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5 Essentials of using Social Media for a small business

By Expert commentator 23 Feb, 2015
Essential

Are you using these quick wins for social media?

A lot of businesses are now aware of the importance of building a community when it comes to social media marketing. Because of this, marketers are using more sophisticated strategies to maximize the use of online tools to initiate engagement and interaction with their customers. But not all are reaching the results that they want in terms of exposure or traffic.

If you’re still looking for more effective ways to use social media to your advantage, you need to use advanced techniques in reinforcing your marketing message. If you find your results underwhelming and you still don’t know what to do next in creating online presence, here are some of the advanced strategies you can use for your social media marketing efforts.

1. Find out the type of content that’s popular with your competitor’s audience.

It’s no secret that marketers monitor each other’s websites to find what’s hot with the audience. It’s simple logic then that if a particular topic became popular with the competitor’s audience, it will also become popular with yours, too. Once you find out which topics your audience will listen to, it’s now up to you to create something similar for your website without copying the content outright.

When researching for topics that are popular with your competitor’s audience, it’s best to make use of tools that will make the job easier. Social Crawlytics is a tool that analyzes your competitor’s content. Through this tool, you will find out how many times each post is shared in social networks. Another tool, SEMRush, displays the keywords that bring your competitor lots of traffic.

2. Choose your social media platforms

There are lots of social media platforms for you to experiment with, but you should limit yourself to using just three or four of them. It’s a tall order developing a strong presence of all platforms so it’s best to just concentrate on the ones where you can establish the strongest presence.

Having only three or four social media platforms with strong presence is better than having six or seven with mediocre presence. You have to figure out which platforms make your target audience hang out more often and then you can take it from there.  The top 3 networks Facebook Twitter and Google+ experienced growth in users last year . In the USA according to Pew Research, Facebook is the most popular with high levels of engagement and 52% of adults now use more than two platforms.

3. Take advantage of Twitter’s advanced search function

This can a great source of potential clients to use the Advanced Search function.

Twitter Advanced Search

If you’re a business owner, you want to be the first to come to mind when a prospective customer wants the product or service that you have or they have a problem that your product or service can solve. For this to happen, you have to be at the right place at the right time and with the right solution in terms of marketing and advertising. If you don’t want or have no means to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars in advertising, then you are better off learning how to use Twitter for this purpose.

All you need to do is to go to the Advanced Search portion and type words or phrases that a person might use when looking for the product or service that you offer in your specific area. For instance, if you offer plumbing services in the Los Angeles area, you should type “looking for plumber” then put “Los Angeles” in the Places field.

Look at the results and chances are you’ll see people who are actually looking for your service in the area. Now all you have to do is send that person a tweet telling him that you’re an excellent plumber and that you happen to be in the area.

4. Give away great content

These days, people do their research online before making purchase decisions. This is why you should give them a chance to know more about you and the products and services that you offer. The best way to do this is to give away great content so they’ll know that you provide high quality products or services.

According to statistics from marketing and sales strategist David Meerman Scott, 'A white paper or eBook will be downloaded 20 times and up to 50 times more without a gate in front of it.' This is important especially if you think about your content being shared to prospective customers and clients.

When it comes to crafting compelling social media content, you have to consider the problems that your potential customers have. Offer solutions to these problems through blog posts, podcasts, webinar, articles, reports, and infographics.

Learning how to create competitive and relevant content to give away will yield numerous benefits. People will share your social media content and recommend you to others. You can become a trusted authority on your niche/topic. You can score media exposure through interviews and speaking engagements. This is all about building trust with your potential prospects.

While you’re at it, try to use original photos to go with your new content. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Pinterest. Now it’s surprising how many marketers tend to ignore Pinterest, one of the fastest-growing networks around. Why use Pinterest, you ask? In order to cater to those visual learners who would rather look at photos or watch videos than read written content, that’s why.

If you include original photos in your content, you have something to pin using your Pinterest account. First, you need to make a Pinterest board for your content. When you publish a new content, you should pin it to the board and then save it. Publish content like this for a month then check your Google Analytics to see the difference it makes in terms of traffic.

Getting on the Pinterest bandwagon is a must.

Pinterest Board Example

Photo by Bunches and Bits {Karina} via Flickr, Creative Commons

Read Smart Insight's Pinterest Guide to get inspiration and practical steps to use Pinterest to grow your sales.

5. Create podcasts that are mobile-friendly

Given the fact that a lot of people are glued to their smartphones, it’s foolish not to make your podcasts easily accessible through mobile phones. Podcasts have become popular because of smartphones and people can easily listen to them. According to a 2014 survey on audio podcast consumption, it was found that 15% of US adults have listened to a podcast during the month leading up to the survey, a step up from the previous year’s 12%.

What you should do is to install a basic HTML5 audio player on your blog. When people click on your podcast, it will not open in a new window but it will provide an in-screen experience that allows them to read your content while listening to the podcast.

There are lots of advanced techniques available that you can experiment with, but you can easily start with the ones above to garner your lion’s share of the audience. Finding out what works best is a matter of trial and error. Being patient and using these techniques the right way will bring rewards in terms of traffic and brand recognition.

By Expert commentator

This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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