7 Steps to Begin to Build a Social Media Presence Online

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

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Ready to Take Your Small Business Social?

Haven’t you been waiting on the social media marketing sidelines long enough?  If you’re tired of watching all of your local area competitors with lines of customers out their doors and wondering how they’re creating those line, then step up and get ready to become social.

You might think I’d suggest starting to set-up your accounts, but that’s not where I’m going to begin.  All too many small business owners set-up their accounts and have no idea what they are doing or why.  Frustrated, they stop before they got started.

To ensure social media marketing success for your small business, you need an online marketing plan.  I’m not talking about a 60 page document you never read and collects dust.  I’d much prefer you have your goal and your audience clearly outlined on a 3 x 5 card you kept tapped to your computer screen.  But before you can get there, you need to do a little homework.

1.  Determine what you want to accomplish through social media and don’t say

you “want to sell more products”.  You can sell more products, but just like with advertising, one needs to get out in front of their customers and at least shake hands before sales have any chance of occurring online.  So, determine what you want to accomplish online (e.g drive traffic to site, collect more email addresses, get more referrals, drive traffic to events, etc.).  Hint:   It is usually best to start out tapping into your your current customer base.  They already know, like and trust you so your introduction to social media will be easier and your current customers will probably be happy to help promote and support your online efforts.

Part of determining what you want to accomplish is to also determine how will you measure this goal?  There is no sense in establishing a goal, if you don’t have a plan for measuring  your online efforts and know which efforts are working and which are not.  So how will you measure your progress?

2.  Profile your existing customers.  There are lots of ways to do this, but perhaps the best is to sit down and identify 30 things that you know about your customers.  Think about your ‘best’ customers as these are the ones you want to duplicate.  Once you reach 15, you’ll think that’s all there is to know about them, but you’ll be wrong.  Keep pushing until you hit 30.  Think about their age, the clothes they wear, what they do for a living, how they live, where they live, the type of cars they drive,if they have children, grandchildren, what matters to them, what they worry about as it relates to your product and services, etc.  Go until you have the profile of your best customers crystallized in your mind.  Hint:  Consider giving this profile a name.  Are your best customers like Minnie Pearl or Lady Gaga.  Maybe your customer profile is more like Tom Hanks or Clint Eastwood.  You should be able to take one look at a crowd and hand select your customers.

3.  Do your SEO.  Using Google’s Keyword Search tool, create a master list of the top 20-30 keyword tools for your business.  Whatever you do, go long…go long-tail, that is.  Long-tail keywords do not have a lot of volume, but then they also don’t have a lot of competition.  A group of strategically selected long-tail keyword can deliver more than one monster keyword.  After you have your SEO list, craft a company profile using some of the most strategic keywords.  Profile might be 150 words in length.

4.  Review your site and make certain it ready for prime time.  Is it prepared for those who may find you online and want to find out more?  Do you have an email capture form or a free e-book or  industry tip sheet ready for visitors to download?  Are there interesting articles, photos, links to YouTube videos, etc. so  when you drive people to your site, they will be rewarded with something to whet their appetites?

5.  Armed with a customer profile and their email addresses, find out which social media network they use.  Hint:  If business-to-business, it maybe Linkedin and perhaps Twitter.  If business-to-consumer, it is probably Facebook and Twitter.  Don’t take our word for it…use your customers’ email addresses and find out which networks will do the best job of reaching them.  Narrow your focus to one network as you can always expand later. Look and see which competitors are using the same networks as your customers.  What they’re posting.  What do they say in their profiles.  See what’s missing and how you might be able to add more value.

6.  Create your social media account on the network you’ve determine will do the best job of reaching current customers using your keyword rich profile.  Don’t start right away.  Read the tutorials and make certain you understand the best practices and etiquette of each network before you put your proverbial foot in your mouth.

7.  Get into the right frame of mind for social media marketing.  Be prepared to offer  something of added value 80% of the time…tips, cheat sheets, advice, answer questions, etc., and talk about your business only 20% of the time.  And, whatever you do, don’t stop.  Be committed to delivering on a schedule…once a day, three times a week, etc. and don’t stop.  With a consistent effort and patience, you will see progress that will generate in sales.

If you would like more information about how to get your small business started with social media marketing, you need to contact us and we’ll provide you with FREE objective input and direction.  There is no obligation. We’re happy to help.




Sheila Hibbard

Sheila Hibbard takes the fluff, hype and confusion out of marketing and social media. She provides small business owners with straight forward, no nonsense marketing guidance and techniques that produce results based on her 35 plus years in advertising, communications, research, strategic planning and social media. Author of Marketing Online Made Simple - WHO.

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