Six Steps to Social Media Success By Sam Bailey

Email is not for you.

Yes, it is a tried and tested, affordable, easy to use communication medium for small businesses. And yes, with 144.88 billion emails sent every day it is certainly popular. The problem with email is that too many businesses think it is for them, when they are missing who it should really be for: The customer.

The beauty is that we have evolved away from spamming people with email to be able to target customers with what they want to read. A clever business is one that rejects the scatter gun approach, barraging every one of their clients with information that might be useful to them. Instead, smart businesses, form a relationship with the people on their email list and learn about what they find interesting and when they want to receive it.

Cover photo for WATC -SB articleSocial media is the logical extension of that, allowing you to form relationships online with those targeted groups and to appeal to them in ways that work for THEM.

So how do you know what network to use and how to make that work for your business? This is the first of a series of articles to walk you through the basics. Don’t have a social strategy yet? Never fear, you’re only six steps away from social success.

1. What networks should I use?

Don’t make the mistake of jumping into social media head first. Master one social network well first, before moving onto the next one. If you are a business selling to other businesses, for example, you may wish to start out on LinkedIn, the most ‘professional’ of the social networks. Alternatively, if you are a pet shop owner it would make more sense to use Facebook or Instagram so you can post adorable puppy pictures that people will just have to share with friends. You can find out more about which social network is right for you here. Think more about what your customers will be looking for, not what you want to tell them.

2. Connect with people who care about your business

Once you have picked the right network, it shouldn’t be too hard to connect with the people who care about your business. If you know who your audience is, then it makes sense to hang out where they hang out. Join industry associations and like-minded groups. If you are on Twitter, follow your business friends and your competition. There will be more tips for each network in the following weeks…

3. Know what you want

Your social media goals could be anything from driving traffic to your website or blog, or getting people to “like” you on Facebook. You can even use your social profiles to collect emails for your email marketing list. Again, use the carrot, not the stick. Draw them to you with a competition, or an offer. If you are a charity, let them know how their donation made a difference!

4. Do it in as little time as possible

One of the big fears that people have when they embark on using social media for their business is that they think it’s going to take a lot of time. This is only true if you allow social media to become a massive time suck for you. If you focus your social media goals, and use a scheduling tool like Hootsuite, it can take as little as 30 minutes a day.

5. Be as visual as you can

Networks like Facebook and Pinterest are completely image driven because people love sharing images. Even Twitter now displays images in their timeline. You don’t have to be a design genius to do this either, you can find free pictures on sites like Photopin and edit them with free tools like PicMonkey.

6. Link it to your emails

So what does email have to do with social media? It is the linchpin. You drive your existing customer list to your social network using your email newsletter. Let your customers know where to find you and why. Keep the content relevant them. If they like you, they will recommend you to others. And if you use an email marketing tool like Constant Contact then it’s really simple to do.

This is the first of a series of posts from Constant Contact. Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking you through all you need to know about marketing your business digitally.

Ready to get started? It couldn’t be easier to get started with Constant Contact and start linking your social media and email marketing together. Get your free 60 day trial here.

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131211 Head Shot SSCBAuthor Bio:

I am the Marketing and Communities coordinator at Constant Contact UK. I blog about things social media related (and other cool stuff) and keep our social feeds up to date with loads of useful stuff for you and your business. I am also a part time mountain climber, cricket fan and font enthusiast.

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