Social media is a great way to market any business. But as with all business-related activity, you need a plan. A strong social media plan begins with who your audience is. Where do your current customers spend their time online? Once you know that, you will know how and where to spend your time.
As with most things in business, they either cost time or money. The more money you have to invest, the less time you have to spend. With social media, it is easy to manage yourself if you have the time. Below are explanations of many of the common tools and who you can reach with each. There are many organizations that offer classes in social media including the local Chambers as well as the Medina County University Center. Be sure to check their websites for upcoming classes.
Social Media Management Workshops – free online training
Web social networking sites
Twitter is considered a micro-blog allowing for only 140 characters in each post. Twitter can help with your search engine optimization (SEO) which means you will have better presence on search engines. It is also a good way to reach a younger audience. You can tie your Twitter account to either a Facebook or LinkedIn account or manage through Hootsuite (see below). To find people on Twitter, we recommend using Twellow.com which is considered yellow pages for Twitter.
LinkedIn is required for anyone who wants to do business with other business professionals. It is a social network of only business information so there is no interruptions from what someone had for lunch or news about their children. The majority of professionals today have a profile and you can easily find the people you need. You can search LinkedIn from within the program or through search engines. LinkedIn can be tied to Twitter or Hootsuite.
Facebook is a good way to reach consumers. Creating a Facebook business page is easy but it is important to understand – over half of people who like business pages are expecting discounts, deals or other specials on your Facebook page. Updates can be made directly, through Twitter or Hootsuite.
Be visible: Get on YouTube!
YouTube is the best site for video and over half the searches on the internet today are done through YouTube. Creating video takes planning and an understanding of what your prospects and customers want to see. At a minimum, every business should create their own YouTube channel to secure that for the future.
Setting up a Blog
Blogging is a great way to share information about your business and products or services. It is important to have a plan for your blog, understand what your prospects and clients want and need, and write six posts in advance of launch. That way you will never be creating content just in time but instead ahead of the schedule. Blogs can be set up for free at wordpress.com or blogger.com. A great way to start is to find some interesting blogs and read, comment and follow them for awhile to see what you like and what you don’t. On each blog article be sure to include ways to Share your post. Share buttons encourage people to send your articles to others and generally post them to their own social media getting you more coverage.
Monitor your business and industry on the web! Google Alerts are a great way to monitor your business reputation, your clients and prospects on the web. Simply create an account at Google and set up alerts on searches you would like run on your behalf each day. You will receive an email with the results on the schedule you specify.