5 Easy Steps to Using Social Media for Your Small Business

Social media is like dating in the 60s; it takes time and effort. You’ve got to really listen to and care about what the other person says, does and wants. Otherwise it’s like online dating in the 21st century; it’s all about numbers and the most popular and prettiest person wins. But are you truly fulfilled?

So let’s demystify social media and figure out first, if it’s right for your small business and then come up with a strategy for using it effectively.

Carrying on with the dating analogy …

Step 1 | Who Do You Want to Date?

You’ve really got to know your customers well to understand if social media is an effective marketing tool for your business.

Who are they and where do they hang out? Are they using social media? If so, where and how are they using social media? What are their interests, hobbies, needs. Understanding both demographic and psychographic information is incredibly important.

For instance, if you want to target moms we know they’re always starved for time, constantly research products and look for “how to” on the Internet, and struggle between time for herself, her husband and her children.

Knowing about your customer will help you find and talk to her.

Step 2 | How Will You Meet Your Crush and Ask Her Out?

Now that you know more about your dream girl, you can come up with a strategy to meet her and show how you can be useful.

Afterall, social media is but a tactic and YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn tools for that tactic. It goes something like this; marketing strategy => marketing plan => marketing tactic => marketing tools.

For instance:

  • Strategy: Stay top-of-mind with Moms by providing useful information on coping with every day stress.
  • Plan: Provide information on how to relieve stress and create “good” stress. Give them permission to take time for themselves, and ways to share their stories with others.
  • Tactic: Create a blog with the ability to post comments and share links; distribute tips and tricks through social media
  • Tools: Blog, YouTube, and Facebook.

Putting thought into why you’re doing social media, you attract more of the right customers, making your marketing efforts more effective.

Step 3 | How Much Time Are You Willing to Spend to Get to Know Her?

Before jumping into the dating scene, eg social media, determine how much time you can commit. Remember, social media is like courting in the 1960s; you’ve got to be willing to put in a reasonable amount of time and be patient because things do not happen overnight.

Hoot Suite and Tweet Deck are two tools that make it easier to talk about yourself by allowing you to schedule posts.

But we all know it’s more important to listen, and respond accordingly (remember, most of the time women just want you to listen. We do not need to “fix” the problem). As a listening tool, you can use Tweet Deck to set up real-time searches for keywords relating to your business, your customers’ and their interests.

Step 4 | Sharing Is Caring

To create a meaningful relationship you’ve got to share.

Some small businesses worry about sharing sensitive information, especially with competitors. Once again, if you have a solid brand foundation you can not be duplicated. Sure, anyone can copy WHAT YOU DO, but not HOW you do it.

I read that for Twitter (I think it works for Facebook as well) a good rule of thumb for content is:

  • 50% useful info for your target market
  • 10% about yourself, company and products
  • 5% thoughtful questions that create responses
  • 20% joining interesting conversations
  • 5% stuff that can make your followers lives easier
  • 10% follow-up with appreciation to your followers

Do not be afraid to be vulnerable, but do it at a level you’re comfortable with. For instance, my great reveal this week was a pedicure, Pumpkin Orange toes and being happy to be a woman and indulge myself. Nothing Earth shattering, but my Twitter followers have a better sense of me as a person.

Again, it’s “social” media, so be social.

Step 5 | Managing the Information Overload

There’s a lot of information out in the social media sphere. Sharing is part of our DNA; it helps identify which tribes we want to belong to.

If you automate the talking side of your social media plan, you’ll have more time to listen.

A good practice is setting up a calendar, highlighting your schedule and topic.

That works out to about 11 posts per day. If you find content the day before and set up your schedule using Tweet Deck, you’ll have more time to interact with your customers and less likely to be overloaded.

So before jumping into social media take a step back and figure out who you want to talk to and why. Develop a strategy for meeting your customers and becoming a part of their lives. Be honest about how much time you have to commit and be consistent. Do not be afraid to share and finally, do not get overwhelmed.

Happy Dating!