What Your Small Business Should Do To Look Like A Social Media Pro

What Your Small Business Should Do To Look Like A Social Media Pro

As social media use continues to grow, so does the number of marketing opportunities for small businesses. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults now use social networking sites, according to Pew Research, up from just 7 percent in 2005.

“That’s just a remarkable adoption curve,” said Sean Miller, lead product manager for CenturyLink.

Learning how to use a wider range of social media tools can help small businesses target prospective and existing customers on these platforms. Here are four tips to consider:

1. Define Audience And Objectives

Many small companies make the fledgling mistake of assuming that if they build a social media presence, revenue will automatically follow.

“That’s not necessarily true,” Miller said. “The trick is really to be purposeful and intentional.”

Start by clearly defining your business objectives, whether it’s raising awareness about your brand, driving traffic to your website, building a community of advocates, empowering people with knowledge, or driving sales, he said.

It’s also important to identify your target audience.


Betsy Wiersma is the founder and president of Denver-based CampExperience, which offers education, inspiration and connections for women through retreats and networking groups. Polling revealed that 83 percent of the company’s target audience of women 35 to 64 is on Facebook.

Wiersma said the company uses social media as a brand builder, to encourage followers to attend events and to connect a community of women.

“Our No. 1 marketing tool is word of mouth, and social media marketing is our secret weapon to build our word of mouth and continue to communicate our brand,” she said.

If your small business hasn’t already dipped a toe in the social media waters, consider Facebook as a cornerstone. Akin to having a business card in the 1950s, a Facebook account for a small business today is a fundamental branding tool, said Miller.

2. Build Authenticity With Video

Small businesses already established on Facebook can enhance their social media marketing by adding video.

A study from Microsoft Corp. found that audiences have an eight-second attention span, suggesting that the most effective videos make connections quickly.

Companies should produce videos that also convey messages without sound. On Facebook, most videos are watched with the sound muted, the company said.

Wiersma said CampExperience wants to use more video in its marketing efforts. The company’s media consultant, Lisa Haas, founder and president of Actuate Social, said video carries great potential for those who understand its strong points.

“Video gives you the ability to really be authentic.” Haas said. “You can see the spirit and passion I have for a particular topic, and you get a much deeper experience.”

3. Meet Customers Where They Socialize

Companies that already have a social media presence should also look beyond Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to establish new traffic streams. Doing so could expose you to customers you haven’t been reaching.

For example, when outdoor clothing and gear retailer REI announced that it would be closed on Black Friday, encouraging its customers to go outside instead, CEO Jerry Stritzke took to Reddit for an “ask me anything” chat with followers.

Reddit creates a different sense of community, according to Miller. With Reddit, “you are going to have a dialogue that is going to allow you to not just raise awareness for your brand, but also your values as a company,” he said.

Other potentially valuable social media platforms for small businesses include Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Yelp and Snapchat, he noted.

“One of the most powerful elements of social media is that you can very narrowly target where your customers are going to be located and then engage with them in a medium they prefer,” Miller said.

4. Consider Paid Promotions

In addition to exploring a broader variety of free social media platforms, small businesses may consider paid advertising on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Facebook now enables companies to advertise posts on users’ news feeds. In March, Facebook revealed that of the 50 million small businesses with Facebook pages, 3 million are paid advertisers — a 50 percent jump over the last year.

Miller recommended first building your small business brand through unpaid public relations activities and waiting until a saturation point is reached before expanding into paid advertising.

To measure success in any campaign, include quantitative measures, such as the number of followers. But also consider qualitative measures: How many quality conversations occurred? How robust is the community that you’ve built?

“It really gives small business owners an unprecedented opportunity to wear that chief marketing officer hat,” Miller said. “There’s a chance to decide how they are actually going to drive their advertising and analyze the returns on those investments in a way that only professional marketers were able to do for a long time.”



April 17, 2016 / by / in , , ,

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