Making Social Media Count

Marketing online is essential for businesses of all sizes, but for small and medium size businesses it can be challenging to know where to invest time and effort ‘online’.

The types of concerns we often hear are:

  • “I do Facebook (or Twitter, or LinkedIn), but it takes ages and I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.”
  • “I spent hours on my newsletter, but when I sent it out hardly anyone opened it. It seems a waste of time.”
  • “Yes, I have a Facebook (or Twitter or LinkedIn) page, but I haven’t looked at for months. It never gets me any business.”

Is this you? If so, read on to discover how you can turn your online marketing around.

First, plan your strategy.

This month I met with 4 small businesses and I came up with an online marketing strategy for each one. Each of the strategies was unique and was formulated specially for the business in question.

The key questions I asked where:

1. Who are you trying to reach?

The first step is to clearly identify your target market. Are you trying to reach men or women? What age? Location? Interests? Needs? The more detailed you can be, the better.

2. Where does you target market “hang out” online?

Different groups of people like and use different types of social media. Take some time to explore where your target market spends time and engages online. In very broad terms we find that Health, Wellness, Beauty, and Retail consumers enjoy Facebook and Twitter where Business, Consulting, Leadership, Professional Development and Corporate consumers prefer LinkedIn and email marketing. This is a broad generalisation, so it is worth drilling down into your target market to see where they are active.

3. How does your target market like to interact?

Is your target market looking for uplifting quotes and inspiration? Or are they looking or hard facts and figures? Or, perhaps a balanced mix of the two. Think about the people you are trying to reach and plan messages just for them.

Second, plan your schedule.

One of the worst things you can do with online marketing is be sporadic. A furious burst of interaction here and then nothing for weeks is not going to get you anywhere. Instead, it is essential to plan when and how you are going to use your social media.

Make a schedule for yourself and stick with it. For small businesses, I suggest checking in with your social media about 3 times a week, post a comment, reply to any messages and go out and see what people are talking about. For newsletters, commit to a regular schedule (once or twice a month is good) and keep with it.

Plan in advance what you are going to say; put together themes, build up to events, be seasonal and be yourself. Put out content that your target market will enjoy and share with their friends.

Finally, grow your networks.

This can be challenging for small businesses, but if you follow the points above and interact with others regularly, your networks will steadily grow.

This is an area where we can particularly help. We have many years of experience growing social media networks and tried and tested techniques we can use on your behalf. If you would like our help to boost your reach, we would be happy to talk through what we can do for you.

(A word of warning: You may see offers online to buy Followers, Likes or email addresses; we would strongly advise against this. They are generally useless and, on Facebook, purchased Likes who aren’t really engaged with you can really hurt your reach. This is because Facebook uses a “top-stories” sort on most people’s home feeds. If your non-engaged, bought Likes don’t interact, your posts are more likely to fail to reach “top story” status.)

Coastal VAs is happy to help with your social media at whatever level you need. We can offer a full service identifying your target market, planning your content, managing and growing your accounts or we can offer just the support you need. Contact us today to schedule a meeting to review your online marketing.