75% of social media users are over the age of 251 and 67% of those same users make over $50,000 a years. To me that sounds more like the average businesses target market (business professionals and decision makers) are using Facebook and Twitter rather than the misconception of just teens.
However, in order to effectively use social media as a small business there are a few things you need to do:
1. Create a Social Media Marketing Plan
The first thing you should do is decide your audience and the tone of the communication to them. If you’re attempting to connect with young adults or teens, you might want to use humor. For parents, you could take a more educational tone. Try to figure out where your audience “hangs out.” Facebook and Twitter are a great way to communicate to your customers in a B2C business, but if you’re more of a B2B business, LinkedIn might be the right choice.
The next step in your social media marketing strategy is to plan out content in advance – create 30 days of content at a time. The rule of thumb we like to use is 90% educational or interactive content, to 10% sales or promotional content. Make sure your content has some substance to it. If you’re just going to slap something up for the sake of creating content, it may be more profitable to forget the social media and go look for loose change in the couch cushions. Remember this: Good content is timely and relevant.
2. Build a QUALITY community, not a QUANTITY community
Yes, some people need to see big numbers to help them feel warm and fuzzy about their marketing efforts, but if there are only 3 out of 1,000 people who actually engage with you then your message is falling on deaf ears or blind eyes. If your company sells fashionable diaper bags look for people who are parents or parents to be, not single college students who play football and love motorcycles. Depending on the business, a few thousand, a few hundred, or even a few dozen might be a great number. Just remember, as compared to yesteryear, today's marketing goals are even less ‘how many’ and more about ‘who.’
3. Post at least once a day
Fact: 56% of Facebook users check their account at least once a day and 39% of Twitter users check their account more than ten times a day. 3 If social media users are checking their accounts on a daily basis and you want to make your presence known on such platforms it is crucial to post regularly. Our rule of thumb is posting creative/quality content at least once a day. Also consider posting content people want to share with others: such as blogs, fun facts, humorous video of pets doing silly things or people falling on their face or even just a good quote. By doing so, you can continue building your community.
4. Engage with Fans
Get to know the people following you or liking your profile. And doing so is simple… ask questions! My company is a car dealership. Here is an example dialog:
CarDealership: “What is your dream car?” (this is a question almost any person knows the answer to and would be willing to answer)
Follower#1: @CarDealership 1965 Mustang
Follower#2: @CarDealership 2012 Tesla S
CarDealership: @Follower#1 That is one hot car! What color would you want it to be?
CarDealership: @Follower#2 ooooh… classy and environmentally friendly. We like that!
Follower #1: @CarDealership Candy Apple Red
Another way to create that open door for two way communications is to:
1) Encourage feedback - Have you ever considered where people are saying things about your company on the internet? How many of those circumstances have you been able to address first hand? By having a presence on social media platforms you give your customers an outlet to engage first hand with your company. So instead of them taking a complaint to some random website they are now posting it directly on the wall of your Facebook or tweeting you from Twitter therefore allowing you to directly respond and provide better customer service.
2) Hold contest or giveaways – Who doesn’t like winning something, getting a discount, or free offer? If you are a restaurant consider offering a free appetizer for Facebook fans/Twitter followers or give a dinner for 2 away to a random fan.
Something else to consider is creating content that gives fans something to look forward to. If my company was a fitness center I’d consider posting series of content on certain days like seen below:
- Mondays: highlight technique of a certain workout
- Wednesdays: healthy receipts
- Fridays: weekly blog posts
And last but not least – Post content not always related to your company but that gets people involved and/or shows you are interest in them. Whether it’s seeing what people are doing for the weekend, wishing them a happy holiday or just talking about the weather.
5. Share news about your company and promotions
There is a reason people are following your company… they like it or what you offer. So keep them up to date on what is going on.
Always remember that your social media campaigns should drive traffic back to your website! If this isn’t happening consider restructuring. Think about how you can use ALL online efforts to generate traffic to your website.