Social Media 101: Market Your Small Business in 20 Minutes or Less

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You asked for it, so here it is! My list of easy ways to market yourself on social media.

Pinterest is a tremendous driver of sales for many companies. Joining group boards or starting your own group boards is critical to getting people to your site. So what if your business is local and you’re not interested in having followers from around the globe? Well, then start a group board for your region or your demographic. For example, if you’re a local pediatrician and you’re looking to build your practice, start a page called “Atlanta Pediatrics” and post anything pertaining to raising kids in Atlanta. You can also post articles about parenting, kids’ crafts, etc. Eventually, people in your region will see you as an expert in your area and you will get new business.

What if you are in an industry where there are tons of people doing what you do? Kim Bloomberg, for example, is a jewelry designer and is just one among thousands. At every art show she does, there are more jewelry designers than any other vendor. So how can she stand out on Pinterest? By targeting a niche market. People who want her jewelry are looking for a specific quality and they want to know the artist behind the jewels.

Another good example is a realtor. You’ll want to create a page for people relocating to your area. If all of the local realtors are fighting for the same clients, you have now just set yourself apart from the competition. Start a board called, “New to Chicago?” or “Relocating to the North Shore” and market yourself as an expert on that area so that YOU are the one clients call. Be the one who makes the entire experience easy for them; know the best movers, the best schools and  the hottest restaurants. Show what you know on your Pinterest page. Pinterest starts out with “window shoppers” but a good Pinterest presence with relevant content leads to customer acquisition.

Once you figure out your niche, be sure to tag your pins appropriately. You don’t want to use the tag Halloween, for example, on something you are posting in March. Follow the trends. March has a lot of posts about weddings, spring, gardening, St. Patrick’s Day, and Mardi Gras—be sure to tag your pins that way. Write good tags followed by commas under every single thing you post on pinterest. That way, if someone is searching for bridal jewelry, they will come across my page if I have the appropriate tags in place.

 

Instagram is where the kids are hanging out. Seriously, all young people are on Instagram. It moves very fast and the feed shows up in real time, just like Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. You’ll want to post once or twice a day so you can reach people who are on at various times.  Instagram is very easy to use, you just post a picture, write a caption and then put tags. Again, you want to Google the best tags to use. I just Googled the top 100 and I typically use 4-5 of those each time I post something (also consider #instapix, #instadaily, etc.)

While Instagram is a common place for young people, tons of companies are using it too. It’s a way to connect with the personal side of a company as well as visually update customers on new products. Instagram is great for behind the scenes look at what is going on in a company. For example, when you get new business cards or create a new product. Added bonus: once you’ve posted, you’ll, have the opportunity to add it to some of your other social media outlets.

Facebook  is changing and not in favor of small businesses. With these new changes, not everything your company posts will show up to your entire network UNLESS you buy a Facebook ad (and even then, you’re not promised to reach everyone). If you aren’t planning on purchasing an ad, you’ll want to post in places other than Facebook. Think of it as a back-up contraceptive to your other social media outlets. Now, here are some tips for posting on FB:
(1) Post often, but not too often (as in not more than 3 times per day.)

(2) Make sure to have a good balance of posting information and engaging your audience. Engaging your audience means to ask questions and give your customers choices. For example, Kim will periodically ask people to name a piece of jewelry. BaBam! 16 comments almost immediately. People like to be heard and love when they are asked for their opinions.

(3) Sometimes you should post links as your status update and other times, write LINK IN COMMENTS. Why you ask? Because Facebook shows status updates that are purely written much more often and to many more people. So, if you want to show an article about your company, write a nice short summary of the article with the words LINK IN COMMENTS and then put it as the very first one.

(4) Comments help your post go viral more than just “likes.” Likes on FB are nice, but comments are more visible in a greater amount of newsfeeds.

(5) Facebook is really moving to try to get companies to buy their ads. So, you need to decide if this is a good fit for your company. If you want to grow organically and not buy ads, you’ll definitely need to utilize other forms of social media.

Google has cornered the market on the Internet, which is why exploring Google + is a necessity. A lot of young people are starting to “hang out” in Google chat and Google has a lot of interesting features. But more importantly, posting things on Google+ will help you show up more in Internet searches. For example, Kim posted the Fedex contest on Google + and then when she Googled the contest, my Google+ post was on the front page of Google.  You can also think of Google+ as a free broadcast system. You can host classes, give lectures and give a free webinar. People can tune in and watch live. It is pretty cool and doesn’t require a staff of producers.

Companies spend big bucks hiring SEO experts, but this is something you can easily do quickly and from home. I am just starting to explore it myself, but a good way to learn more about it is by watching a tutorial on (drumroll please)…

 

Video content on Youtube can be another big driver of traffic to your site due to the sheer volume of visitors it receives daily and it’s potential for organic SEO. Think about anything related to your business and make a video about. For example, Kim plans on making a video about which jewelry to wear with certain necklines. She could also do a tutorial on how to accessorize for day and night. Believe it or not, people are hungry for information on how to do just about everything. I use Youtube whenever I don’t know how to use a website, an app or an art project. I learned how to use google + by watching some videos on google +. There is literally a Youtube video for everything. Over time, you can have your own channel with content being added as often as possible.

 

Twitter

A lot of people are scared of Twitter or don’t understand its use. I was one of those people until recently. Then I learned that Twitter is one of the best ways to interact with a company and to receive  up-to-date news. Why? Because twitter happens in real time. Twitter is a great way to not just say what’s on your mind, but to also drum up new business. It’s awesome for connecting with brands (if that’s what you’re interested in) as well as chatting with others in your industry.

So how does it work? You simply follow the companies or media outlets that peak to your interests and check up on them throughout the day (if you want).  The newspaper is published once per day, but tweets happen as soon as news occurs. Take for example a traffic jam on the highway. Twitter will likely announce it first. For delays at the airport, simply write @southwest or @jetblue and you will get a response much faster than calling. You will find out what is going on even before their computers have announced any delays. Personally, I follow newspapers and read articles that interest me and ignore the ones that don’t. I follow some comedians and their one line tweets give me a chuckle. It is like a self-curated newspaper that caters to all of your needs and interests.

For your business, tweeting at random times is best. The feed keeps moving so if you don’t reach an audience in the morning, you will have more opportunities throughout the day. Don’t forget to tag anything that relates to your business or the message you are trying to convey.

(1) A tweet can’t have more than 140 characters and can include photos and videos—get creative!

(2) Retweet messages you enjoy or @reply if you really want to interact with a certain tweet. 

 (3) Mention others by their Twitter username (example: @etsystalkers) in your Tweets. This will draw more eyes to your message or start a new conversation.

SO, that is it in a nutshell. If you do all of this sporadically, it can all be done effectively in 20 minutes or less each day. Those 20 minutes will really help your business.

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