Getting Started with Social Media Marketing: What SMBs Need to Know

Getting Started With Social Media Marketing

As a small business owner, you probably already know that social media marketing is a valuable way to engage existing customers. But what you do on social media can also increase your ability to get discovered by new customers because it promotes word of mouth, drives traffic to your website, and even boosts your visibility on search engines. Follow these tips to learn what every SMB needs to know about reaching new customers through social media.

Go where your target consumers are.
To establish an immediate presence on social media, create profiles on Facebook and Twitter, but keep an eye out for new and industry-specific social media platforms that attract your target consumers. For instance, creating a YouTube channel is a great way to share how-to or product videos with your audience. You can also join location-based sites like Foursquare and Whrrl to drive engagement with your target consumers by giving them compelling incentives for checking in when they visit your business and providing them with interesting facts and tips.

Promote your social profiles.
So, you’ve created profiles on some of the most trafficked social media and content sites. Now what? Promote them! Tell your existing customers about your social media pages through emails or in-store signage, and ask loyal fans and followers to share your content with their social media networks. Add Facebook and Twitter “follow me” buttons to your website to let visitors know how to easily follow your social media pages, and offer incentives to consumers who join your social networks – like a free dessert exclusively for your Facebook fans.

Don’t be a wallflower.
It’s important to know that social media requires participation. So, to get more fans and followers for your business, you have to join the existing conversation. Start by following other small business owners, influential bloggers in your industry, and of course, consumers who show interest in your products or services. Then reply to, comment on, and share their content, such as an interesting blog post or a local event. Many will follow you back if they see your profile page is full of valuable content.

Talk about yourself – sparingly.
Because social media is often the first time many consumers meet your business, you don’t want your stream of content to look like one continuous ad.  It’s important to post updates about your business, but like on a first date, only talking about yourself can easily turn someone off. So, it’s important to also share helpful tips, entertaining videos, exclusive offers and other engaging content that compels consumers to act. The more interesting your content, the more likely it is to drive engagement (such as a “like” or a comment), a social share, or a visit to your blog or website – which can result in a new lead for your business.

Optimize for search engines.
It’s not just consumers who love fresh content – search engines do too! Content posted on publicly-facing social sites like Twitter, YouTube and Flickr get indexed by search engines, giving consumers even more ways to find your content online. So optimize every social media post for search by including keywords, tags, and links that will help you get discovered by consumers who are not a part of your social networks.

Track your social media efforts.
One of the most often overlooked aspects of social media marketing is measuring your results. It’s critical to track data like fans and followers, engagements, and leads with a tool like Facebook Insights. You can also set up Google Alerts to discover what’s being said about your business or industry, which you can use to create new content and join conversations that will help you reach more customers online.

What do you think other SMBs should know about using social media marketing to reach consumers online? Which of these tips is the easiest for your business master– and which is the most difficult? Let us know in the comments!


Tamara Weintraub

Tamara is a content marketing manager at ReachLocal with over 7 years experience in B2B marketing and has a nerd-level affinity for software and technology. She specializes in helping local businesses succeed online, writing and learning about Google, search advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. When she's not writing about online marketing, you can find her watching cult TV and hanging out with her Doberman.

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