Social Media Marketing for the Small Business (Part 1)

Editor’s Note: This is part 1 in our Social Media Marketing Series.

Social Media Marketing RocksSocial Media Marketing for the Small Business (Part 1)

So you have a business that sells something, widgets, gym memberships, washing machines from the Walla Walla Washing Machine Company, you have your thing you sell. And of course you want people to buy it. You have heard Facebook is this amazing place to post stuff and hope people see it and maybe just maybe if someone sees your post you will sell something. Or maybe you are supposed to be on Twitter, yeah, that must be where you are supposed to say amazing things in 140 characters or less and have people read your Tweets, visit your site, and buy something. Or is it LinkedIn, or Instagram, or maybe its Snapchat. Yeah, they sell stuff there, right?rnrnOkay, yeah, sort of, not really, but kind of. First, Facebook is a great place to post content but if you are a business, you will be hard pressed to get any traction with out paying some money (more on that in a future post). Basically Facebook has tweaked their “secret sauce” to make sure you aren’t getting something for nothing. Only if others share you stuff do you get any chance of traction. But how do you get people to share your stuff if they don’t even see it because Facebook buries it like the second page of a Google Search result.

The 80/20 Rule

So how does one get exposure for their business? It is tricky but doable. First remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your postings on any social network should be information that benefits your target audience or at least entertains them and gives them something to like but even better share. 20% of your posts can actually be able your business and what you offer. Why? Well, like sales pitch, we get bored quick if you keep hitting us with ads but we are forgiving if you are busy posting useful or interesting things. So an ad every once in a while isn’t a problem. Great, so how do I get started?

 

Account Names Matter

First you need to decide on an account name. This is like naming your first born child. It has to be a name that won’t get them ridiculed in school and that you won’t go your whole life wishing you could change. In other words, once you set it you need to be able to stick with it. Twitter has a fourteen character limit on screen names. And you want to be able to use this same name on every social media you sign up for. This is the name that represents your brand. Say you are representing Joe’s Pool Hall. Well, it might make good sense to use @joespoolhall as your screen name on Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Snapchat, and Facebook. But notice it could be misread as joe spool hall. Does that matter? Maybe but probably not. But be aware of words inside of words when you put all your words together. You may want to do a little research before you fall in love with a username. For example, you would not believe how many sites there are that are variations on Faith and Technology. I didn’t know and if I had researched it I might have gone with a different domain name.

While a rose with any other name would smell just as sweet, this isn't true of websites.Click To Tweet

Check Out Part 2 of the Series.

Experiments in Bad Social Media (Part 1)

A while back I read a great booked called “The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users” by Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzsimmons. Great book. It pointed out a lot of things I speculated about social media and it told me a lot of new things. So when 2015 hit, I said to myself this is going to be my year and I am going to make great strides on my blog, my books, and my social media presence. You may have said similar. It takes time and patience to do all of that. It seems to also take sleep deprivation.

You may not know this but I am lazy. I try to find the shortest path to any problem. Because of that I am willing to experiment from time to time with radical jumps in logic to see what works and what doesn’t. Social Media has been an ongoing experiment for me. Editor’s Note” By the way, that Wine company still follows me on Twitter as do a lot of the ones who jumped on board because of that Wine festival. 

So recently I was hovering just under 1200 followers on Twitter. I could not seem to break 1200. For every 20 followers on Twitter, 10 will unfollow you. This isn’t an exact science but that seems to be the ratio. This happens mostly because of so many spammy accounts on Twitter.

unfollowers-dot-com

I use a site called unfollowers.com They have a paid service but I use the free one. I used to be fixated on how many followed or unfollowed me. I learned quickly this is not a good strategy. 

You can't get fixated on who unfollows you. Instead, get fixated on those who do follow you. Click To Tweet

So unfollowers.com shows you how many followers were suspended from Twitter. They made the Twitter Gods mad and were smited by Twitter. But it doesn’t show you their names as well, they are basically just no longer on Twitter. These users usually come from the “$29 dollars and I will give you 5000 followers” type Twitter accounts that pop up all the time. What is often interesting is to see the real people who follow these accounts. It is also strange to see how many real accounts are accounts that are a part of the 5000. Here is a great story about someone who paid $5 on Fiverr.com and what their results were. So today 9 users in the list got suspended. This is how the numbers of followers and unfollowers fluctuate so fast.

unfollowers-Twitter-Suspended-Users

But unfollower.com does have some great statistics, such as who are your Zombie followers? Those who followed you and have become inactive on Twitter are Zombies.  I have theorized and even read some articles that elude to the fact that if less people follow you than you follow, some people will not follow you. So I every so often prune those I follow, especially those who followed me but then stopped tweeting. If I had followed them back and they stopped posting, not much use to keep following them. For me the magic number used to be I would follow less than a thousand people. See, I don’t like to follow companies or famous people. Sure this probably means I have less followers but I prefer to follow genuine real people and I try my best to be a genuine person. Also, I don’t follow Egg Heads. You know what I mean. The ones that never load a profile picture. What do they have to hide? If you want genuine followers you have to be genuine yourself and post a real photo of yourself. Only people who have already earned a lot of followers or who are artists or photographers can post a cartoon head from the Simpson’s and still earn new followers.

Here are some tips that I should use to get and keep Twitter followers:

1. Be authentic

2. Post great headlines

3. Engage with your users

4. Tweets with photos get more clicks, more favorites, more everything

5. Post often by using hootsuite or Buffer

I use Hootsuite (the paid version) but 99% of what I want to accomplish I could do with the free version. You should try the free version of either. In the future I think I will try Buffer app. Both schedule your content based when your tweets seem to be read the most.

6. Figure out what your niche is. You can’t focus on great content if you are all over the place. My niche seems to be Computer Security, Cool Technology, WordPress, and the occasional funny Internet post. Look at Twitter Analytics to see what of your Tweets interest others. Buffer and Hootsuite also will show you your trends.

Hootsuite Stats

Here is an actual complete report if you want to see what Hootsuite provides.Ow.ly Click Summary – aroyrichardsonFeb2015

Part 2, I tell you some of the crazy things I have tried and what worked and what didn’t.