OK, so you are familiar with Social Media as a platform and you know you need it to get your branding out there to the masses. Great. But how are you going to do it? What is your game plan? How are you going to win? While there are many with the old phrase "It worked for me!" how a small business markets their brand depends on many variables. There are however a few key and simple plan of action items you can embrace. Here are a few tips I have come across and have engaged as best practices with my clients.
You may be already using the main 3 for social media (Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, but there are other resources out there that you may be missing. Social Media is more than creating a site and then sitting back and watching. You have to interact, respond to posts, and keep your content fresh. Having platforms means maintaining them . Besides the above mentioned platforms, I would like to share with you, some others that you may have overlooked that will help with your branding and marketing efforts.
We have all seen the recent changes to video apps in the latter part of 2013. Vine, Instagram, Social Cam among others have seen surges in their apps. Times, they are a changing. Social Media is becoming for visual. Instagram however has become the King of Video. Vine you may say has settled in as the Queen. Both have had their moment in the spotlight but Instagram has become more mainstream , more profitable, and more versatile. As more use social platforms for telling their short 30 to 60 second stories, Instagram will skyrocket in 2014. We are a visual society now.
As for the battle between Vine and Instagram, I think Twitter will settle on Instagram to be used in its mix as Facebook (who owns Instagram) has allowed pictures from Twitter to be now used in full without having to link to it. Cutting each other's profit throats is not going to be the solution. Video will surge as a marketing tool. We can also talk YouTube here as well. Besides the other video apps, YouTube will continue to grow as a content marketing tool for showing video. I would be remiss without mentioning SnapChat. This up and coming app also has emerged as a player in video but at the moment lacks marketing and advertising resource tools due to the nature of the videos going to selected groups, its length, and the capability of being removed. Some fine tuning and changes of SnapChat could however, make this app competitive with Instagram and Vine. Keep your visual eyes tuned to the video walls in 2014 and see the changes about to unfold in 2014 as we move from print to visual content!
Google + is fast becoming a legitimate Social Media platform for small business. First, just being a product of
Google within itself makes it a powerful tool. The SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities of having a Google + account is huge. While it is still not the #1 Social Media platform, it is gaining popularity. So if you do not have a Google + account for your business, you should. Here are some quick tips for getting your business up and running on Google Plus.
First you do need to establish a "Gmail account which not only gets you a Google Plus site but also links you to You tube. ( you should have that as well for your business but that is another topic all in itself.) Next, complete your business "about page" Make sure you use keywords in your tagline so Google's powerful search engine finds your business. Make your introduction strong and make sure to link your other platforms such as your website. Do not forget your contact information as well. You may want to also connect with Google Local Pages This allows your customers to see where you physically are and your business overview and hours of operation.
The next items is building and marketing. This includes making great content, sharing that content with your other Social Media platforms, and promoting the same. As mentioned before, keywords, especially with Google
search engines is so important. Make sure you use keywords that promote your product or services. Use hash
tags. If you are not familiar with that click on my
link. That # sign actually allows links to what you offer for more information. This is all about sharing your content. Develop circles within your Google + account. Just like Facebook or Twitter, Google + allows you to add circles or business associates and friends. Finally, promote your page via links, talking with your fellow businesses, or using Google Hangout. This cool feature allows video interaction as well as live chat. Check out Google + and good luck with this exciting platform.
Social Media is a platform and a gateway to your customers. While many businesses choose to put "automated" helpful content and branding information
about their businesses out there for all to see, many times their customers ask questions or want to know more and they often fall on deaf ears. It is important to monitor and respond in real-time to your customers. If you do not have time then assign someone to at the very least, check your social media platforms daily to see if customers or prospects are asking questions or leaving a comment . There is also a tool available that I use called Mentions. There is a free basic version as well as a paid pro and enterprise version. It helps monitor when people are talking about your business or posts.
Content response and posts need to be timely and consistent. Your customers who follow you develop a pattern of viewing your content. Make that special time to post and stick with it. Be helpful, kind, don't show
anger and if a customer is posting a complaint ,engage them respectfully unless it is just a random goofball who is getting his jolly's being rude then by all means block him. (Yes those trolls are out there with nothing better to
do) . The bottom line is Social Media content that is engaging, enlightening, and informative can increase your ROI as your fan base increases. Word of Mouth of your businesses and the viral effect of social media has been proven time and time again by fortune 500 companies.
Promote and engage. Good luck and keep your customers happy!