For Small Businesses Social Media Is a Team Sport
Social media doesn’t exist in a marketing silo. Other marketing elements contribute to promoting your presence on various social media entities and social media supports other elements of your marketing mix; it’s a two-way relationship.
Ensuring that your social media strategy is integrated into your marketing mix is critical for stretching your small business budget.
Based on Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, marketers use a variety of marketing formats in addition to social media. The top three elements on marketers’ list remained the same as in 2012 and 2011.
- 87% of respondents use email marketing.
- 61% of respondents use search optimization.
- 59% of respondents use event marketing.
17 Actionable marketing tips to promote social media
Here are seventeen actionable marketing tips that leverage the rest of your marketing mix to promote your social media
- Include feed(s) from your social media timelines on your website and/or blog. Let visitors see that you’re an active member of the social media community. Of course, if you’re not active that can be an issue. Also, be aware that it can slow down your website or blog.
- Highlight social media engagement in your email newsletters. Use your owned communications to get the word out about your social media interactions.
- Ask customers to review your products in post-purchase emails. As Syncapse research showed, the biggest impact on purchasing is from buyers who are fans.
- Promote your social media presence with in-store signage. Take advantage of your retail establishment. Don’t limit yourself to “Join Us on Facebook” signs. Be creative in your requests and where you place them.
- Add a PS to customer service emailings. This is particularly good if you can target special information related to the customer inquiry that’s on your blog or YouTube.
- Include your social media affiliations in your email signature file. This is a true freebie. Make your entire staff use a pre-formatted sig file.
- Promote your social media accounts in your packaging and related product inserts. This is particularly important if you answer questions on venues such as Twitter.
- Advertise your social media presence on shopping bags and sales receipts. Use your customers as human billboards. Consider the potential of reusable shopping bags.
- Exploit your business windows. Ask passers-by for their social media input.
- Think outside the store. Paint your social media associations on your delivery vehicles, handouts and placards. Vendors use a chalkboard at the New York City Greenmarket.
- Add your social media presence to your business cards. This is a no-brainer. Don’t throw out existing cards. Just update them as they run out.
- Integrate social media engagement into your third party media. Television shows and news are good at these requests. They incorporate a logo in the lower part of the screen. Plan ahead by using outtakes and extra footage when creating the main content. Check that you’ve got permissions detailed in your talent contracts. Also, leverage articles placed on these third party entities.
- Leverage the power of your print advertising and direct mail. Add a mention of your social media accounts.
- Link to your social media profiles in business organization listings. Association publications, such as those from chambers of commerce and Rotary Clubs, can be important for local businesses.
- Incorporate easy-to-copy tweets into webinars and presentations. Go one step further and schedule these tweets with the appropriate show hashtags.
- Take advantage of conferences and events to promote your social media venues. Include your social media presence in your registration, bios, nametags, booth and handouts.
- Distribute press releases to highlight special social media activity or milestones. Extend your reach through more established news outlets.
Eighteen ways to use social media to support your other marketing
Here are eighteen actionable social media marketing tips to support your other marketing plans.
- Incorporate your website link, physical address and phone number in your social media profiles. Remember a small number of participants use social media to find your business.
- Build your house email file. This is at the top of most bloggers’ list. But don’t limit yourself. It’s easier to capture your visitors’ email than to get them to purchase directly.
- Establish your YouTube presence. As the second largest search engine, this social media entity is an important element of an integrated marketing plan. Of course, it’s critical to optimize your videos for search.
- Write guest blog posts. Include a link to content on your blog and/or website. This helps support your search optimization.
- Make it easy for visitors to share your content on social media. Add social sharing buttons to your product pages and other owned content.
- Link to “how to videos” on your blog or YouTube channel on your website’s product pages. If you’re using your blog and video offering to show prospects how to use product, these posts, images and videos should link to your product pages and there should be links on your product pages to this content.
- Help customers to imagine themselves using your products. Use image-centric social media sites like Tumblr and/or Pinterest to show customers how to style your products.
- Create a Deal of the Day account on Twitter. While promotion is frowned upon on social media, it’s okay to have one account that’s dedicated to one deal per day.
- Use Twitter to support customer service. Comcast was a pioneer at doing this. While not directly part of marketing, it can improve your ability to communicate with prospects and customers and support your other social media marketing efforts.
- Answer customer questions on your blog, LinkedIn and Quora. Prospects don’t buy until you answer all of their questions.
- Post your research on Slideshare and Pinterest. The goal is to distribute your content widely.
- Run special sales on Facebook. While you shouldn’t use social media just to blast out promotions, an occasional secret sale can be useful. For example, The Lion Brand Studio ran a secret sale when they passed 6,000 Facebook fans. They posted the sale on their Facebook page with a secret code to be given to the cashier.
- Give prospects and customers sneak peaks at your new season’s offering. Use your blog, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr to spotlight your hot “must have” items.
- Offer free patterns and recipes on your blog and Pinterest. This works well for food and crafts. BTW—don’t underestimate the power of Etsy for building a small craft business.
- Share your conference and other public presentations on Slideshare and on your blog. Don’t forget to include an about us page and a social media call-to-action.
- Test Meetups to build a targeted real life group related to your business. For example, the Nike Store on lower Fifth Avenue in New York City has a running group on Tuesdays.
To fully integrate social media into your marketing plans, determine how you can cross promote your social media efforts using existing marketing. This has a relatively low incremental cost. Then assess how to extend the reach of your existing marketing through the use of social media.
What other tips do you suggest for either supporting your social media promotion or extending the reach of your existing marketing?
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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- 31 Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips Based on Research
- Proof Social Media Drives Sales
- 2013: The Future of Social Media