Jimmy forgot to load the truck on time, Helena called in sick today and nobody else can take phone calls, Martha is collecting late payments from clients and on top of everything else, some cables burned out in the product showroom and you need to fix that asap.
Small business owners — Does this sound familiar to you?
Let me take a guess: Yeah, there are those days when you wished you were living a laptop-lifestyle travelling wherever the winds would take you.
But that’s not how small business owners roll, who have brick-and-mortar locations and employees to manage.
On the contrary, you have to deal with people, processes, operations, logistics, marketing, sales and finance (especially cash flows and profits). That’s a lot of work and responsibility, and if you don’t have a proper team, things can get ugly pretty quickly.
Today I’d like to talk to you about the marketing part of your small business and provide you with some actionable tips on how to leverage the time and resources you have available to maximize your online marketing results aka get the word out about your business quicker and easier.
To accomplish that, we will use the power of social media.
When used correctly, this amazing online marketing vehicle called social media can help you develop your brand, promote your business and find new clients who match your criteria.
Yes, you or one of your employees will have to put in the work but the long-term benefits are hard to ignore. [Small business owners: you know exactly what I’m talking about here as you’re not part of the “next shiny object clan”]
Results-Oriented Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners
Here are three actionable tips you can implement today to boost your presence on social media and get the most out of the specific networks.
1. Pick 2-3 relevant social media channels and go “All In” on those
Just like any other marketing channel, social media is a communication network you can use to amplify your outreach. You don’t need to know all networks and you definitely don’t need to have a presence on all of them. Don’t let the sheer amount of social media networks overwhelm you.
Have a closer look at your customer base and find out where they like to hang out when it comes to social media. Your job will be to follow them there.
If they’re giving a vast amount of their attention to Facebook and spending money on the platform, than you got to be there, too. If they like to communicate and engage in LinkedIn groups, than you will have to be there, too.
The following social media channels have proven to work really well for my clients and me:
Example #1: Facebook + Pinterest + Instagram
This combination is a killer for the following markets: kitchen and home restoration, gardening, cooking, furnishing and home decor AND when the majority of the audience is female or the main decision maker is a woman.
Example #2: Facebook + LinkedIn + Twitter
This is a fantastic combination if you’re a doctor or lawyer AND you’re marketing to affluent B2B clients.
2. Repurpose your existing content
Did you notice the keyword in the headline?
I even underlined it.
I want you to use your EXISTING content. For now, you don’t need to come up with new and fancy things, you just have to think of smart ways to use what you already have that has proven to work on other channels.
[Special note: The products and services you offer have to be of good quality. You can have the best marketing in the world but if your product (service) sucks, social media will expose you even faster. Yes, quality is still of great importance.]
Let’s say you have nice brochures, images and postcards about your latest kitchen table collection.
Upload those pictures to Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Mention a couple of benefits (not features!) and advantages of your new collection, add relevant hashtags to the post (applies to Instagram and Pinterest), add a compelling call-to-action (example: “Call us today for a 20% discount”) and include the phone number where customers can reach you on.
Let’s say you’re a lawyer and you want to organize an event at your office where you can share the latest rules and regulations with a small group of savvy small business owners. It’s all existing content, as you’ve already used those slides to communicate internally.
You don’t need a website to promote your event. You can use Facebook to create and promote the event. You can write a LinkedIn post about your upcoming event and share the post inside the LinkedIn groups you’re active on (only if you have previously provided value to these groups; never spam groups on LinkedIn or any other network for that matter).
Furthermore, you can set up a promo page about your event on Eventbrite and use the different social networks to promote your event.
3. Document your journey and answer industry-specific questions that you get asked a lot
Creating new content for social media or any other marketing channel can be quite daunting. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
For one, you could document your journey as a small business owner.
- Talk about the process you went through when looking for a good accountant.
- Share your top ten most favorite tools, apps and software programs you use to get the job done.
- Mention the challenges and struggles you were confronted with and how you overcame them.
- Talk about how you hire the right people and train them to help you move forward.
- Share best practices in regards to sales and marketing, as well as your unique experience about customer retention.
I could go on and on with this list of topics, however, I’m convinced that by now, you get my point.
Second of all, use social media to answer highly relevant questions you get from your customer base.
If your clients struggle to find answers to specific questions, chances are, there are a lot more people just like them desperately looking for solutions to similar problems and issues.
Social networks are amazing communication tools as they enable you to engage with a larger group of people that share similar interests, hobbies and values. It’s a fantastic way to quickly get the pulse of your audience and find out what these people need, want and are willing to buy. They tell you their problems and you provide them with valuable feedback and solutions. It’s a win-win.
How Can You Master Social Media for Your Business
Short answer: By focusing on the few most relevant social media marketing channels for your specific niche and audience.
You will never attain mastery by creating ten different accounts on social media and posting random pictures and articles on these networks.
Start with one channel, Facebook for example. Brainstorm with your team, define goals, create a marketing calendar and start implementing. Monitor performance, find out what type of content people love to interact with most on your Facebook page and do more of that. Keep what works and continue to test out new post and content types. Once you’re feeling confident enough with the organic part of your page, give Facebook advertising a go. [For the record: You can always outsource execution to a savvy teenager who spends most of his/her time on social media anyway…]
Happy with the results you generate from Facebook?
Great, then add the next relevant social media channel to your toolbox.
A lot of small business owners over-complicate things by scattering their time and energy across a multitude of apps. Their attention span goes down and so do their outcomes. Learn and master one social media network at the time just like you would with a new language.
I’ll leave you with this:
Don’t forget to be social. Ultimately, connection is the key to success on social media and unless you engage and interact with your audience, you won’t be able to really connect.