Editor’s Note: This post is resurrected from the dead after this site was hacked. As it was one of the sites most popular posts it had to come back.
Editor’s Note 2: This is part 2 in our Social Media Marketing for Small Business series. Click here for Part 1.
Social Media Marketing For the Small Business (Part 2).
First we have to establish Authority. According to Google, Authority is “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience”. That seems a little harsh. Basically, for the Internet, Authority is demonstrating you are an expert enough for people to listen to you and ultimately follow your brand and buy your product. For some things this is easily demonstrated. You can post articles about your product or concept to your website or blog. These articles or posts need to give value and not be fluff pieces. After you establish yourself you can get away with occasionally writing an article about nothing. But if you want your readers, followers, and eventual customers to really pay attention to you, you have to give them something for their time.
If your brand is a fitness center, you should post articles about proper lifting techniques, how to do lunges properly, sit-ups, etc. Basically articles about fitness to match your theme. It is important to include pictures with your posts as a picture is a quick attention grabber. So perhaps you have someone demonstrate the correct form for a particular exercise. Sure there are tons of other sites with the same stuff, but yours is different because it is coming from you. Also if you take your own pictures, it makes you more authentic rather than posting stock photos you have to pay for or searching for images that are public domain or Creative Commons (a licensing format that allows use of photos and often modifications as long as you give attribution to the person who originally created it. Variations apply so you need to always read the fine print to be sure you are in compliance.) Sometimes it makes sense to buy stock photos. Be sure they match your brand and what you are trying to convey.
Then armed with these articles, start sharing them to Social Media. How do you share? There are many ways. You can share one Social Network at a time.
Sharing On Twitter
This would be tedious and time consuming. If you are running a WordPress blog, there are many tools that will share your posts for you on various Social Media sites. Jetpack from Automatic will share your posts to Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others if you allow it access to your accounts. Fairly painless. This only shares but doesn’t give you any tracking or analytics (which we will cover in detail in a later article in the series). But this does beat going to every social network to share.
Another way is to use a service such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social or Buffer
I recommend trying Hootsuite or Buffer first. Both offer free plans that will tell you fairly quickly if you need more than the free plan or if you like their service. Notice in the picture the Hootlet button. I am currently using Hootsuite so even though I was posting directly onto Twitter, it was offering me a chance to use my Hootsuite account instead. By using a service, you can schedule your Social posts. Wouldn’t it be great if you could schedule when your message goes out? All of these services claim to figure out the best time for you to post and to post your shares accordingly. And they offer link shortening service as part of the sharing. This allows you to take the really long link like you see up there and turn it into a very short link so you can add more verbiage to your Tweet or share. Also if you are truly running a business you can sit around all day planning your social media strategy and expect to spend time with your customers face to face.
Posting Via Hootsuite
They all work pretty much the same. With Hootsuite (the one I am most familiar with) you can download a Chrome Browser extension that makes sharing links very easy. When you are visiting a page you want to share click on the Hootsuite icon (an Owl).
This then pops up a windows that looks like of like this.
Notice the AutoSchedule button. This allows Hootsuite to determine when your content will post your various social medias. Hootsuite works with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. There are ways to add others as well, but these are the most user friendly. Also notice the Twitter Bird with the number 42, this shows your character count. Remember Twitter is only 140 characters and your URL even shortened takes up some space. Also notice an image. On some sites you can pick which image from the site will show up. However, sometimes Facebook disagrees and posts a different picture. This doesn’t happen often but it does happen. So if you are posting from a news site a happy story with a picture of a kid all with smiles and Facebook surprises you by showing the mug shot of the latest prison escapee. Also you need to include Hashtags. Hashtags are a way for people to search Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for content related to keywords. What your hashtags should be requires some research on your part. An article about Hashtags will probably be in this series all by itself as it is an important topic. If your business is all about Fitness and you are posting only articles about Fitness, then perhaps #Fitness is a hashtag you should include in every post. It is important to find a Hashtag that is all your own if you want to stand out in the crowd.
There are tools to automatically post to Instagram. Instagram is a picky animal and sees right through insincerity. So be sure post good content. With Instagram there is a love for all things hashtag. Strange as it may seem, Eleven is the magic number right now on Instagram. You should post an average of eleven hashtags with every post on Instagram if you want to get traction with likes and followers. If your product is a visual product then you really should include Instagram in your Marketing campaign. Granted the example below isn’t selling much, but Instagram is about engagement and relating. So posting personal-ish stuff to Instagram allows people to find the human side of your business or image.
[clickToTweet tweet=”You should post an average of eleven hashtags with every post on Instagram” quote=”You should post an average of eleven hashtags with every post on Instagram”]
Remember, you can only post your website link in your profile. So always tell people to see your profile for link details. However, while you can’t click on a web address, with Instagram it is good to have your link in pictures occasionally so people see it. If they are intrigued, they will type it in to visit. If you do that, give them a destination. Something on your site just for Instagram by having a page just for them or a contest page just for them. Example: http://www.aroyrichardson.com might be your address, but say you make a page just for Instagram, http://www.aroyrichardson.com/welcome and perhaps have some images posted there you have posted to your Instagram feed previously.
Pancake breakfast time Let’s eat. #Breakfast #pancakes #foodie #food #Gatlinburg
A photo posted by Roy W. Richardson (@aroyrichardson) on
Also if you are visual, Pinterest is of Interest. Pinterest is growing so fast and you need to publish your content to Pinterest. Every entry you post can be posted to Pinterest.
Pin To Pinterest
Back to autoscheduling. So using Buffer or Hootsuite, you can prestage content and have it show up on your social media accounts at times they deem to give you the most traction. And with the URL shortener, this allows you to see how many people clicked on a link. Hootsuite gives you minimal reporting but the paid version gives you more. The Enterprise version gives you everything. But remember we are a small business or just an individual. Do the free stuff until you can determine it makes sense for you to spend money.
Here is snippet of what a link report looks like from Hootsuite.
Link Clicks Owly
Those are just the top two links. It lists a lot more including which sites links were clicked on and a graph of what countries. Click here to see a PDF of a full report.
If you don’t want to use something to schedule your posts to Social Media, you can use Bit.ly as an url shortner. You will notice that sometimes links do get pretty long and using Bit.ly you can shorten them. Also Bit.ly does offer tracking so you can see how many times people clicked on your links. It will also show popularity. If a lot of people share the same link as you do, it can get pretty popular.
Okay, so you are posting interesting content to a blog or website, you are sharing it and links of interest to Social Media using a scheduler.
Here are just some of the benefits of using Social Media for marketing.
That’s it, right?
NO! There is so much more to know. So read part 3 in the series.