In case you’re wondering what the heck happened to Part I, you can check it out here, a reprint of the original blog post I wrote for Interconnections for Women (they disbanded in December 2014).
You probably know by now that you really should be using social media as part of your marketing efforts for your small business. But if you’ve been putting it off and/or don’t believe your endeavors will translate into traffic (and, in a perfect world, sales/conversions), grab a pen! It may be time to ask yourself a few questions and mend your ways for the sake of measurable ROI (return on investment…of your time).
#5: Are You Posting Too Much? Not Enough??
In most cases, too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing. A recent survey I did of my followers put “posting too often” or “only posting advertising” among their top annoyances in social media. Annoy them enough and your followers will begin to ignore everything you put out there or, worse yet, unfollow you. By the same token, you don’t want to post too little and wind up fading into the background of your audience’s virtual mind.
Bottom line, it’s all about balance. You need to put yourself in front of them enough for them to remember you but not so much that your communications become like “white noise”. The general recommendation for the biggest social media channels are as follows (and I agree with these): blog a minimum of twice a month (if you can do it once a week, even better), post on LinkedIn weekly (if your target audience is on LinkedIn), update your Facebook page daily (but no more than three times a day, and spread them out), tweet 3 – 5 times daily (if your peeps are there – again, spread ‘em out) and spend about 15 minutes, 3 or 4 times a week on Pinterest (if your industry aligns with those users).
#6: Are You Taking Action to Direct Traffic to Your Site?
One of the major objectives of social media marketing is to drive traffic to your site. This is not Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come,” does not apply. You have to entice them to visit (and return to) your site. You need to update the content on your site regularly (through blog posts, new products & services, updated video, etc.). Then you need to promote those changes via social media.
Don’t just notify people of changes on your site (i.e., “Head on over to my site and check out my new blog post”). Always give them a link, and not to your site, to the post. Added a new product? Tweet a link directly to the product on Twitter. Developed a new service? Post a summary on Facebook with a link to all the details on your website. Just posted to your blog? Post an excerpt on LinkedIn with a link to the post (not your blog page, i.e. www.yoursite.com/blog, but to the individual post). Direct links are effective; the easier you make it for people to go where you want them to go, the more likely they will be to go there. No one has time (and likely not the inclination) to search your site for your latest product, service or content.
#7 Are You Interacting?
You’ve probably heard the advice over and over again to “engage your audience” in social media marketing. That’s because it is absolutely essential to your social media success. If you want your followers on social media to interact with you, you must interact with them! (Hello!?!?)
I mean, think about it…social media networking is networking. When you network in person, communication should never be one-sided; you build relationships with those in your network via two-way communication. Social media is no different.
Establishing that two-way communication with your online audience doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. Think of it like any other conversation…how do you keep one of those going?
Ask and answer questions, just as you would when chatting in person – this is the foundation of most really great discussions.
Avoid yes/no conversation. Shoot for more complex statements and questions that encourage further discussion.
Respond to comments. If you’re speaking with someone face-to-face and they tell you they love your outfit or your latest blog post, you wouldn’t just leave the comment hanging out there…you would respond in some fashion. And so you should in social media!
Be fun and positive. Nobody likes a Negative Nelly…in person OR online.
One of the advantages of social media networking vs. in-person networking is that if you’re not that great at conversation, you have time to work out a well thought-out response. Keep in mind that you should indeed respond. Just like in real life, where not responding to a voice mail, e-mail or in-person inquiry would be considered rude (not to mention bad business), you don’t want to leave members of your audience hanging in social media.
#8: Are You Incentivizing?
Coupons, contests, free reports or e-books and exclusive content are just a few of the incentives you can use to get more people to follow you (or like your page). You do this by requiring them to join your mailing list in order to receive the free report, etc. or by requiring their Like in order to access the content on your page. (Update: requiring a Like to access certain content on your Facebook biz page is called Like-gating and Facebook banned the practice effective November 5, 2014.)
Once you get those people to follow you and/or join your list, make it valuable for them to continue following you. Offer them discounts and/or first access to new features, products or content. Remind them from time to time that by being your subscriber/follower, they receive exclusive offers and they’ll continue to “Like” you for it!
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