JUST DO IT . . .
To shamelessly borrow Nike’s slogan, forward movement is the best route for small businessowners looking to broaden their marketing and branding efforts into social media. If you’re a large company with a department or firm devoted to your marketing and branding, you likely have a person or staff of people responsible for social media, and they can analyze demographics, develop goals, create a content inventory, and schedule posts. If that’s a feasible undertaking for your business, this web site probably isn’t for you. Our target is the small businessowner, who is looking to embrace social media while simultaneously doing most everything else . . . which could include staffing, management, finances, strategic planning, daily operations, sales, and customer service as well as marketing and branding. Dedicating a huge amount of time and financial investment to social media simply isn’t feasible and is frankly unnecessary in order to be successful.
JUST DO WHAT?
So how do you move forward into this new corporate endeavor? Focus on what you know. For example, if you don’t have a personal twitter account and aren’t really sure what or why one would tweet, that’s probably not the best place for you to start.
We’ve recently decided now is the time to start promoting our blog content on social media. Personally, I currently frequent Facebook and Pinterest. Bob, the other voice of Brand Building for Small Business, frequents Facebook. (Frequent is actually probably an overstatement, but he occasionally visits Facebook.) Since we have real experience with these platforms, we have a pretty good idea of who else is using them without any research. However, a quick glance at the following chart, and we can solidify our understanding of the demographics of the most popular social media platforms.
Facebook and Pinterest’s demographics sufficiently align with our target audience. We also know from experience that our content would be an appropriate fit. . . .
“CONTENT IS KING”
What can you, on behalf of your business, contribute to social media (with the expectation that a meaningful contribution yields dividends for your business)?
At the risk of sounding repetitive . . . focus on what you know. You are likely an expert in your field. You may have managed to generate an income selling your products or services. You possibly generate revenue that supports a small staff of people. Or maybe you just started out and are hopeful about the profits to come. Regardless, you likely have a wealth of focused knowledge.
You also no doubt have a personality. I’m sure you’ve got a pretty great one at that. You may be clever, witty, cultured, or sarcastic. You may be optimistic, dark, curious, or creative. You have a voice. Hopefully, that voice is reflected in your brand, and you can express yourself and your brand on social media, resonating authenticity with your audience.
A FEW GREAT EXAMPLES . . .
The popular brand of toaster pastries Pop-Tarts has a Twitter account bursting with personality. . . .
Pop-Tarts’ parent company, Kellogg’s, has a more conservative brand and voice. They have approximately 98,000 Twitter followers while Pop-Tarts has 205,000. With a 280 character limit (up from 140 a couple years ago), a little bit of creativity goes a long way.
A provider of furniture and home goods, Wayfair utilizes the visual nature of their business on a platform optimal for visuals. Wayfair has approximately 1.3 million followers on Instagram, and they most often post pictures of their products with simple captions that engage, entertain, or educate. Many posts will lead you to the link in their bio, which ultimately leads you to shop the pictured items on their web site.
Digital media website Mashable uses Pinterest as an outlet to reinforce brand awareness and drive traffic to their web site. They have 58 boards, ranging in topic from “3D Printing Creations” to “WTF” . . .
Mashable has 10 million+ monthly viewers on Pinterest.
A JOURNEY WITHOUT A MAP
Let’s say you glean some inspiration from these social media giants, and you create accounts for your business on the platforms you frequent; you begin regularly posting content – at least once per week – that is optimal for that platform (based on your personal experience), your products or services, and your unique brand; you promote your social media presence as part of your brand on all advertisements, correspondence, etc.; and little by little customers AND potential customers start following you. Fantastic! What now?
According to Comm100, some commons social media goals are to:
- Connect with Customers
- Increase Brand Awareness
- Drive Traffic to Your Website (directly from social media and indirectly by enhanced search engine results)
- Generate Sales and Leads
- Boost Brand Engagement
- Increase In-Person Sales
- Build a Community
- Improve Customer Service
While one or two items on this list may be more important to you than others, all of the goals are worthwhile in some respect. See what develops for you as time goes on. You may find that your most useful outcome of social media is invaluable market intel that comes from the comments on your product posts that you originally hoped would generate sales. Or perhaps people start leaving reviews for you on Facebook, which become an important tool in converting leads into sales. Maybe you find that you get complaints via social media that provide an opportunity for you to offer outstanding customer service in a very public way. Navigating without a roadmap means you need to pay attention to your journey. Try to find an opportunity in the issues that arise. Be open to suggestions. Think of creative ways that you can utilize and expand upon the positives you encounter. Grow and evolve. And be patient. Good luck!
P.P.S. For more information on using social media (as well as other online channels) to promote your business, read How to Grow Your Small Business with Online Marketing? by Sparkle Speaks.