to track social media efforts directly to sales, especially when you’re just starting out.
To put things in perspective, I will ask this: What has email accomplished for your business? Has it changed how customers interact with you? Has it increased the speed of your business? Are you able to do more, faster? The benefits of social media are similar, and like email, many customers now expect you to have active social media accounts.
You can make sales through social media, but it takes time and know-how to accomplish this. I will explain more about this later on in this post.
The Stages of Building Your Social Media
Social media takes a significant amount of time. I often write about the demands of small business owners and this is one of them. It is important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that building your social media comes in stages:
Stage One: Get Set Up. Have you claimed your social media accounts? If you are not sure which to claim or haven’t gotten started on that yet, read last week’s blog post and get to know KnowEm. Make sure each profile is complete with a bio and a picture that will attract attention and give information about your business. Start adding posts and status updates on each platform to get familiar with how things work. Avoid making rookie comments like, “This is my first status update!”
We recommend that as the business owner, you do this step yourself. If you have someone else do it for you, review each profile to make sure they are thoroughly completed and represent your brand. Be sure that you have full ownership of every account, by asking your helper to make a complete password list and giving it to you. Make sure that you, personally, are an admin on Facebook – even if you do not use Facebook on a regular basis or plan to manage your business Page, it is important that you own your own account.
Stage Two: Start Adding Friends. Start first with the three most common social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each platform has a tool that will help you find people you know. Use it! Before you begin this step, you should have claimed your business URL on Facebook, created 5-10 status updates including photographs and fun facts about your business on both Facebook and Twitter. On LinkedIn, complete your company profile and add business connections to your personal profile.
Stage Three: Strategy and a Plan. LinkedIn is easy from this point forward. You have a complete profile and have connected with people you know. From now on, you’ll just add new contacts as you meet them and keep your company page up to date. Ever wondered what to do with those stack of business cards you get at networking events? Add them on LinkedIn!
Twitter is a different animal, and you will need to dedicate time to building, finding content, and engaging on Twitter. In the beginning, we recommend spending 30-60 minutes a day building your audience, checking in about twice throughout the day at a minimum, and talking to people.
Facebook is a little easier. We recommend posting to your Facebook Page three times a week for several months. After that, you can increase it to 5 times a week, but typically never more than once per day.
Take some time to set up you social media accounts and start playing with them. Give yourself a set amount of time, about four weeks, and be dedicated to trying it out. During that time, you will start to understand how social media works and how it can work for your business.
Next week, we will talk about if you should continue doing social media yourself or if you should hire someone outside of your company to help with social media.
Photo Credit: GOIABA