About

April 2018 Business eNewsletter

Welcome to our April business eNewsletter focused on Social Media Marketing for your small business.

Quote of the month:
“Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially… just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.” – Susan Cooper (@buzzedition)

In this Issue…


7 Creative Ways to Boost Your Social Media Strategy
By Deel Patel, Contributor

Develop a multichannel social media strategy that clearly articulates your brand voice, uses a mix of paid and organic means, and brings delight to followers.

Despite recent criticism among business and political commentators, social media networks remain some of the most important and unifying internet platforms. More than 2.5 billion people use social media networks, and that number is expected to grow in the coming years.

Marketers must rely on more than just hashtags and emojis to make the most of channels like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. The world’s most successful social media marketers rely on a variety of sophisticated strategies designed to articulate a particular worldview that boosts brand awareness, drives new business and delights followers.

Let’s look at seven creative ways in which you can dramatically improve your social media performance by following the strategies used by elite social media marketers.

1. Develop a multichannel approach.

Just a few years ago, Twitter was the go-to platform for social media marketers. After that, Facebook assumed the mantle as the best social network for marketers. Today, it seems that most marketers prefer Instagram to reach users.

In the future, there is no telling which social media network will be the darling of social media marketers. Marketers should recognize that it is dangerous to focus only on one social network. Instead, marketers should develop an understanding of the target audience. Many people use a variety of networks for different purposes.

Similarly, social media marketers must take a multichannel approach in reaching prospects and customers. Ensure that each platform is used in unique ways to encourage users to follow your brand across services.

Related: Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Seem Very Sorry or Very Forgiven

2. Invest in influencer marketing.

According to one recent study, roughly 95 percent of marketers who invest in influencer marketing believe it is effective. Some of the world’s leading brands, including Nike, KitchenAid and Rolex, rely on influencer marketing to reach social media users.

Increasingly, internet users have become wary of traditional advertisements. So much so that users have developed “ad blindness,” in which they simply ignore display ads placed prominently on social networks.

To combat this, some brands rely on sponsored content created by social media influencers to build connections with target audiences.

Related: The Road Ahead for Influencer Marketing: 2018 and Beyond

3. Engage commenters as quickly as possible.
Most social media platforms rely on algorithms to determine what content is displayed prominently and what content is buried. Facebook and Instagram use “engagement” as a primary factor in determining what content should or should not be displayed.

One major form of engagement is comments. Posts that receive more comments are often displayed more prominently within social media feeds and within discovery pages like Instagram’s Explore page.

To encourage members of your target audience to engage with your content in meaningful ways, have a social media monitor who is ready to react to user comments at a moment’s notice. The faster you react to the comments, the more likely it is that other users will engage with your content as well. If you are able to comment in a way that feels on-brand and unique, you may even be able to improve brand sentiment in your target audience.

Take the work of one social media manager at Wendy’s, for example. Her work earned national media attention as a result of witty and on-brand retorts that confronted internet trolls.

Related: Wendy’s Amazing Social Media Team Shares The Secrets to its Success

4. Amplify reach through look-alike audiences.

Great social media marketing doesn’t just rely on organic content to increase reach. It should also include some paid elements to amplify reach, especially once you’ve established a clear strategy.

Look-alike audiences rely on the algorithms developed by social networks to help you connect with users who are similar to your ideal customer profile. Simply upload a list of email addresses associated with your best customers to a platform like Facebook, and Facebook will identify other users with a similar demographic and psychographic makeup.

Then you can run ads to drive viewers to your website or business page. In time, this strategy will help you to quickly grow a healthier social media following.

Related: Here’s How to Master Facebook Advertising and Why You Must

5. Measure strategy success through on-platform and on-site measurement.

Analytics are the best way to understand if your social strategy is working. Of course, it is best to measure on-platform metrics like follower growth, engagement and distribution. But it is also worth measuring on-site performance.

For example, are you able to drive users who engage with your brand on social networks to your website? If so, how do those website visitors behave? Do they immediately leave the page (bounce), or do they explore content thoroughly?

Depending on what you find using a tool like Google Analytics, you’ll know if your existing strategy will lead to meaningful business outcomes.

Related: The 3 Best Measures of True Branding Success Are Tough to Quantify

6. Create a clear and unique brand identity.

Social networks are crowded places in which users are constantly reevaluating what they do and do not want within their social media feeds. Because of this, it’s vital that your organization develops a clear and compelling brand identity. Otherwise, your social media presence will simply be some derivation of another brand.

Develop a strategy that articulates a clear and unique brand identity in novel ways using a mix of multimedia content to tell a cohesive story.

Related: 3 Ways to Build Your Brand Identity Using Content Marketing

7. Find creative ways to delight people.

The average person shares a positive customer service experience with 9 other people. Finding creative ways to delight social media users is a great way to build an organic following through amplification and word of mouth.

Develop an editorial calendar and be sure to include delightful moments that make followers feel good about themselves and about your organization. The most obvious opportunity to do this is during major world events and holidays, but simply developing a fun midweek video that is entertaining and on-brand can be a great way to bring joy to social media users in an unexpected way.

The social media landscape is constantly changing, and the marketing tactics are changing as well. However, while tactics will change, the strategies outlined in this article will remain the same.

Develop a multichannel social media strategy that clearly articulates your brand voice, uses a mix of paid and organic means, and brings delight to followers. In time, you develop a meaningful social media following capable of driving big business to your organization.

Read this article Entrepreneur.com


Getting Started with a Social Media Plan
By Alyssa Gregory

Small business owners who haven’t gotten started with social media might be overwhelmed, intimidated and confused by sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube and Vine when they consider what to do and what not to do when using these sites for business. The good news is that it can be easy to get started using social media sites for your business, and not only can it be fun, but it can also open up the possibility of new opportunities. Here are seven tips to help you navigate the social media waters in a manageable and effective way.

01 Pick One Social Media Site to Start

Most small businesses that are active in social media participate on more than one site, but trying to do too much too fast can not only be overwhelming but it can also prevent you from learning how to effectively use each site. Choose one site to start with and focus your attention there first before moving onto others.

02 Create a Social Media Time Budget

You could easily spend hours each day getting up to speed on the popular social media sites. While that may be a good way to learn the ropes, you probably don’t have the time, energy or interest in putting so much of your time into social media. Instead, create a time budget that limits your social media time to a daily or weekly total that you can fit into your schedule fairly easily.

03 Clarify Your Social Media Goals and Objectives

Once you know how much time you will be spending on social media sites, you will need to make sure you are clear on your goals.

What do you want to accomplish with social media? Are you interested in generating leads, finding colleagues to collaborate with, establishing yourself as an expert in your industry?

Clarify your goals and objectives by using SMART goals, and then plan progress checks once you get started so you can make sure you’re on the right track.

04 Outline Your Approach

There are hundreds of different ways to use social media sites for business, and one way is not necessarily better than another. The key is knowing what your intended approach is before you start.

Will you be a communicator, provide an industry-related news feed, present a mix of business and personal information? Outline your intended approach and work it into your goals as you get started.

05 Complete Your Social Media Profiles … Consistently

Each of your social media accounts will include some kind of profile. Profile fields may include a bio, websites, blogs, location and a headshot.

Be sure to completely fill out your profile on any social media sites you use. Consistency is vital when it comes to social media, especially as you begin to explore more than one site.

Not only should you complete your profiles, but it’s also a good idea to keep your data as consistent as possible across all of your social media sites. This will aid in recognition, broader reach, and ongoing communication with the same contacts on multiple sites.

06 Lurk and Observe

Sometimes, the best way to get started on a new social media site is by signing up and then watching the pros, or at least the people who have been using the site for a while. Each social media site has a very unique set of nuances, and it can be a smart move to spend some time observing and learning the ins and outs before deciding how you will approach the social media site to promote your business.

07 Use a Social Media Dashboard

One of the biggest challenges with social media is time management. Social media dashboards, such as HootSuite, TweetDeck or Social Oomph, can help you manage your social media time more effectively.

These tools allow you to set up alerts and notifications, create groups, skim activity quickly, and schedule updates so you can automate some of the social media processes. While you won’t want to over-automate, social media dashboards can make the process of using social media for business smooth and efficient.

Read this article TheBalance.com


10 Expert Social Media Tips To Help Your Small Business Succeed
By Gerri Detweiler

Social media can be a great way for small business owners to connect with prospects and customers. Done right, it can make sales skyrocket. Some entrepreneurs have even built an entire business on a social media platform, like Rachel Dunston, the founder of Rachel Bakes More Cake, who built a thriving cake business on Instagram. But if you’re not careful, it can be a dstracting time suck, or even backfire by alienating customers and prospects.

Here, 10 small business experts share strategies small business owners can use to nurture a successful presence on social media.

1. Lead with objectives

“Start with your top three marketing objectives, then evaluate how social media may help you achieve them. Too often business owners buy into the idea that ‘I have to be there. I have to be in all these new places or I’ll be left behind.’ But social media has to help you reach your objectives or you’re just wasting time. Don’t think of social media as just a megaphone for your business, but think about how it can help you reach your goals.”

John Jantsch, business marketing consultant, speaker, and author of Duct Tape Marketing.

2. Build your authority

“As a business owner, I believe that you can’t over-invest in your LinkedIn presence in 2018. This also applies to anyone looking to further their career or success, particularly those working in sales or marketing. Concentrating on growing audiences and engagement on LinkedIn can absolutely boost sales and conversion rates. It will also lead toward amazing opportunities for collaboration.

“As someone who turns entrepreneurs into media celebrities, I teach that LinkedIn is also excellent for attracting amazing opportunities to be seen as the go-to authority for your industry. Authority is a currency. The more of it you have, the more you can cash in on opportunities for growth of all kinds.”

Josh Elledge, founder of upendPR.com, and a weekly syndicated newspaper columnist who reaches more than 1.1 million readers; also regularly appears on radio and more than 75 TV stations across the country.

3. Start a conversation

“The key thing with Facebook is to remember that the algorithm they use rewards posts that have interaction. If a business posts something but no one responds, then Facebook won’t show it to anyone. They’re trying to keep people on their website, and they can only do that by showing posts and stories that people find interesting. It’s going to get more difficult, as Facebook announced they’re going to be changing their algorithm. They’ll now favor content from friends over companies and other pages.

“The key is to ask questions and respond to the answers. A car dealer could post a picture of someone buying their first car and, sure, it’s interesting enough. But if they turn around and ask people, ‘What was your first car?’ they have a chance to get people to answer, and then they can respond. Now, to that person who answered the question, it’s not a car dealer, it’s a car dealer who knows his first car.”

Adam McCloskey, Associate Director, Florida SBDC at UWF, which is part of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide network of more than 40 centers offering consulting, training, and resources to aspiring and existing small businesses.

4. Show appreciation

“The most important thing about social media is that it’s not just about you! Social media is not a monologue where you tell the world about the awards you’ve won, or the special deals on your products and services. It’s an opportunity for you to connect, in a meaningful way, with the people who have helped you and supported you in business. If you think about the 10 to 20 most important people in your business world, social media allows you to recognize and thank them for helping you along the way. You can thank them by giving recognition to their posts and tweets: like, follow, and share their messages. It’s your way of saying thank you. More importantly, they will appreciate the gesture and continue to support your efforts.”

Brian Moran, small business expert and founder of SmallBusinessEdge.com.

5. Stand out

“Social media is personal. It’s your personal brand first, and your job or business second. You need to convey your persona. Get above the noise. Be different. You don’t have to wear a superhero costume like me, but in a world of social media noise you need to stand out and be remembered.”

Kedma Ough, “Small Business Superhero” speaker and small business consultant.

6. Have a clear goal

“Advertising on Facebook can be lucrative, but it will require an investment in both time and money, and there will be a learning curve. Know exactly what you are trying to accomplish: sales, leads, or both? Avoid “dopey” metrics like likes, follows, or impressions. Use Facebook pixel and/or Facebook lead ads so you can track and measure results. As a small business owner who advertises on Facebook myself, I measure the ad spend vs. sales or leads generated to determine if it’s worth it or not—so should you.”

Gene Marks, small business owner and author who writes daily for The Washington Post and weekly for Forbes.

7. Dominate on one platform

“Find out where your target customer spends time online. Then pick one social platform and dominate on that one. Claim your profiles on the other networks, but focus most of your time on that one. Listen first. You need to be ‘friend-raising’ online. I started out (on Twitter) just sharing other people’s content for six months. When you share your own content, do it on a four to one ratio – share four pieces of someone else’s content for every piece of your own that you share. On Twitter, where I have over 324,000 followers, my advice is, ‘Be sweet, retweet.'”

Melinda Emerson, the “Small Biz Lady” and author of the e-book How to Become a Social Media Ninja.

8. Create a calendar

“Planning your social media activities will allow you to post consistently – and get more consistent results. You can create a strategy and actually get better results with less time and effort. You can determine which activities to automate and which to assign, whether that’s to an employee or contractor.”

Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, which offers a free downloadable social media calendar template.

9. Be visual

“Attention spans are short so be sure to add photos and videos to your social content. It will boost engagement and is perfect for businesses with products to show off. If you have a service-based business, consider a photo with words or a photo that complements your text. And don’t overlook visually-oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.”

Carol Roth, billion-dollar deal maker, creator of the Future File Legacy Planning System, business advisor, New York Times bestselling author, and TV host and personality.

10. Don’t try to do it yourself

“As a small business owner, your time is limited, so delegate social media work to someone (or a team) in your company, or engage an outside expert. Then add the cost of your social media strategy to your budget.”

Barbara Weltman, author of J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes and publisher of Idea of the Day® and Big Ideas for Small Business® at BarbaraWeltman.com.

More resources

Social media can feel overwhelming, especially to the already stretched-in-a-million-directions entrepreneur. Even business owners who hate social media can be successful if they are strategic in their approach. A few additional resources that can help include:

– You’ll find a plethora of tips for succeeding on social media at AllBusiness.com.
– Neil Patel provides a very solid overview of this topic in his article Social Media Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide.
– Finally, your local Small Business Development Center or SCORE office also likely offers training and/or consulting on social media strategy at little or no cost.

RELATED: Biggest Social Media Mistakes Made by Businesspeople

Read this article at the Forbes.com


Why Small Businesses Have the Social Media Marketing Advantage
By Rachel Blakely

As a small business owner, you’re constantly looking for new ways to get your company’s brand on the radar of potential customers. If you don’t already, using social media in business is a great way to engage with current customers as well as attract new ones.

Small business social media marketing strategies actually have an advantage over big companies. Why? Social media effectiveness boils down to engagement. If a business doesn’t engage with its customers, chances are it won’t have success in social media marketing.

Small Business Social Media

Interacting with consumers on social media is an important marketing strategy for small businesses. Using social media helps you build brand awareness, increase your customer base, and connect with current customers.

In fact, one study revealed a whopping 90% of marketers say social media is important to their business. Eighty-two percent of survey participants worked in businesses with less than 100 employees.

Marketing through social media is easy for small business owners as long as you actively post on social media pages. Some common social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. To effectively use social media for your business, set a schedule to regularly engage with your followers.

Why small businesses have the social media marketing advantage

Social media success does not depend on how many followers a business has. Instead, it depends on customer engagement.

Here are some reasons why small businesses can actually have more success on social media than big companies:

1. Small businesses are community and individual focused

There are quite a few differences between big and small businesses, like legal structure, the number of employees, and revenue. But, the nitty-gritty aspects of a business aren’t the only distinctions between big and small businesses.

Small businesses tend to be more community and individual focused. Many small businesses choose to be heavily involved in their communities, which leads to a connection with customers. They also enjoy the benefits of joining the chamber of commerce in their community by connecting and sometimes partnering on marketing campaigns with other local businesses.

When using social media, small businesses can connect with their customers online. Small businesses are more likely to respond to their customers than large businesses. As a small business, you can easily handle the influx of comments from customers, so make sure you reply quickly.

Social media is a great way for people to talk about products or services. To increase customer engagement, ask customers to post pictures on social media with the company’ product. And, welcome reviews, questions, comments, and concerns from consumers.

As a small business owner, you can easily foster connections with individuals on social media. Current and potential customers will have more respect and appreciation for a business who provides timely responses.

2. Less expensive advertising

Though you can pay for some advertising features, like on Facebook, social media is free. You can target those advertisements to reach people within a certain radius of your business. That means you don’t end up paying for advertising outside of your local customer base.

To start advertising on Facebook, set a budget and choose your audience. Instead of coughing up thousands of dollars on social media marketing to reach across the nation, small businesses only have to focus on their locality.

Social media is a great advertising tool without paying for the extra features. You can update your followers on promotions, sales, new products, or even just industry-related information. Posting photos also help customers see what you offer.

With social media, you advertise to your current customers. But, you also can advertise to potential customers by getting your brand out there. Your current customers are great brand ambassadors, as well.

Small business owners typically know their customers personally, making it more natural for customers to share their experiences on social media. Current customers can post about your products or services, bringing your brand on the radar of their network and attracting new people to your business.

3. Joint social media marketing efforts

Multiple small businesses can collaborate on social media marketing strategies. As a small business owner, you can work with neighboring small businesses (not competitors) that target people within your niche.

For example, you can post on your Twitter that customers can get a 20% coupon to another small business if they buy from you and vice versa. Or, team up with a neighboring company for a social media giveaway or contest. Winners can get a prize that includes products from both businesses. You could even showcase your neighboring business’s promotions on your social media sites to show camaraderie.

By teaming up, you and the other small business can build brand awareness. You can get on the radar of potential customers and encourage individuals to buy from both businesses.

4. Personalized attention

Small businesses are all about personalization. For some, shopping at small businesses is part of having a good buying experience. One survey found that 53% of consumers want to shop at small businesses because they like the personal service they receive.

When customers are at your business, you can take the time to connect with individuals. You can answer where your products come from, how long your business has been around, and where you got the inspiration to start your business.

Personalized attention isn’t just applicable to consumers who are at your physical business location. On social media, small businesses can give more than scripted responses to customers.

A big corporation that sells across the nation doesn’t have time to give a personalized response to each customer. A small business, on the other hand, can write a genuine response directly addressing the customer’s situation. This direct connection between consumers and brands gives small businesses the social media marketing advantage.

5. Small businesses can piggyback on big advertising

Some large organizations hold events that small businesses can leverage in their social media marketing strategies.

Small Business Saturday (SBS), a day established in 2010 by American Express, promotes small businesses across the nation. If you’re not familiar with SBS, it’s a shopping holiday meant to encourage consumers to shop small. SBS takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

With Small Business Saturday, businesses can piggyback on nationwide social media marketing courtesy of American Express. American Express makes huge strides to advertise the day and get people to buy from small businesses.

Because of this, consumers know about SBS. In 2016, 112 million consumers shopped on Small Business Saturday. Since consumers recognize the nationwide event, it’s easier for small businesses to use social media to their advantage.

Big businesses might be able to dole out huge amounts of cash for advertising. With Small Business Saturday, you can reap the benefits of mass advertising just by posting that your business will participate.

Read this article at the DuctTapeMarketing.com