Social media is not something that you can set up and then forget. The goal is to create an ongoing relationship with your customers and potential customers. So if you ignore your social media sites, you're ignoring them.
Posting consistently, at least once a week, is expected. Without dedicated staff, this can be overwhelming to a business.
Ignoring social media will cost you in customers and sales. It is a way people can check on your skills, customer reviews, your engagement with customers, and more. It is not like a website, which has 1-way communication and is static. Social media is 2-way communication and is always evolving.
Here is a strategy that may work for you:
Click here for details on who uses the major social media platforms.
Obviously, the more personalized you make your posts, the more effective they will be. So you can use pictures and comments about your real business or your real customers (after getting their permission). But it is hard to do this consistently. The strategy above can give you information to post every week.
Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.
There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business. With LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:
If you don't already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don't have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page. For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.
Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page
To get started, try posting at least once per week. It's not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn's Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it's easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content. In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:
Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
Posts that have relevant "best-of" lists get almost 40% more amplification
When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.
Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals. In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and "day in the life" content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it's like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page's Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company. Video: https://youtu.be/FNPxA4wJWqs
LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it's easy to find the perfect professional for any task. LinkedIn vets all of the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you're never in the dark about who you're hiring. By using freelancers, you'll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.
LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are all designed to help you connect to friends - and their friends. If you can make it easy for your customers to give good referrals to their friends, you benefit. These websites are also set up so you can join groups and respond to questions and gain new friends. As with much of the Internet, there is a lot of junk and wasted time on these social networking sites - so it is important that you have a focused reason for participating.
Some Goals of Social Networking for Business Purposes:
You can also use social networking sites to do focused advertising (for a fee) - based on people's interests and demographics. As an example, if you are looking for women dog owners over 30, then the social networking sites can target your ad to your exact market niche.
Do You Need to Participate in All These Sites?
You should participate in the sites your customers use. You may have to set up sites on all of them to begin with to see the traffic, and then eliminate the less popular ones. The good news is that all are free.
Include Your Website URL and Increase Your Ranking
Your website's search engine ranking improves when you have outsiders link to your website. An easy, free way to do this is to add your website URL on your social networking sites. The more social networking sites that point to your website, the better!
Twitter lets you follow the minute-to-minute events of people's lives - it is like phone texting with a lot of people simultaneously - but you are really only having one way conversations. You can set up an account for free and then find people or topics using their search.
You can choose to follow that person, which means that every time you go to twitter.com, their recent posts will be shown. Posts are very short - 150 characters - so you can't get much information. Usually posts have links to a website. The downside to posting on your own Twitter account is that posts get old within minutes - so having current posts is a daily (or multiple times a day) task.Click here to sign up for a Twitter account.
LinkedIn is a contact networking service that allows you to be introduced to people known by your network. It was originally designed for business and professional use. You can set up a profile for free, but cannot effectively search for other people unless you upgrade to a paying account ($25/month minimum). Paying accounts can contact a few people outside their network each month, but any additional "inmails" are $10 each. If you want to use LinkedIn without fees, the best way is to accumulate a large network. You can also ask and answer questions on the site - which will increase your visibility on LinkedIn.Click here to get a LinkedIn account
SlideShare is a free application you can add to LinkedIn and Facebook that allows you to post documents (.doc,.ppt,.pdf, etc.) to your pages. People can click on the document and download it for share it with others. The documents you post to SlideShare are indexed by GoogleAlert, so people outside your friends may have access to them.
On your profile page, click on Applications and select SlideShare.
Facebook has become a critical part of business social networking because it is easy for people to share, add comments, and feel more personally connected than a standard website.
Facebook user profiles are for personal use. Businesses should be set up as a "page" off your user profile. To set up a business page, ON THE SIGN-UP page, look for the link to set up a business page. You can also set up a business page from your main user profile. Log into Facebook and add a page (bottom left corner Ads and Pages - then select the Pages tab). You need to become your first fan, or your page will not appear.
What is very inconvenient is that you cannot set up an easy-to-remember url that goes directly to your business page UNTIL you have 100 "fans". Once you have 100 fans, go to http://www.facebook.com to select a name.
The key goal for Facebook is to get people to sign up as a fan of your business. Fans will receive any post that you put on your business page Wall. You can set up events and invite your fans to those events as well.
If you have questions about setting up Facebook, look for instructions in the Tools for Business Facebook page. Here is more help: Facebook for Business Superguide
SlideShare is a free application you can add to Facebook and LinkedIn that allows you to post documents (.doc,.ppt,.pdf, etc.) to your pages. People can click on the document and download it for share it with others. The documents you post to SlideShare are indexed by GoogleAlert, so people outside your friends may have access to them.
The first step is to add SlideShare to your personal Wall. Go to the bottom left corner and click on Applications, and choose SlideShare. Next you have to add SlideShare to your business Wall page - which takes a few steps that are not intuitive. For help, go to our Tools Facebook page and look for instructions.
Lasso is a free application you can add to Facebook that allows you to create short-term (up to one month) coupons and post them under "Deals" on your Facebook and Twitter pages. People use the coupons by forwarding them to their phones as a text message and then presenting them when they get to your business. They can also forward the coupons to friends.
To add Lasso to Facebook, go to our Tools Facebook page and look for instructions.
More than 25% of all online searches are on YouTube. Can people find you there? If not, you are missing a great source of free advertising. Google owns YouTube, so if you post videos on YouTube, your Google rankings will probably improve.
But before you go rushing to create a video and post it on YouTube:
Most popular videos on Facebook are not professionally done. But they are interesting, entertaining, unique, or informative. You can use a SmartPhone or video camera to create the video, and then edit it using your favorite video editor.
Pinterest allows people to organize their interests on the web by pinning pictures with links for more information. Businesses can add a "Pin It" button to their website so that your fans can share your business with others.
To be successful at Pinterest, you need to provide something that inspires, helps, or feeds people's passions. So recipes, quotes, stories all work. Selling your product directly usually doesn't. With that said, large companies such as Home Depot have Pinterest sites, so look at how other companies are using Pinterest.
Here are some examples of things that businesses might post on a Pinterest page:
Here's what to do:Click here to register your business on Pinterest and learn about how businesses can use Pinterest Click here to add a Pinterest Pin to your website.
Once people pin your business on their site, you can track how they categorize and share it. This will give you insight into your customers so that you can better meet their needs.
Minnesota Cooperative Extension has a webinar explaining how businesses can use Pinterest for market research.
Writing and publishing blogs on the Internet is free and has these benefits:
Officially, you can monetize your blogs by allowing ads on them. However unless you spend a lot of time increasing your blog's followers, it is unlikely to generate significant revenue for you.
The downside for most people is the time needed to write continual blogs.
To set up a blog, go to http://www.blogger.com
For help promoting your blog, click here
Addthis.com provides free code that creates a button to allow visitors to share your website, blog or Facebook pages. You can track the use of buttons through its free analytics tools.
Google Alert is a free service that sends you an email whenever your topic is updated on the web, news, blogs, or groups. You can monitor multiple topics. You might consider monitoring: