Five Tips for Effective Small Business Online Marketing With Social Media
by Stephanie Watson
Published on 5 July 2012
You may not realize it, but all social media is based in the cloud.
Social media, whichever brand you use, is one way that small businesses become comfortable using the cloud.
There are both free and paid social media tools available on the web. Many of us gravatate toward free software, but there are many good advantages to using paid software as well. Paid is less likely to dissappear off the face of the earth than free, for one thing. It can be confusing to choose which company to go with. Whether free or paid, you can be smart in choosing your social media.
So how can you be effective in your marketing endeavors, yet be smart?
Choose Your Domain Name - Your small business should most definitely have its own domain name, with a website or blog that you own outright. Sorry, but if you use a free version your blog can be shut down at any point. But luckily it's not difficult to find good online content management software, or good web hosts. Buy a domain name that speaks to your target audience and has good solid keywords for added punch.
Don't Hide Your Face - Your small business has a person behind it, don't hide that person. Don't try to be anonymous on the net. It's simply impossible these days, and the truth is, people trust you better if they can see your smile and your face. Choose a professional image of yourself to represent your brand. It's okay to be informal if your brand is informal but you need to be sure that the image is appropriate for the particular social media you're using while also being relevant and interesting.
Cultivate Relationships Intelligently - Find the movers and shakers who also market to your target audience and follow them, friend them, blog about them, link to them, Tweet about them, Facebook about them, Re-Tweet their words, share their content, etc… but do it in a way that makes sense and is flattering and not trollish. It's okay to be controversial if you really disagree with someone who is popular, but be sure you can back up your words before you embark on the debate.
Be Where Your Customer Is - If your target customer spends more time on one social media site over another, then you better be there. It doesn't matter which social media you like most, only where your audience is. Be where they are! Start using social media monitoring apps to find out about where your customers hang around.
Automate Strategically - Plugins, add-ons, whatever you call them, automation for all forms of social media exists. It's helpful to use some forms of automation tools such as SproutSocial, HootSuite or NorthSocial in order to push out a social media marketing campaign and to keep up with it all, but do so in a careful way that makes sense. Don't ever forget that the word social in social media is very important. Do manually answer posts, questions, tweets, or soon you'll be seen as no more than a bot.
If you follow these five tips for effective online marketing with social media you'll master the game of marketing socially and get to know cloud-computing even better, while you're at it.
One extra tip about marketing with social media: Be Time Aware - It's so simple to spend hours on social media and call it work, when it's just playing. Use it wisely, for a limited amount of time each day and it will pay off for your small business.