Business owners have always been reluctant to trying new web technologies and platforms. Just take a look through your local listings and marvel at how so many small businesses still don’t have a website despite it being 2015.
Then you throw in social and you’re left aimlessly trying to find the business on any type of platform to get in touch, check for coupons, or see what’s going on.
Here are a few interesting facts about social that business owners really need to take to heart:
- 42% of marketers say Facebook is critical or important to their business.
- Companies that acquired customers from Facebook: B2C is 77% and B2B is 43%.
- 43% of all marketers have found a customer via LinkedIn in 2013.
… and although these stats were from just a few years ago they go on and on about the value of social.
Let me give you the biggest reason why every business should be using it: IT’S FREE.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and all those social channels are free, easy to setup, and really only take a few hours of fiddling around to understand the basics on your own. Throw in the wealth of content on blogs that show online marketing made simple and it’s dumbfounding why there has been resistance to social media marketing.
Most of the time the reason is:
- I would rather do what already works
- I don’t have anything interesting to share
- I don’t have the time
- I don’t want to sink money into it
These are lame excuses by business owners that are eventually going to be out of the business in the coming years because new up-and-comers will be doing laps around them because they’re agile, flexible, and willing to experiment with new platforms.
Yes, it’s intimidating when you’re looking at nearly a dozen major social platforms you could be on but what matters is that you start with one and slowly branch out. Most of the strategies you do on one platform often works for the other with minor tweaks.
Here is what I’d recommend for any small business owner that’s finally willing to get into social:
Preliminary: Make sure you have that website (that supports mobile) because you need a place to send people, a platform to create and share content, and an outlet to sell your products/services.
1st: Create a Facebook business page; it takes less than 15 minutes. Fill in the relevant information (address, hours, cover photo, and the like) and then use your contact list to drive the first few likes. Once you have the page setup you can begin linking to your page on your website, in your email newsletter, and printed on your products. Once comfortable you should consider running Facebook promoted posts from your page which will get your posts in front of more people for a very reasonable price; if you can handle that then begin to explore the other advertising options.
2nd: Go ahead and grab a Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn account with your brand name. Again, fill in the necessary information for the profile and then run your contact list to gain some initial followers. Let people know you now have a Twitter like you did with Facebook. With these platforms it just comes down to quick engagement so consider installing it on your phone so you can easily join conversations, respond to customers, and share content whenever it pops up.
3rd: Blogging is integral to social media because it allows you to share your expertise and fuels your pages and feeds. You should take time to create a content marketing strategy for your blog (and other platforms where you wish to share content) so you always have something new to give to the community. You can write, record audio, or shoot video – anything that works for you is good enough because what you want to do is get that content to your followers and use it to drive interest to your products/services (and turn interest into sales).
Once you’re comfortable with the platforms and you’re sharing content then start to explore different strategies like contests, promotions, paid advertising, and more. The important thing is that you at least give it a try because once you’re on there – you’ll be hooked and your audience will love it.