Just about every business owner and executive in Rhode Island or even the rest of the world uses social media. But I would say that a small minority uses social platforms productively. That’s because some aren’t bothering to market their businesses through social media at all, and a lot of those who are trying aren’t getting results.
There are several reasons for this disconnect. On one end of the spectrum, you have business people who claim that “social media marketing just doesn’t work.” Experience has shown me that they are incorrect, and are missing out on one of the biggest opportunities available to small and medium-sized businesses in decades as a result. On the other side, you have hundreds of thousands who are attempting to get customers and build relationships through Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites, but just aren’t getting any traction.
I’m going to walk you through the simple steps to using social media marketing in a way that’s good for your schedule, your budget, and your business.
Build Your Social Media Business Profiles
If you want to engage in the kind of social media marketing that actually leads to results, then the first step is having a working set of profiles. That’s not the same as having personal profiles, or business pages set up on only the social sites you personally prefer.
This is an issue I see all the time. A given business owner will enjoy using Facebook, for example, or Pinterest. However, because of the nature of their business, the age of their customers, or other factors, there just aren’t many buyers to be found. And so, they throw up their hands and decide social media marketing is a waste of time, when in reality the problem was they didn’t bother promoting themselves in the places where it would make the most sense.
You wouldn’t build a restaurant in the middle of the desert 50 miles from the nearest town and expect diners to wander by when they got hungry.
In the same way, you can’t set up profiles on the social media sites you like if they aren’t popular destinations for the people you want to market to. Remember, search engines and social media sites are very different animals – when someone goes to Google, they are looking for an answer to a question. When they log on to Facebook, for instance, they are probably trying to be entertained or stay in touch with family and friends.
You can only stand out and grow your business by catching their attention. That means first showing up where they are.
With that caveat out of the way, it’s important to establish and maintain profiles for your company. This could mean business pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. Whatever you do, make it clear that the profile represents your company, not you as a person. Then, post professional messages related to your business rather than personal rants. You’re looking to engage customers, not to air personal grievances.
Building business profiles on major social media sites – complete with photos, logos, and contact information – is the first step in the marketing process that too many business owners ignore. Make your company easy to find by setting up and branding your social accounts.
Make Managing Social Easier
A common complaint among business owners and busy executives is that they simply don’t have time to waste on social media. That’s a valid concern. After all, what’s the point of tweeting something if you’ve got real work to do?
Acknowledging that time is an issue isn’t the same as saying you should ignore your social profiles, though. Instead, it just means you should be managing them in a more efficient way.
There are several different tools o