How to toot your own horn: Social media marketing
Guest blogger Diana Gomez of Lyoness America, shares tips for conquering your small business social media marketing.
If you've spent some time surfing the Internet lately, you've probably noticed that you don't need to hire a third party to do your small business marketing. While we aren't disputing that specialty marketing firms continue to be necessary in numerous cases, there are plenty of simple marketing tasks that you and your team can accomplish on your own - even if you've never thought of yourself as a "promotions" person.
As Marketing Coordinator for Lyoness America, I know first-hand that online marketing is a great place to start publicizing special events, sales and other information about your company that is worthwhile to your current and future clients. Strategic use of a social media account can help your business find its own audience and form a bond with them.
Learning how to use online tools is the first step to marketing success. And, fortunately, today's programs make everything easier than you once imagined.
How are you using your Facebook fan page for your business these days? Are you struggling to come up with ideas? One tool to try out is the "Offer" post, where the business can post special discounts for fans. This type of post includes useful options such as photos and audience selecting, right down to gender and geographical location. Your fans can purchase items directly from your page, using the payment options you select.
To use the offer feature, click on where it says: "Offer, Event" in the status bar of your fan page. Then, select offer.
Another option is to "boost" your post so that it reaches a larger audience. You can choose to simply boost the post so it reaches more of your fan base as well as their fan base - or you can target through characteristics such as age, gender and interest.
To use the boost feature, click on the words "boost post" in the bottom right corner of any post on your fan page.
Check out Lyoness on Facebook to see some of the activities we're doing.
Twitter accounts can serve two important purposes: following companies that offer information your company wants and needs and tweeting your own news to clients who follow you.
Be sure that you are using both trends and hashtags to your advantage during your sessions on Twitter. Hashtags are useful for starting a conversation among your followers about new products and trends. When you change these according to the geographical location, it will help your tweets gain momentum in broader conversations.
And, don't forget the old standby - include a handle (@yournamehere) for other companies and clients within tweets whenever possible.
If your company website is downright snooze-worthy, you can spruce it up by keeping a video blog of useful, engaging content that you update at least once per week. If you're stumped for content, try these ideas:
- Share snippets of "life around the office" - particularly bits of the creative process that it takes to produce your company's product or how a challenge was solved.
- Brief skits featuring your staff members (or just about anyone who volunteers) in various roles are a humorous and interesting way to address frequently asked questions.
- How-to videos pertaining to your product and other topics related to your field are also a favorite. For example, if you're a financial firm, a how-to video on preparing taxes might get more hits than you think.
Once you've made a video, it's time to publish it to the Web. Here are some things you should know about the main video channels:
- YouTube is popular and works well for integrating with other social media platforms - even blogs.
- Vimeo is an alternative to YouTube, though there are stricter rules on Vimeo. You can't post commercial content, for example, and all videos must be created by the user.
- blip.tv works well for series videos and presents the opportunity for your video (if selected) to be distributed to other channels such as YouTube, Vimeo and even cable television.
One of the most innovative social media concepts is Google+, a Google product that can help search visibility. Ask yourself, should my small business be on Google+? If the answer is yes, sign up for a Google+ account and then elect to install the authorship option, which will link blog posts to your Google+ page after you install the proper widgets. Potential and current clients will see your head shot and byline when they search for your company's key words, therefore boosting your company's credibility on the Web.
To sign up for Google authorship, visit https://plus.google.com/authorship.
If your website doesn't currently employ the Pinterest Pin It widget, you can add one with a simple HTML code. One important benefit of adding a pinning option is the analytics - you'll be able to see who is sharing your content.
In addition, Pinterest's introduction of rich pins can help your business promote a product on the Pinterest feed. Product pins, which are one type of rich pin, include price, availability and other information. Other rich pins include recipes, movies, places and articles. A company must apply to have access to rich pinning.
Learn more at http://business.pinterest.com/rich-pins/.
It is simpler than ever to do a great deal of your own business marketing with the help of social media. While it may seem overwhelming initially to manage your own marketing, you'll attract new clients to your business and have fun while doing it. Here are some additional tips to help your small business save time with social media.
Diana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America (http://lyonessusa.com/), where she is instrumental in the implementation of marketing and social media strategies for USA and Canada. Lyoness is an international shopping community and loyalty rewards program, where businesses and consumers benefit with free membership and money back with every purchase. Check out Lyoness on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Lyoness.EU).