Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business


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Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business

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  2. 2. 2 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Table of Contents_____________________________________ Intro ............................................................................................................. 3 Business Goals .............................................................................................. 4 Strategy ........................................................................................................ 5 Tactics .......................................................................................................... 6 Listening & Monitoring ................................................................................. 7 Web Content ................................................................................................ 8-9 Channels .................................................................................................... 10-17 Converting Website Traffic into Sales ......................................................... 18-25 Conclusion .................................................................................................. 26 Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  3. 3. 3 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Intro________________________________________________ If you own a small business or are an employee of one, you are probably asking yourself several questions, "How do we get started? What steps do we need to take? How and When is this going to impact our bottom line?" Every business is different, but there are a number of exercises that business need to conduct in order to create a strategy and execute a successful social media program. In this guide, we will explain all of the steps your business needs to take in order to position yourself for the greatest impact on lead generation, sales, and customer loyalty. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  4. 4. 4 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Business Goals_______________________________________ In the very beginning of any social media program, you will have limited resources. Therefore, it is important to set your eyes on 1 or 2 specific targets. You do not want to stretch yourself too thin. As you get successes under your belt, budget will be allocated to the activities that are working. Some of the business goals that you can achieve are below:  Increase Website Traffic and Leads  Increase Foot Traffic to Your Location  Lower customer acquisition costs  Reduce Customer Service Costs  Increase Brand Awareness  Customer Retention  Reduce Employee Recruitment Costs So as an example, your business goal is to increase your website lead generation 25% month over month. Now with this in mind, you will have to come up with a strategy and tactics for achieving this business goal. This is where investment in resources like staff, content, and software will be vital. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  5. 5. 5 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Strategy____________________________________________ When developing your social media strategy, some of the things that you will need to think about are: who is my audience, what do they care about, how do they behave online, what is our current marketing strategy, and how can social media fit in? The main reason why a business needs to ask itself these questions is: you need to create content that is valuable to people. This is the first step to being trusted. The type of content ranges from short form status updates to full blown 30 minute videos. What subjects are you going to create content for? If you are a start up business, you will need to do some experimentation, and over time you will find content that resonates with potential customers. If you are an established business, you should have enough data and historical knowledge to find out what your customers care about. After you conduct the preliminary research, you will be able to form a beginning social media strategy. We say beginning because you will need to be nimble enough to change directions if your strategy doesnt pan out. Always have a backup plan. If your business goal is to increase leads by 25% month over month, you have to come up with a strategy to support this goal. One potential strategy is: Thought leadership through educational content and digital relationship building. Very simple. Now your job as a leader is to preach this strategy throughout the organization. It provides clarity and focus for the next phase of your social media marketing plan: Tactics. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  6. 6. 6 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Tactics_____________________________________________ If youve gotten this far into your planning, congratulations! You are now ready to layout the nuts and bolts to execute your strategy and ultimately fulfill your business goals. Tactics boil down to the specific pieces of content, relationships you will need to build, and what channels you will be utilizing to communicate with your prospects and customers. So some of the questions you will need to answer within the tactics section are:  What pieces of content are we going to use to draw people to our website?  Resources needed for the content production process  What social networks are we going to share our content with? Think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Forums.  What influencers are we going to target? Think people with massive audiences that can influence buying behavior.  Once people reach our website, how do we convince them to submit their contact information?  How do we nurture these leads once we have their contact information?  How will we respond to negative and positive comments?  Do we have someone that will monitor the web for mentions of our brand?  Do we have current staff that will create content, community manage, and measure the results, or do we outsource all of these activities? Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  7. 7. 7 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Listening & Monitoring________________________________ Before jumping into this section, we want to point out the difference between listening and monitoring. This is something we learned from the Social Media Success Summit from Kelly Feller of Intel. Listening is one of the most unique aspects of social media, in that you can extract insights from the millions of conversations that are going on about brands, subjects, industries, hobbies, among others. Your company can gain a competitive advantage by listening to objective conversations from your target customers. Monitoring is the process of listening and responding to questions, concerns, compliments, and other conversations that your audience is having about your product, executives, company, brand, and other factors connected to your business. So not only are you gaining market insight, but you are also taking an active approach to participating in conversations that are happening. Over the past couple of years, many tools have come about that can help you listen and monitor conversations. Some of the free tools include: Google Alerts, Twitter Search, Social Mention, Google Reader, and many others. Paid tools include: Radian6, Alterian SM2, and Sysomos. Steps to establish a listening and monitoring program: 1. Do keyword research with Googles keyword tool (there are others, but this is a free tool) 2. Choose your listening & monitoring tools 3. Build monthly listening reports that matter to your business goals and analyze 4. Monitor conversations happening about your brand, products, executives daily and respond to positive and negative mentions. 5. Make business changes upon analysis 6. Repeat monthly, quarterly, and yearly Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  8. 8. 8 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Web Content_________________________________________ In order to get noticed in search engines and social networks, you will need to produce amazing content. Content comes in many different forms, and in order to help you weigh your options, you can refer to this list when thinking about the types of content that you will use to get your business on the map. Remember: Play to your strengths. If you know you are not good on camera, try doing audio instead. 1. Writing The majority of web marketing is based on text, therefore it is in the best interest of any business to produce lots of written content. This can be in many forms from status updates, blog posts, e-mails, landing pages, to e-books and white papers. Use blog posts and status updates to increase awareness for your business by increasing your visibility in social networks and search engines. Once you get people to subscribe to your content, you can use e-mails, landing pages, and e-books to guide the prospect further down the buying cycle. 2. Video Video is one of the most powerful types of content today. Innovations in technology have lowered the cost of shooting high quality video pieces, and it only strengthens the value of your content strategy. It makes it easier to do business with you by providing videos that concentrate on how-tos, customer testimonials, inspirational stories, common uses of your product or service, as well as a simple thank you from the CEO or employees. 3. Podcasts With the invention of the iPod, people can listen to music practically anywhere. This doesnt stop with music though. On the way to work, people can catch up on the latest information that hopefully your company is providing about the industry you are in. Podcasts are inexpensive to produce, and people can access replays in iTunes and other podcast sites. 4. Webinars Whether you are a consultant or a high end cruise company, you can provide value to your prospects and customers by holding live or recorded presentations. An example of a great webinar was HubSpots Science of Social Media. The webinar was full of unbelievable statistics about social media. Do you want to know what type of product they sell? Software that helps you measure your internet marketing efforts, including social media. The webinar also broke the Guiness Book of World Records for the largest webinar with 10,899 attendees. You can use programs like GoToMeeting or Webex to fulfill your webinar needs at low costs. (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE) Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  9. 9. 9 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Web Content________________________________________ 5. Applications Applications can provide a rich experience for your audience. Facebook Applications in particular are highly customizable if you are willing to invest in a good developer. Some of the features that you can implement into your applications are e-commerce, branded gaming, contact forms sign ups, videos, coupons, sweepstakes, contests, and many others. 6. Widgets Similar to applications, widgets can be embedded just about anywhere on the internet. Some of the common uses of widgets are donations, e-commerce, branded links for spreading awareness about your website, plus more. Widgets are highly customizable and just might reward you with on-going exposure. 7. Pictures Incorporating pictures into all of your marketing communications helps people visualize the point you are making. Much like videos, pictures can help form a connection with your audience. When is the last time you read an article that included a picture that described the entire story? This is something you can do easily today. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  10. 10. 10 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Channels ________________________________________ Channels are the platforms that you will use to share the amazing content that you produce. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Blogs, or E- mail, it is important to do research on where your audience hangs out online. The following pages will explain what each type of social network or online marketing channel is, and how it benefits a small business. Note: Tools and channels always change, so always make sure you are up to date on the latest trends. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  11. 11. 11 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Facebook_________________________________________ From a marketing perspective, Facebook serves two purposes. 1. To create relationships with other people 2. To promote your own content. Lets explain. Creating relationships on Facebook comes in different forms:  Sharing other peoples content  Asking your fans questions  Providing helpful information to your fans  Connecting with other Facebook Pages Promoting your own content also comes in different forms:  New blog posts  Videos produced by your company  Short tips  Event invites  E-books produced by your company  Plus more. The key is to share more than you promote yourself. This way you are building an ecosystem of people willing to promote you in the future as you strengthen your relationship with them. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  12. 12. 12 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Twitter_____________________________________________ Twitter is another social network where sharing will create lasting relationships for you. If you stick with it long enough, the hard work will pay off. You have to be consistent and authentic with your interactions. Do not get into the automation game. This is counter-intuitive to what "social" media is all about. Promoting your content on Twitter will help drive instant traffic as well as position your company as an authority in your field. What are the components of a normal Tweet? Lets explore in the following example: Blog Posts Accumulate Traffic with Time [Stats] http://ow.ly/6dNG6 via @social_media_hq Title of the article Link to article Attribution to source If you are sharing someone elses content or promoting your own content, you will want to format your tweet to get the most clicks. Having a captivating title will entice readers to click on the link. The link will need to be shortened in order to abide by Twitters 140 character rule, and finally, you will want to give credit to the original source of the content. If you are promoting your own content, there is no need to insert via @twitterusername at the end of a Tweet. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  13. 13. 13 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business LinkedIn_____________________________________________ LinkedIn can serve many different purposes. Recruiting, LinkedIn Groups, Sales Research, LinkedIn Answers, and Company Pages are some of the most used features on the platform Lets take you through your options: Recruiting doesnt have to be a time intensive activity if you have a network that you can tap for referrals. The number one way to find qualified candidates is to simply ask your LinkedIn network if they know of any candidates that are looking for the type of position that you have available. The key here is having strong relationships with your LinkedIn connections, or you will find that not many people will help you when you need it. LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic way to forge relationships with professionals that you are not acquainted with. Be sure to listen to the types of conversations people are having before jumping in. The number one mistake people make when participating in LinkedIn Groups is posting content that is out of context with the group norms. Ease your way into the group community, and the results will show. Sales Research is at your fingertips with individual profiles and company pages. Collecting intelligence before you make that first phone call is crucial in developing a lead. LinkedIn Answers can position your company as an expert in your field, or you can ask questions that will be answered by an entire network of professionals with related experience. Like Groups, there is opportunity for relationship building as well. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  14. 14. 14 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business YouTube____________________________________________ Did you know that 45 hours of video are uploaded every minute on YouTube? There are more than 3 billion views per day! These statistics are astonishing. In fact, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to get found by potential customers by not implementing video into your marketing plan. Some of the benefits of video:  Increased search engine rankings  Opportunities for converting website visitors into sales leads  Increase Customer Retention through Education, Inspiration, and Entertainment  Many, many more The key to getting found in YouTube: 1. You have to produce quality content (people smell laziness a mile away) 2. Insert researched keywords into the Titles, Descriptions, and Tags (use YouTubes Keyword Tool) 3. Share your videos on other sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your Blog 4. Interact with other YouTube users/channels to increase your social reach. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  15. 15. 15 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Blogs____________________________________________ Blogs were one of the first forms of what is now called "social media", and they are still powerful vehicles for communicating your expertise. Some of the benefits of blogging:  Increased search engine rankings  Opportunities for converting website visitors into sales leads  Increase Customer Retention through Education, Inspiration, and Entertainment  Many, many more When people think about blogging, they think about only the blogging platform they own. One of the best tactics that you can implement is called "Guest Blogging". What this means is forging relationships with blogs that have large audiences and offering to submit an article as a guest writer. You will gain awareness, links to your site for search engine rankings, as well as an opportunity to be viewed as an authority in your field. Converting readers or watchers into sales leads can be done by including calls to action in several places in your blog. The most successful placements in the past have been in the top right sidebar and below the blog article. But remember, every companys target audience is different, so you will need to test which call to action locations generate the most clicks and lead form submissions. (more on this later) Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  16. 16. 16 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business E-Mail_____________________________________________ Many people are saying that e-mail is dead, but this is far from the truth. According to eMarketer, e-mail is the preferred choice for receiving sales offers and content. This channel has a distinct role within the marketing funnel. It should be a goal to convert social media followers and web browsers into e-mail subscribers. Subscribers are one step further down the marketing funnel, and now your job is to serve them offers and content that is relevant to their needs. Below you will a screenshot of an e-mail from Social Media Examiner that informs but also helps to convert viewers into leads or sales: Helpful Content Call to Action for Seminar Call to Action for Call to Action: Seminar Share & Subscribe Call to Action: "Like" Facebook Page Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  17. 17. 17 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Mobile__________________________________________ With the growth of mobile marketing comes new opportunities to target and communicate with prospects and customers. You will find some of the newest methods for reaching your audience.  Geo-Location As of today, most smart phones are built with GPS capabilities. This is powerful for small, location based businesses for a couple of reasons. People can now tell their friends on multiple networks that they are at a business. This leads to increased brand awareness for your business, but the best aspect of this channel is that your loyal customers are doing all of the promoting for you. Give Foursquare, Facebook Check-In Deals, Gowalla, or SCVNGR a try.  Text Messages (SMS) Text messages are the most widely used feature of mobile phones. According to Portio Research, SMS traffic is expected to break 8 trillion in 2011. Access your customers with offers and updates at any time and place with text messages.  Optimizing Sites for Mobile According to Mashable, by 2015, more people will access the internet through their mobile phones than through desktop or laptop computers. Having a website is useless if people cannot access it from their phones. Therefore, making sure your website is optimized for mobile sites should be an item to tackle within the next year as more people access the internet on their mobile devices. There are simple codes that you can place into your website, or you can build a custom template to pull content from your normal website.  Mobile Applications The ultimate mobile zen is building a custom application for iPhone, Android, or Blackberry. Before you dive into developing a special application, you will need to figure what mobile device your target market is using the most. After you figure this out, you will need to develop a plan for the type of content that people will need in the application. You can design an app that has the following options: gaming, mobile commerce, notifications, geo-location, form submissions, maps, pictures, video, audio, among others. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  18. 18. 18 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Converting Website Traffic into Sales_____________________ One of the most overlooked portions of a social media marketing plan is setting your website up to convert visitors into leads and sales. There are certain best practices that have been verified over many tests. But you will want to conduct your own tests to see which layouts, colors, calls to action, and other factors convert the most traffic into leads and sales. The following pages will outline the steps you will need to take in order get the most leads and sales out of your website. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  19. 19. 19 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Calls to Action_______________________________________ One of the many reasons that you created a website in the first place was to create sales opportunities, right? A critical element that many website and blogs lack is a call to action. What do you want the visitor to do next? You have to tell them. The following examples illustrate calls to action that inspire website visitors to take the next step:  HubSpots Blog contains a call to action at the top of every page to download free content in exchange for contact information:  Jay Baers Blog, Convince and Convert, contains a "Hello Bar" at the top of every page. The Hello Bar is great for driving traffic to sign up for monthly promos, as you can adjust the settings very easily:  Inside Facebook makes a good portion of its revenue from the Facebook Marketing Bible. After every blog post, they include a call to action to begin the membership sign up process: Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  20. 20. 20 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Landing Pages_______________________________________ After the website visitor clicks on the call to action, the next step is collecting their contact information for lead nurturing. The goal is to get as many people to click on the submit button as possible. Page layout, colors, pictures, video, and testimonials are all factors that you will want to think about in order to maximize your lead generation. Below you will find an example of a landing page that is designed to convert visitors into leads from HubSpot: Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  21. 21. 21 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Content Incentives___________________________________ So the next question you will want to ask before setting up your calls to action and landing pages is: "Whats in it for them?". This is where content incentives can really boost your sales leads. In exchange for contact information, people will be able to access e-books (much like this one), white papers, videos, webinars, podcasts, studies, and survey results. What content does your audience find valuable? Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  22. 22. 22 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Lead Nurturing _____________________________________ Now that you have collected peoples contact information, what do you do next? E-mail will keep the relationship going by serving people more valuable content and offers, keeping your company top of mind. If you have collected information about your sales leads, you can now begin to segment lists into different content types. For example, if you have people specify what role they have in their company, you can tailor e-mail content to only business owners or only sales executives. Personalization is a trend that will keep growing as marketing technology improves. With e-mail, you also now have the opportunity to collect more information about your prospects and customers. Through calls to action within your e-mail messages, you will create additional conversions through content downloads or even purchases. E-mail is the place to implement the harder sell along with valuable content. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  23. 23. 23 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Sales & Customer Service Training_____________________ As you start to produce leads, you will need a sales and customer service team in place to assist the prospect along the purchase path and to keep current customers happy. Since every company is different, you will need to find an approach that works for you. The easier you make it for your sales and customer service team to perform their jobs, the more sales and loyalty you will produce for your company. Tips for sales team training: 1. Come up with a monthly or quarterly education process for salespeople. You can reduce costs by doing webinars. 2. Create a system for filtering leads to salespeople. 3. Create a lead scoring system for identifying strong leads versus weak leads. Tips for customer service training: 1. Create a center of excellence for customer service, marketing, and sales teams to access information and share knowledge 2. Schedule monthly or quarterly training 3. Empower customer service to create and share content that will improve the lives of customers Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  24. 24. 24 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Testing and Measurement_____________________________ 1. Testing The beauty of the web is that you can quickly perform tests on your website to see which layouts, colors, number of fields, messaging, pictures, and video convert the most traffic into leads or paying customers. You can either do the testing yourself through tools like Google Website Optimizer, or you can hire an agency like Wider Funnel or Trinity Insight to run tests on your site. You will be amazed at the improvements in leads and sales from small changes in page elements. 2. Measurement After you have deployed several content pieces that are findable in search engines and shareable in social networks, you need to measure results. Some of the questions you will need to ask are:  What content pieces were shared the most in social networks?  Where is the traffic to the landing page coming from? Search Engines? Facebook?  What are the conversion rates for each piece of content?  conversion rate = (conversions ÷ traffic) *100  What landing page version converted more visitors into leads or sales? (if you are performing tests)  If you are a brick and mortar business: How many check-in specials were redeemed? Has foot traffic increased? After you examine all of the available data, you can determine where you need to tweak your strategy or tactics. One example: You are finding that you are not getting much qualified traffic from Facebook, but you are getting a lot of qualified website traffic from LinkedIn Groups. The next step would be to focus more on participating effectively in LinkedIn Groups by posting helpful content that is published by your company and also other companies. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  25. 25. 25 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Creating Lifelong Customers__________________________ So you are now at the bottom of the marketing funnel, and you have secured your customer base. The process doesnt end with the sale. Depending on the types of products or services you sell, you will have to maintain a certain level of customer service. Customer service comes in many formats, but here are just a few to consider: 1. Loyalty Programs Your customers can earn points for every purchase. Eventually the points add up to a freebie or some type of special treatment. You can reward customers using Foursquare or Facebook Check-in Deals by implementing a mobile punch card program. (i.e. after the 3rd check-in, receive a free appetizer). 2. Referral Programs Set up a referral program and include a call to action in all of your e-mail marketing to customer lists. You could give a percentage off per product or per month if you sell an ongoing service. 3. Simple Thank You Sending a simple thank you to your customers goes a long way. This can be done in many formats, so be generous with your thanks! 4. Digital Customer Service Consumers are starting to catch on that customer service is often better served on social channels due to the fact that most interactions are in a public forum. Your customer service department will need to gear up to respond to comments in all of your owned channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs for example. In addition, you will need to come up with a monitoring system and assign customer service staff to respond to comments on sites that your company does not control directly. Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  26. 26. 26 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Conclusion______________________________________ Take the knowledge you gained from this guide and start implementing ideas into your online marketing. By taking advantage of social media and content marketing now, you will have a leg up on the competition. The adoption rate of the proper techniques for generating business are still low for many small businesses, so you will be able to pave the way in your market. Think about this. Content creation is an asset that will keep growing as you feed more content into your website, search engines, and beyond. By generating amazing content, you increase your following, leads, and ultimately closed business. By no means will this process be quick and easy, but you will reap the benefits over time. You will be glad you did. Go out there and create some magic! Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn
  27. 27. 27 The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Small Business Next Steps________________________________________ If you are interested in growing your business online, contact Social Media HQ today to start the discovery process. P.S. If you liked this guide please share it with your colleagues, friends, family, or whoever you think might find value in it. Click on one of the share buttons below: Share on Facebook Tweet this Guide Share on LinkedIn