MM_SmBus_KeepCustomers_ArticleIn the ever evolving world of social media and marketing, it’s tough for time-starved small businesses to keep pace when it comes to the best tools to reach customers. While there is no “one-size fits all” approach, a recent study done by Constant Contact shows that small businesses believe social media (60%) is one of the top three tools to engage existing customers and attract new ones.1

Here’s how to make your social media marketing a success.

Have a Goal.

The first thing every single business should think about before they embark on setting up a social media campaign is their goals and objectives. Without a clear vision of your objectives and what you want to achieve from your campaign, your efforts will be unfocused and the results will be weak and disjointed. Remember your social media efforts are a part of your overall marketing campaign so make sure your social media goals and objectives are in line with your overall marketing goals.

Seventy-four percent of consumers rely on some type of social media network to guide their purchasing decisions.2 As you grow your network on sites like Facebook and Twitter, you’ll improve your chances to reach new customers through social by word-of-mouth. For example, you can grow your network by engaging the most active users on your social site in conversations by asking their opinions and reporting back how you used their opinion to make improvement to your business. By implementing the suggestions of your customers they might be more willing to talk to others about you just because you listened.

Be Where Your Customers Are.

It’s important to have a presence where your customers are looking to interact with you and other businesses. Want to know where your customers prefer to be on social networks? Ask them. If asking isn’t an option, find out through a feedback survey or a form on your website.
According to Constant Contact, 90% of your time on social media should be spent on the networks you know your audience already use and the other 10% should be spent trying new things like Pinterest or Vine.2 Testing new waters can help you catch new customers.

Join in Conversations.

The power of social media marketing is building relationships, staying top of mind with existing customers, and helping and educating others. Social media allows you to humanize your brand and show your customers and prospects that there are real people behind your product or service – just like them. While 30% of your conversations can be about your business, 70% need to ask your social connections, “tell me more about you.” Keep in mind though; be authentic in all that you do on social, because social users are keenly aware of insincerity.

Post Relevant Information.

You can and should reuse content from other sites or connections when it’s not possible to post relevant content you’ve created. You don’t want to drop out of the social conversation entirely, so content from third parties is an option. They key is to provide content that provides value to your followers and keeps them engaged. Otherwise they could tune out or stop following you altogether. Keep in mind though, that there are rules to posting third-party content. Here is a great article on five simple tips to keep in mind: Content Curation & Fair Use: 5 Rules to being an Ethical Content Curator from Curata, a content creation agency.

Be Consistent.

How often to post is a grey area in social media circles. Do too little and followers may not notice you and post too often and they may get annoyed. But the best advice is to find the right balance of what you can handle consistently and stick to it. Start with once a day on Facebook, a couple of times a day on Twitter. Make sure to provide content your target audience will value – not just product promotions. Examine the results (response to types of posts, best times for responses) and modify your posting timing and frequency based on what you find.

What social tools do you think engage your customers most? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.

Sources: 1 Constant Contact: Small Business Technology Pulse Survey, March 2013.
2 Constant Contact: 10 Strategies for Social Media Marketing Success, 2013.