What do you want to gain from Social Media? Aye, there’s the rub!
Social media for small business is a topic close to my heart. I have run a number of small businesses and one of the biggest challenges has always been time. As a small business owner you have to wear many hats: Sales, HR, bookkeeper, janitor, manager and marketing strategist; when all you really want to do is what you love and make money at it…
I am writing a series of 4 blog posts to help small businesses strategically manage their social media marketing through:
- Making a social media marketing plan
- Using social media
- Effective blogging
- Pulling it all together in an email list
Making a Social Media Plan
First you need to know who you are and what you are offering. Then you need to define who your audience is. With these 2 things defined the marketing plan falls into place between the goal posts.
Who are you & what do you offer?
Instead of making up an example I thought I would use my own business as a case in point.
A bit about branding: it is a good idea to do a branding exercise to define a few things about who you are and what you offer and where your niche is. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos about branding and this is what fell out of the process:
- I am a good graphic designer.
- I can design for both print and web.
- I understand programming and can execute my own designs in html.
- I understand the needs of all types of print.
- I am also a decent copy writer.
The offer: I offer my clients a complete graphics solution. I will make their marketing collateral work across both print and web media. I will take care of their marketing needs. I offer value.
Who is your audience & where are they?
The audience: My clients are solopreneurs, small businesses, and medium sized businesses that have a budget for marketing. They understand the value in having brand consistency across platforms and they don’t have the expertise or time to do it for themselves.
Where is your audience? This is a whole topic on its own, so rather than reinventing the wheel I will point you to: Ken MacArthur: The Top 10 Ways to Find Your Audience
If you can answer the questions Ken poses then you are really on your way to finding your audience.
Reaching your audience
Keywords: Some of this is covered in Ken MacArthur’s blog above, but I wanted to emphasize it. To reach your audience, you need to know what they are searching for when they want your product. To do this you need a list of “keywords” pertaining to your business offering. You can get recommendations from Google and other sources. You can check out the Google Keyword Tool Box get some Keywords and some insights.
#Hashtags: I like #Hashtags because they offer the opportunity to group posts and tweets into categories that may not be included in the post itself. For instance I want this post to be seen by solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, small & medium-sized business so when I tweet about it I might use #hashtags like: #smallbiz, #smallbusiness, #business, #solopreneur, or #entrepreneurs. You should make a list of #hashtags that are already in use that pertain to your audience and use them when you post, but don’t be redundant, don’t #hashtag a post that already contains the keywords in the title.
Defining Your Goal
What do you want to gain from Social Media? Aye, there’s the rub! Truly, what you want to gain from social media is engagement. You want to find your niche audience, you want to interact with them, you want to be part of their world, and them yours.
There is a lot of buzz about Authentic Entrepreneurs (see link http://www.socialaficionados.com/tag/authentic-business/ ) and what this is in a nutshell is know who you are and be who you are. Guess what, people who like “who you are” will read your stuff. And every now and then ask them to subscribe to your newsletter. That’s it! All you want them to do is give you their email so you can send them some stuff a few times each month.
It sounds like a lot of work, but that is why I mentioned the Authentic Entrepreneur because if you are being “who you are” the people that will connect with you will mostly be people you enjoy reading their stuff too and time flies when you are having fun.