Marketing your small business online has never been easier, yet the ease of using these tools also comes with the complexity of figuring out which tools are worth your time of how leverage them. So as a small business how do you create an effective online marketing presence and how do you integrate it into your traditional marketing? And while we are asking these questions, how do you do it on a limited budget? Here are 8 small business marketing tips to help you out: 1. Start with your website. Is your website social? By that I mean do you have a fully search engine optimized website with the ability to publish new content and integrated email sign up and social channels? It’s now easier than ever to create a stunning, easy-to-use social website that you can manage and publish yourself. At SocialNicole, we love WordPress. We use it ourselves and encourage our small business clients to use it as well. One of our goals is help businesses transfer their old, worn-out websites to WordPress. It’s not very difficult or expensive and can make all the difference in your ability to be seen by the world! 2. Pick the right social media channels. Not using social media to market your business would be a major mistake. It has become the norm to do a Google search to find a product or service and soon it will become the norm to do a Facebook search and use your social connections to help you make decisions. There are many many social media channels beyond the basic Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn that we are so accustomed to seeing. Sometimes it can be mind boggling when you hear things like “Pinterest is the hottest new social channel” and what about Google+ getting all that action? It pays to sit down and really try to understand where your target audience is truly hanging out and also what resources you have to devote to new and different channels and select channels accordingly. Don’t feel like you need to jump on every social media hot new channel as you cannot be everywhere at once. Pick the channels you think will be best for your audience and your business and stick with building those communities. 3. Pick an email marketing service that is right for your business. There are no shortages on email marketing services. If you think email marketing is passé that is wrong. Collecting emails and communicating with your audience through email is still a very important part of inbound marketing. I would suggest that even if you don’t think you will send many emails out that you setup an email “catch” form on your website and give people the option to “opt in” to hear from you. 4. Setup an editorial and marketing calendar and check it weekly. This is where you track all the trends, events, holidays and anything else that may be affecting your business. From this calendar you can decide on what content to create and curate for your different channels. Without a calendar that you are following regularly it will be easy to get lost in the shuffle and end up either dropping the ball on your marketing or losing focus. 5. Create a management guide. We create management guides for every client that uses our social media management services. The guide outlines exactly what needs to be done every single day for management of all online channels so there is no surprise. Remember, if you are doing the management yourself you have to check your guide daily and follow it. 6. Set time each day to take care of your marketing. Follow your management guide and make adjustments as needed. It depends on how robust your social marketing efforts are, the more time you put into the more you will get out of it. Remember that social marketing means creating content ongoing – you have to be constantly part of the conversation and you need to be providng useful relevant information. The only way this will happen is if you devote some time daily to the process. At SocialNicole, we serve as the online marketing managers for many small businesses. Following up with clients who need to write blog posts, editing and publishing the content, posting the new content as well as curating content to post.WE keep the wheels turning and that takes time each day. Consider whether you need outside help or this is something you can handle on your own. I always say “do you want to focus on your business and make money and let us focus on your social marketing or do you want to divide your time and make less money?” it’s up to you to do what makes sense to you. 7. Investigate and invest in social marketing management tools. If you are doing it yourself you will need to pay for your own tools if you use an agency chances are they will include the tools as part of your retainer. At SocialNicole we use a variety of tools including Hootsuite, ArgyleSocial, Bufferapp, Basecamp, Google Reader, Raven Tools and Trackur to name a few. Each tool has it’s own purpose and together they work to make management easier. Take a look, test some tools out and see what will work for you. 8. Get a smartphone and get the right apps to help manage and oversee your channels. Even if you ousource your social media you will want to be connected and be able to see what is happening at all times. A smartphone is an essential for any management of social marketing. There you have it. 8 tips to help you take control of your small business social marketing. Does it sound a bit overwhelming? It can be at first, but once you get started and get a routine it will become easier. Give us a call if you would like help with a basic social media plan and setup or if you would like to outsource your social marketing we can help. Photo Credit 1 Photo Credit 2
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