Small business owners know they want social media for marketing but, understandably, pose many questions about its efficacy.
They want to make time and spend time on it, but need to be nimble and realize efficacy and a return on investment. A couple of common mistakes include dabbling it and/or using some kind of cookie cutter program. The digital marketing program you devise or choose must be tailored to your specific business. Not just your business sector or category, but your particular company.
Before elaborating on customized content marketing, I’d like to share a few of the DOs, DON’Ts and WHOs of social media.
- Don’t just promote your products and services. Instead, promote the idea of great experiences customers can have when shopping with you. Make this easy by telling customer stories, funny anecdotes, and heart-warming testimonials. Avoid simply posting material that commands prospects to simple “buy now.” Position yourself as an expert, a problem solver, a go-to business. Remember, your prospect is in the decision-making process when they land on your post or page, so first you must give them a reason to buy. You must convince them to buy. (Do have that buy now button nearby!)
- Don’t cut and paste from one social network to another. It looks lazy. Worse, it could cause those comments to be suppressed if bots are checking for copied material.
- In social media profiles, video uploads and Pinterest posts (Pins), DO fill out descriptions. This is where you pump in the key words people search for when looking where to buy. Write this content with some thought. Anything sloppy, even a goof, reflects on that business.
- Do make videos of your business. People deciding whether to visit or make an appointment will be more inclined if they feel acquainted online. Put your most personable people in the video. Ask. It might not be who you think.
- Do make infographics. People eat this up. You know you do too. Make sure the dimensions are user-friendly. Colorful designs are eye-catching and make reading fun. They stay in people’s minds, like a mental map to your business. Moreover, some social networks (ahem, Facebook) appear to give more reach (a wider audience) to posts with videos or pretty image files.
Too many chefs in the broth? Appoint a point person. You need a traffic cop. Marketing is not anything goes. Make sure if you have a SEO team and a social media team, they are connected.
How does social media relate to SEO (search engine optimization)? See YouTube, Google+, Twitter and Periscope. I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I did a basic Google keyword search for a concept I wanted to promote for a client, using simple search terms, and the client’s YouTube video I posted to Google+ showed up. I tried to replicate that search result the next day to no avail. There is no silver bullet there.
Still, you need to stay in the game. You need to keep posting. Social platforms are search engines. Think about Pinterest. People use it to search for things they want to buy. In turn, Pinterest collections also show up in Google searches. Twitter is used as a search engine. It’s not just about web browser searches. This search engine game is dynamic so there is no easy answer. If you are already creating social media content to showcase your business on specific platforms, you may find a knock-on benefit elsewhere.
Again, your social media content coordinator should know your SEO/website team. They should be on the same page. Each time you delegate something to someone somewhere without coordination, you could be diluting your messaging. Worse, too many things could result in contradictions and be counterproductive
Get with the Program
Social media is not an experiment. Stop treating it like one. It’s always people who tried this or that who complain it doesn’t work. Like anything else, you got to be in it to win it.
Choose which social media channels you want to be on. Plan a calendar week by week, month by month, of what topics you are going to stay on.
Decide what mix of blogs and videos you want to use for content marketing. Plot those out on a calendar.
How many times to post?
- Facebook: Daily, ideally. Honestly, it seems that buying FB ads is really the way for business pages to get further reach. You’ll need a mix of original content and ads.
- YouTube: daily, weekly, depends on your ability to produce. Just be consistent.
- Twitter: 5 to 10 times a day (Don’t be one of those 500Xday accounts)
- LinkedIn: 2-5 times a week. If you have a company page, at least one a week.
- Google+: 3-10 times per week
- Pinterest: 5-10 per day
- Instagram: 1-5 times per day
I am a coordinator. My program works best when the business owner and I can chat at least once a week. I should also be engaged with the website person and anyone involved with any aspect of digital marketing.
Sometimes, there are so many wheels spinning they may not be engaging at the same speed or in the same direction. I’ve seen situations where people didn’t realize a Google Adwords campaign was on autopilot and not aligned with current marketing campaigns or business objectives. I’ve seen a Facebook page being run by an agency that formerly administered business’ website and the business owner had no idea who was making the posts.
There are a lot of outsourced content and social media marketers that never step foot in a business or know anyone who works there. By contrast, I learn as much as I can from the people inside a business to tell their company story to the marketplace.
I am hands on and will need input from them so that the marketing content is true to their business. It needs to be written and crafted in keeping with their company culture.
We will devise a program to run for a minimum of three months. We’ll determine what mix of blogs and video will be used to raise the company profile and make it more findable in searches. Moreover, when that business is found, the story is fun, educational and interesting. You need to actually be saying something interesting.
For some, I’ll write 2 or 4 blogs a month. Or edit 4-5 blogs. Or write 2 blogs and produce 2 videos. Or 4-5 videos a month, etc. All the while, I will be engaging on the social media accounts. After three months, we may revise the mix and add or subject things. The longer the arrangement, the better I get to know the business as the coordinator. This is the next best thing to have an internal marketing department that represents your business.