Social media for small businesses
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Reality Check: What Is Social Media Doing For You?

When social marketing was first introduced, we all jumped onboard just because it was thing to do. We were told it would do great things for our businesses – but we didn’t really know. It was giant experiment that brought about one of two results:

  • Some businesses cashed in big time.
  • Some businesses saw no or little return.
Social media for small businesses

If your businesses has seen a return – as in, you figured out a way to convert online relationships into actual
business – kudos! Seriously, that is awesome!  But if you haven’t seen a return, it’s time to regroup.

Is your social strategy sound? Are you engaging in best practices? If so, and you aren’t seeing a return, it’s time to move on – apply those resources elsewhere. If your current efforts are half-hearted or your strategy is not clear, then hit reset and try again. Here’s a quick rundown of how the process should go:

Find your tribe.

There are so many platforms out there – you don’t have to be everywhere, but try to be where potential
prospects hang out. For instance, some B2B companies have abandoned Facebook altogether and moved toward Twitter and Google+.

Action: Ask your clients and prospects where they get their information and trends. Are they reading blogs in an RSS reader? Do they rely on Twitter to bring the best info to them? Go where the prospects are.

Make them want to buy.

For a long time, when we didn’t know better, we spent a lot of time just engaging, building our followers and understanding what is working. But in 2013, it’s time to move from just engaging people to getting real value out of these interactions. Hopefully you’re getting to know some people, so it’s time to move those relationships forward. Can you move from online relationships to meeting in real time (via phone, at a conference or over coffee)?

Action: Develop calls to action that move people from the social network to your home base (that’s your website, right?) Then find ways to move visitors to take action while they are there (more contact forms, downloads, or invitations to pick up the phone and call).

Give them a chance to try on the merchandise before they buy.

The step from consuming your expertise 140 characters at a time to giving you some hard-earned money is a big one. You need to take baby steps. If they like 140 characters, would they have an interest in more?

Action: Send your prospects a monthly newsletter, video or ebook. The more ways that you have for people to “sample your wares” and experience your expertise, the better.

Measure your results.

Social media is a lot of work so it’s important to know what all the effort is bringing you. That’s why measuring your results are key!

Action: Your Google Analytics account does an OK job of measuring social results right out of the box, but if you use campaign codes in your links, you can get a much better picture of where your traffic is coming from. Add some goals for email sign-ups and eBook downloads, and then you’ll really start cooking!

Keeping the social media campaign alive and fresh takes a lot of work, and for some it’s paid off handsomely (not just in leads, but also in better candidates for job openings, more media coverage, etc.) If it’s not paying off for you, it’s time to get serious about it, or get out of it.

What sort of return are you seeing on your investment in social media? I’d love to hear your success stories and challenges!

Photo Credi: Yoel Ben-Avraham

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