17 Aug 2011

5 Social Media Success Secrets for Small Businesses

Too many small businesses don’t understand how to effectively use social media and they therefore then make the mistake of thinking it’s unnecessary. 

These businesses are missing a tremendous amount of opportunity and keeping their business from reaching its full potential.

The truth is, social media can produce an excellent return and does for small businesses who are willing to learn how to use it and take advantage of the tools available.
Here are 5 Tips to Drive Social Media Success for your business:

1. Be Active and Relevant – Two of the biggest mistakes small businesses make when using social media are not being regularly active on their accounts and posting too many promotions or irrelevant info that their audience is not interested in reading. We recommend doing a few things to focus your efforts and get better results.
  • Establish Goals – Add 5000 Targeted Followers, Add 500 Likes, Secure Two New Clients via Social Media per month, etc…
  • Establish Behavioural Commitments – Spend 20 minutes twice a day managing your accounts (we like HootSuite) and engaging in dialog with followers and those you follow.
  • Create Persona's – Having a clear picture of who your audience is and what they like, want, and need can be a huge help in determining the best content to share and what’s going to drive engagement.
  • Measure Your Success – we use and recommend Social Report for social media tracking, monitoring and measurement. It’s robust, affordable, and even has a 30 day free trial. 
2. Grow Your Audience – We believe that it’s always beneficial to have a large targeted audience and there’s nothing wrong with actively and aggressively growing that audience. The bigger your pool of targeted followers, likes, connections, etc the more potential exists for engagement and business success.

3. Offer Valuable Insight – When publishing content refer back to the persona's you established. Be sure to provide insights and information that is relevant to your audience. Always think about whom your speaking to and what they are going to find helpful. Be sure to listen to their feedback as well. This will help you refine your persona's and become even more targeted and effective with you messaging.

4. Engage in Dialog – Remember, social media is a dialog NOT a monologue. Your audience wants to get to know you. They want to have a conversation with you. They want to be heard and recognized. This is what builds value, trust, and loyal customers. Do not let this process become overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be a full time commitment. Start with 20 minutes twice per day and go from there. The first step is always the hardest, but YOU CAN DO IT.

5. Hire an Expert – The bottom line is that many companies hire experts to handle much of their social media marketing initiatives so the company can focus on what they do best. This can be for audience growth, content, or full social media management. That being said, rarely do we recommend that small businesses hire someone to do 100% of their social media management. This is primarily because you know your business best and should have at least a minimum amount of direct engagement with your target audience. Whether your company needs a little or a lot of help we recommend contacting a social media expert for consulting, services, or both to get the most out of your social media campaigns.

Full original article available here: 5 Social Media Success Secrets for Small Businesses | Social Media Today: