For many small businesses, social media is still an intimidating arena to jump into. Either they haven’t really tried because they don’t know what to do or they jumped in figuring it was super easy and couldn’t get things off the ground. Here are some bits and pieces of information and advice to help businesses survive social media.
First of all, social media is and should be just one aspect of your overall marketing plan. Although social media is growing in importance and popularity, it should still be treated as a part of your overall strategy. Don’t let go off off-line marketing, email marketing, one-of-mouth and other online marketing if they are working for you. Create a social media marketing plan that will be a subset of your overall marketing plan.
Second, get help from knowledgeable sources. There is plenty of free or nearly free information available to new startups that no business owner needs to go into social media blind. Too often small businesses go into social media with no idea of what they are doing or they take advice from random people, who may or may not actually know what they are talking about.
Google is constantly working to establish itself as the boss of online marketing. To an extent they are. You have to play by their algorithm rules in order to get a high ranking on Google search engines. That being said, you need to either keep up on the latest SEO best practices, or you need to find someone who is to help you manage your online presence.
Last but certainly not least, keep an eye on Twitter. Twitter offers an opportunity to market your brand. However, they have lacked in actual advertising, as well as the ability for users to categorize their followers in order to target certain groups. I’m hoping for some positive changes this year, and I’ve heard rumors that they are working on ways to better their services, so keep an eye on that.
Here are some great social media resources that can help you manage and make sense of your social media campaigns:
HootSuite: HootSuite allows you to execute campaigns across multiple social networks from one web-based dashboard, you can also manage social media, track conversations, and measure campaign results.
SocialOomph: SocialOomph has the ability to schedule tweets for the entire day and auto-follow your new followers, so you can something other than schedule tweets and follow people.
SproutSocial: Sprout Social is a nifty tool that can manage, post, monitor, and analyze multiple social media accounts from one location.
Buffer: Buffer is one of the most popular social media message scheduling and sharing applications available. With one easy click you’ll be able to share content and schedule posts via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Crowdbooster: Crowdbooster focuses on gathering data from your Facebook and Twitter feeds. While it will not compile different social media accounts into one convenient location, it will give you some vital information regarding your social media strategy, such as when people are most likely to view your latest images or video uploads.