So you want to start promoting your business on social media – great idea! The benefits of social media marketing should be fairly obvious by now: greater exposure for your products and services, a chance to interact directly with customers and potential customers – there are even SEO benefits as Google, Bing and other search engines increasingly include social factors when assigning ranking values to web pages.
But don’t just jump into social media marketing without first doing a little preliminary planning. Many business owners end up doing themselves more harm than good by making common mistakes or simply because they abandon their early efforts due to lack of time or loss of enthusiasm or both.
- Think first about your intended goals: are you hoping to attract new customers or maybe up-sell or cross-sell existing ones? Perhaps you’re seeking to grow your email database, or maybe you are just looking to use the social channel to drive more traffic to your website. Be clear about what it is you hope to achieve through social media marketing — and have a way to measure results.
- Understand how your particular customers are using social media as it relates to your business or industry. Do they look for answers to questions around your products and services on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? Is the information they seek easy to find and understand? Knowing what your audience is looking for, how they currently obtain it and how that can be improved is a key insight that you can be used to inform a solid social media marketing plan.
- Start small and stay consistent. Social media marketing requires that you commit some amount of time to it every day. It doesn’t have to be hours – devoting 15 minutes every day is better than spending three hours on it once a week. One of the biggest mistakes we see with businesses attempting their own social media marketing is that they think they can schedule up a bunch of posts one day and then do nothing for weeks. It becomes obvious to your audience that you are not really present, and that can be more detrimental to your marketing efforts than not being there at all.
As with all aspects of running a business, a little planning can prevent a thousand headaches.
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