You are your business. You wear every hat from sales to marketing to customer service. Adding yet another hat as Social Media Guru does not seem feasible, yet you know social media is a must for businesses today. Before you throw your hands up and walk away, take a look at our tips designed just for you: The Little Guy.
Blogging: The Gateway to Social
In his eBook, “Let’s Talk: Social Media for Small Business,” John Jantsch suggests that blogging is the foundation of the social media pyramid. He says, “Read blogs, comment on blogs, and then blog. This is the doorway to all other social marketing.”
Your Blogging Checklist
- Start by finding a handful of blogs in your industry using a simple Google search.
- Dedicate 10-20 minutes every morning to reading the blogs. To facilitate this process, you may want to use Google Reader or similar service to keep the blogs in one easy to access format.
- Add your two cents in the form of a comment to posts you resonate strongly with.
- Search for content you can repurpose on your blog. Articles you have written, informative pages from your website, press releases, etc.
- Start writing your own posts. Keep them short and sweet, around 250-450 words. You will want to post at least 1 time a week with a goal of eventually reaching about 20+ posts per month.
- When you have a bucket of about 20 posts, start your business blog. Sites such as WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, and Typepad.com provide free and easy to use formats to get your blog up and going.
Pick a Network, Any Network
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare… social networks seems to be popping up all the time. As a business, it is hard to decide where you place your limited time. For a breakdown of the social players, read our blog post, Go On, Get Social: Where Should Your Business Have Presence?.
Your Network Checklist:
- Do a little homework to find out what network(s) most of your customers/demographic are using. Consider sending a survey link in an email or posting a poll on your website. Forrester has also created an excellent online tool to narrow demographics.
- Select one network to start with and open a business page.
- Set up email alerts so you are able to be notified when someone posts to your page, adds a comment, responds to a tweet, etc.
- Once your page has the basics such as your logo, contact information, etc. go ahead and launch it to your network by making the site public. Consider announcing it with an email and including your Social Media information on direct mail pieces.
- Each time you post to your blog, post it to your social network of choice as well.
- Post your email newsletters and promotions to your social network. Swiftpage Social Sharing makes this step a snap.
- Start following/liking other businesses and sharing their content that is relevant with your followers.
- When you are ready, pick another social network and repeat the steps above.
Spread the Word
Now that you are regularly generating content on your blog and you have a social network or two up and running, it’s time to attract more followers.
Your Word Spreading Checklist
- Start by adding your social media links to your email signature, email templates, and website if you haven’t already.
- Ask bloggers and industry experts if they would a) be interested in allowing you the chance to guest post on their blog or b) provide content as a guest blogger for your blog.
- Increase the number of comments you leave on blogs and link back to relevant content on your blog or website. (Don’t overdo it, though, or you could be viewed as spam.)
- Douglas Karr from the MarketingTech Blog suggests, “Spend 10 minutes a day promoting your content. At first, this may even be soliciting opportunities to guest blog, speak or even buying advertisements to get the word out!”
- Consider creating other content such as videos or recorded demos to share on sites like YouTube, PowerPoint presentations that can be shared by using something like SlideShare, or even a podcast.
Social Media is not out of reach for small businesses. Even if you never complete every item we have listed here, checking off a few will make a tremendous difference in the way you reach your audience and your marketing efforts. So put it on your daily calendar now and be sure to tell us how it goes!