If you are a small business owner and want to use the power of the Internet to grow your business, then the advice you'll hear over and over again (even if you are not looking for it) is that you also need to ‘harness the power of social media’. Even if you have a dazzling website developed by Leonardo da Vinci and optimized by Matt Cutts, and you created some great PPC ads that are getting the attention the most advertising-phobic Googlers, you are missing out on developing your business 'naturally' through word of mouth and customer engagement; aka social media. Social media is like the bathroom wall of the Internet; only the bathroom is huge, everyone writes on it, and people look at it for coupons and status updates.
Investing your time in the most beneficial social media strategies can stimulate growth. However, most strategies out there require you to have an entire team of professionals dedicated to monitoring your social media presence. Most businesses can't afford to integrate a team of social media chemists to brew up success. So, rather than wait for social media to be replaced by VHS, you need to find a way to maximize your ROI without having to spend a lot of time, money, and effort on it. You need the '15 Minute Social Media Workout'! It's guaranteed to help you stay engaged in social media and flatten your abs. But before we start oiling up that 6-pack for your slow motion strut down the beach, get out your exercise ball because we need to stretch a bit and lay down a foundation via these 4 easy steps.
- Identify Your Goals: Anyone who has been successful in maintaining a workout regime will tell you that it all starts with having a measurable, clear goal with a defined timeline. For example, ‘Lose Weight’ is not going to motivate you to stay truthful to your workout schedule as much as ‘Lose 5 pounds in 2 months’ will. Similarly, for your social media efforts to be successful, you must clearly articulate what you plan to achieve from it. It could be an increase in leads, increase in sales, increase in your websites rankings, or even a reduction in customer complaints.
- Get Your Membership: Just like enrolling in the right gym or spinning class is important for your workout regime’s success, it is important to identify the social media channels where you want to be present. Since most memberships are free, the best way to do this is to be present in as many relevant channels as possible. This is especially important for a small business which can make use of business leads and back links from as many sources as possible.
That being said, you must also keep in mind the nature of content before you sign up for a social media platform. For example, while YouTube is a great marketing venue, if you do not have the infrastructure to create high quality videos, then you are probably wasting your time signing up for it
When you create your page in Facebook or in LinkedIn, make sure that you include your website link and a small write-up of your business. The landing page, in turn, has to be customized to ensure maximum conversion of traffic from these sources
- Access Multiple Channels at One Go: One of the reasons why a gym membership is preferred over a workout at home is that you get a single point access to a variety of equipments. Where else can you go to rock out a set on the Nautilus machine then go for a few laps in the pool. Same concept with social media. It is important to subscribe for the RSS feeds in social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn so that you can view your social media feeds in a single location. If you have the money for some software, it is even better to get your hands on a social media management tool which allows you to customize the feeds as well as to respond to them without having to perform multiple logins. One key thing to remember is to monitor not only social media chatter about your company, but also about your competition. This will provide you some valuable insights while formulating your pricing policy as well as during any new product or service offering design stage.
- Have Your Scales Ready: Once you have enrolled in all social media sites, it is important to measure your performance against your goals. You can use one among the several social media monitoring tools that are available today. Most of them offer free trials which is even better! It's best to choose one that you find easy to use and gives you the analysis that you require.
Now that you have you have stretched out and are ready for some action, let's get to the workout! All you need to do is to spend 15 minutes every day managing your social media activities:
Step 1: Verify activity from common platform (3 minutes)
Step 2: Respond to any negative feedback politely, say thank you to positive feedback (this is very important and often neglected); Share any significant news/tips/new product launches/new contests (7 minutes)
Step 3: Monitor progress made against goals through monitoring tools (2 minutes)
Step 4: Identify social media channels which are not working/ goals which are no longer relevant (3 minutes)
Once this daily workout is carried out, you can do a weekly analysis to prune your social media strategy further, so that your social media presence directly translates to measurable business results. Enjoy your workout and good luck!
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