Everyone these days is talking about social media, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, to promote their business. But is it right for you? What are the advantages and disadvantages in launching and maintaining a social media campaign?
- Possible increase in your search engine ranking
- Form new business relationships
- Help to find new customers
- Have your company’s message reach a new base of customers with your products and services
- Get buzz going about your company by having your customers talk about your business
- Get reviews from satisfied customers
- Find out the things you are not currently offering your customers and find out what they want or need
- You don’t know what to say
- You don’t know where to begin
- It takes time
- It takes energy
- It takes resources
- It cost money
It appears (at least for now) that search engines are using Facebook status updates and Twitter tweets, page shares and online reviews as a factor as how they rank your website. For this reason alone, your company should have some sort of social media presence, even if it’s a small one. Every business should have at least one (if not all) of these social media accounts: Facebook Business Page, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Places and YouTube. Many sites such as Facebook, Google, Bing use their own versions of a “share button”. “Sharing” a page can act as a strong indicator that people view your site as an authoritative site in you field. Sharing is the highest form of a social media compliment, followed online reviews and links.
Don’t get swept away with all the articles and hype you read about how well social media helps big business. These corporations throw literally thousands (if not millions) of dollars into their national public relations campaigns of which social media is only one piece of the puzzle. You will gain greater success by focusing on what you can do locally and zeroing in our potential customers within your local area.
Honing your Social Media strategy to focus on your specific local area can take a lot of time and energy if not managed well. Good time management and efficiently is the key to the success of your social media campaign.
Start with having someone in your company who will religiously spend about a half hour EVERY day promoting your business via the social networks in some way (tweeting or retweeting something, post a status update on Facebook, etc). We recommend to our customers that they we maintain their basic Social Media presence for them, leaving themselves with more time free for relationship building to handle on their own. Once you have decided if you or Bower Web Solutions will handle your basic Social Media needs, you next need to decide on how often. The trick is knowing how often to post without becoming annoying to your audience or followers. Here are some basic guidelines to start you out:
- Facebook – Once or twice a week is fine. Try to be consistent as to when you update your company’s Facebook Business page so your audience knows when to expect your updates. Be there to offer friendly unsolicited advice or offer help or useful tips. Avoid shameless self promotion and trying to “sell, sell, sell”.
- Twitter – use Twitter to build new business relationships, so much as a customer relations tool. Here you can toot your company’s own horn about your products and services and special sales (more so we feel that with Facebook). Every day (once in the morning, possible retweet in the late afternoon) if possible.
- YouTube – Create videos about products and services you offer. Try to involve the company’s owner whenever possible or appropriate. Update once or twice a month.
- LinkedIn – This should be the Company President or Business Owner ONLY! Update once a week unless involved in an ongoing open discussion that can benefit your business.
The next step is to figure out which social media accounts you actually need and will use and which members of your staff (or Bower Web Solutions) will be responsible for handling each one. Setting up each account with each site can be a time consuming but it is worth theme investment.
Create a plan. Set daily tasks for Twitter, Weekly for Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Set 30 day, 90 day and 120 day goals for what you want accomplished in those time frames. Don’t worry about Return on Investment as you might with other conventional marketing and advertising. ROI in small / local business social media is rarely a dollar for dollar return but more likely the building of solid long term relationships that turn into referrals.
Social media should be treated like any other part of your business. Manage it, review it, but most important of all – be consistent. Just don’t open an account and then forget all about it. Keep at it and eventually over time (ie. 6 to 12 months) it will start to pay off for your business. If you have questions regarding social media or want to learn more about how Bower Web Solutions can help manage your social media counts, please feel free to contact us.