Feel comfortable with traditional offline marketing tactics but a bit daunted by social media and content marketing? Not sure how to start or even if to start? (And the answer is a resounding “yes” if you’re questioning whether or not to get on board the content train.) Sometimes the hardest part of initiating any new tactic or idea is just making the first steps to get the momentum going. With that in mind, here are several simple tips for getting started with social media and content marketing.
1. Don’t try to be everywhere. Focus first on the core channels that make sense with your business strategy. Facebook and Twitter are likely the best places to start. Google+ helps in search. And YouTube is great, but consider only if you can sustain posting video content regularly. Only add channels as it makes sense. You may never have a Pinterest account for your business, and that’s OK.
2. Do decide what to insource and what to outsource. It may make sense to leave more to professional outsourced service providers than to invest the time and energy of doing it yourself or adding it to a staff member’s plate. And just because someone is young or a family member or the boss’s daughter, doesn’t mean that she should be the “social media” person. This is a serious part of your marketing strategy, and should be treated as such. Resist the temptation to make it intern level work.
3. Do create and curate content. Content is everywhere in your business, right under your nose, often where you least expect it. Team members have knowledge and ideas. Questions from customers and prospective customers are great sources of content. But don’t just focus on creating. Your business partners and industry associations create great stuff to share. When you not only create your own content but also share useful content related to your business, it helps to establish you and your brand as an expert in your field.
4. Do build a barrier between your personal social media presence and your business’ social media marketing. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur, resist the temptation to do everything with your personal profiles.
5. Do augment your online tactics with offline efforts, ensuring that both are aligned with your brand image and promise. Your website, Facebook cover photo, Twitter header image, printed materials, business cards, etc. should all carry the same branding elements (colors, fonts, logo, slogan, etc.). Your brand is the foundation of it all. Make sure its promise is reflected clearly across all media.
6. Don’t expect huge results overnight. Realize this takes time. It also takes consistent effort and a little trial & error. Keep at it, pay attention to how leads and customers come in, and the results will come. Social media and content marketing is as much about branding and customer engagement as it is about generating leads and acquiring new customers. While the immediate return may seem low, the long-term results will outweigh the efforts.
Social media marketing is NOT a silver bullet. Content and social tactics are just part of a comprehensive, well-thought marketing plan. I have not touched on search and reputation marketing here. These are topics unto themselves. For small businesses who rely on local referrals, such as dental, medical, and veterinary practices, search and reputation are of paramount importance.
Lastly, if you have a small team or no team, don’t fret. You don’t have to go it alone. There are plenty of resources out there to advise you, consult with you, and even do some of the heavy lifting for you.
Thank you for reading. Have suggestions, comments, or ideas for future articles? Please let me know!