At this point, engaging your clients online is just about unavoidable. The first thing a potential customer does when looking for a service-provider is Google it, and a lack of activity online can make potential clients question your legitimacy. Your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. are the face of your business in this modern era. So, unless you own a unicorn of a business that increases revenue every year without sales/marketing/advertising strategies in place, you need to be on top of your social media.
Now, that's a lot easier said than done. Social media infiltrates every corner of this digital age and for someone just starting out their marketing endeavors, it can be overwhelming to decide which platforms to use and how to gain the following you're looking for. Not only that, but you may be asking yourself how much time you really need to devote to promoting your business online and if you're the best person for the job. For many people, hiring someone to handle your marketing just isn't in the budget. That's why this series is going to be filled with tips and tricks to get you started in your quest for leads and visibility online! Getting started is as simple as making a plan and then logging in! The tricky part about giving marketing advice is that each industry and company within that industry could have vastly different methods of achieving set goals. So ask yourself a few questions about your business:
What really sets my business apart from my competitors?
Who is a perfect client for my business?
If I were in the market for a new (whatever service you provide), how would I go about finding a good company to use?
What online platforms are my competitors utilizing effectively?
REALISTICALLY, how much time every week can I dedicate to building my company's online presence?
1. The most fundamental part of creating your goals is to decide what it is about your business that sets you apart from your competitors. These will be the focuses of your campaigns to draw a larger audience. If you can't think of anything you're doing differently, you either need to be reading an article about business plans rather than marketing strategies, or you need to think a little harder. For example, JDog Junk Removal is tasked with regularly engaging its followers with posts about junk removal. What sets them apart is that they are veteran-owned and they've really implemented that quality into their marketing strategy. They've got cool camouflage gear and their posts often feature veteran news rather than solely junk removal content. This opens them up to a much larger audience.
2. Narrow down your demographic, but don't be too specific. Think about who would be a great client for your business, and then consider finding them rather than waiting for them to find you. Search for relevant hashtags and comment in groups and threads that are already active. The way people mess this up is that they blindly post their copy-and-pasted sales pitch in a huge conversation without really engaging with anyone. Get familiar with searching for hashtags and posts and then respond directly to the people you want to engage with. You wouldn't walk up to someone in a coffee shop and throw your pitch at them without even saying hello! Social media is just the same.
3. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Sometimes as business owners, we need a fresh perspective. I once worked with a water damage remediation company that had a hard time engaging its online following. Most of their clients were non-recurring and only called in a panic when their basement was under water. So, they shifted their focus and decided to direct a portion of their marketing efforts toward targeting first-time home owners. They created Facebook groups with advice, reminders, and giveaways and even hosted free monthly classes that young home owners could attend to learn more about how to take care of their new home. They would even provide subscribers with a free water tag, that would be placed on the water shut off valve to help them find it in an emergency and listed the company's contact information so that they would be the first call.
4. Check out the competition! Go for a stroll on Google and search your businesses key words to see who else is doing the same thing near you. I am not advising you to simply do whatever your competition is doing as far as social media, but it can give you a leg up if you're just starting out to know which platforms are doing well in your industry and which ones can be put on the back-burner. For example, Instagram is a great tool for a salon or boutique, but likely will not have the same success for a law firm.
5. If you're still in the phase where you have butterflies thinking about your new company and are willing to go to the ends of the earth to promote your brand, then come back to this step. If you're past the honeymoon stage of entrepreneurship and are realizing that there simply isn't enough time in the day to complete all of your business goals and also shower, then it's time for you to sit down and get real about time management. Social media marketing takes TIME. It takes time to deliver a plan, time to create and organize content, time to connect and respond to followers, and time to stay up to date on changes in your industry that keep you relevant! Don't task yourself with an hour a day if it's not realistic for you. Make an attainable goal- maybe 10 minutes a day to start- that will create routines and practices that you can maintain long-term. Making too lofty of a goal will just overwhelm you even more, which is why so many businesses enlist the help of a marketing company!
If you're feeling overwhelmed by your small business's social media marketing strategy, give Millennial Marketing a call today to discuss the ways that we can help you get started or even manage your platforms completely. 'Cause when it comes to your social media, it just makes more sense to leave it to the Millennials!