In a recent survey by ATB Business Beat, they found that 53% of Alberta businesses still don’t use social media. There are various reasons from lack of time to not finding it relevant to their business. Here’s the thing: as a small business you can’t pay your bills with likes, tweets and retweets but you can reach a broader audience which can make a heck of a difference to your bottom line. It’s common for small business owners to spend thousands of dollars a year advertising via traditional methods but have no idea whether it’s efficient or not. The key is understanding that social media isn’t a standalone, nor are traditional methods – in order to get results, you must integrate.
If you’re a small business thinking about adding social media to the mix, here are a few things you can do:
Identify your objective: What do you want to accomplish by putting your business on social media? (Awareness? Sales? Engagement?)
Get a quick plan together: On a piece of paper or in ‘notes’ on your phone, focus on your objective and how you will reach it via social. Sites you will invest time on, the types of content you will share (curated? original?) when, how often? How will you measure success?
Make the most of your resources: Remember that if you or an employee are adding social media to your workload, there must be some type of value. Know objectives and stick to them. Ensure that any employees handling social understands the objectives as well and that they’re set up for success (proper training and understanding of the site!)
Set a reasonable time limit: Social media can be a time suck. One minute you’re looking at a news article, the next you’ve clicked through to some strangers profile. Hold yourself accountable to jump on and offline in a timely manner. I typically say that five minutes or less a day may be enough depending on how busy your sites are and your goals. (Use calendars & timers!)
Set expectations for each site: Let your audience know what to expect from you. Are you there to inform? Entertain? Are you there every day? Once a week? Never? Consistency online with engagement and posts are key!
Cross Promote on other sites: Use other communication methods & platforms to reach people and let them know they can find you on other social sites. Add links to your email signature, include on your other social profiles.
Share relevant content: The internet is saturated with information. When you carve out your social sites, make sure that you’re sharing stuff that’s relevant to the people you want to attract. (Make a list of ‘go to’ sources OR if you have the time, create your own content!)
Schedule when you can: An efficient way to manage social media is by using tools that help you schedule posts. Many have free options, additionally some platforms allow you to schedule content directly in the site. Currently I’m testing out a new tool called SocialChamp.
Advertise when it makes sense: Throwing a few dollars behind posts or promoting content can get your message to the right people at the right time.
Social Media for the Reluctant Business Owner (Calgary | May 30)
Short on time, money & patience to tackle social media? Learn how you can leverage social media for your business without losing your mind in the process. I will walk you through hands-on training that’ll get you up-to-speed online with tools, tips & shortcuts to fast-track your social media program and cut down on headaches!
No Bologna Marketing for Small Business (Fox Creek | June 8)
Marketing your business can be overwhelming. What works? What doesn’t? Learn where to focus your time & energy to get the results that matter! Through two hours of hands-on training, I will show you how to develop a marketing program that can generate awareness and boost your bottom line (without breaking the bank!)