I consider social media as important for a business as socialization is for a puppy. Social media can be defined as the interactions between people and businesses online through websites or applications. This is your online presence and has replaced many traditional marketing and promotional tools. It can be a confusing area as there are so many tools out there, with new ones popping up regularly. In my GoodReads section on the sidebar of my blog, you will find a book called 500 Social Media Marketing Tips. I found this an excellent resource and great reference book, so highly recommend it! I am going to discuss some of the most popular social media items here and will go into more details on each in separate posts. This is not meant to cover all of them, but more about what are currently the most used by businesses. I have put them in order of what I consider to be priority items, so this will help you focus on where to begin if you are just starting out
Although this may not be considered a social media tool, it now works as the front door to your business, and should also link to your social media items (ex: Facebook and/or Twitter accounts). It is often the first impression for potential clients, so it is an area that you should invest in. Depending on your business, you may still have clients who do not use any social media tools, so a website is the only online access they have to you. There are any wonderful build-your-own tools, but I encourage you to invest in a having a web development company create your website for you. There are a few reasons for this; they can provide a unique and customized design to allow to stand out from your competition, they provide you the support you need, they have the experience to ensure your website provides the best service to your clients, they can assist with growth as some programs are limited and your time is likely better spent on something else for your business instead of creating a website.
To ensure you create leads through your website, ensure it has up to date information. Your site should be easy to navigate and allow clients to quickly find the information they are looking for. Keep your site clean and simple and do not use too many colours or bright, distracting colour schemes. At a minimum, your website should showcase your key services/products, have a section about the company and your team and hours, location and contact information. If you own the domain, but do not have your website up yet, you should have a landing page explaining that your website is being developed and how they may contact you for more information.
Check out dogma’s website!
Facebook still has a lot of growth to address many business’s concerns, but it is the most popular social networking tool and one I consider a must for an organization. It is an excellent tool to interact with your clients, provides affordable target marketing and is an excellent tool to reach out into different markets and promote your business. Ensure you give your page a name to enable others to tag your business Facebook page. If you do not have this set up properly, you do this through the About section and Facebook Web Address field. When using Facebook, ensure you are not just using it as a sales tool. Share related articles, funny videos/graphics, promote related businesses, create contests and add pictures/videos of your business that encourage feedback.
Check out dogma’s Facebook page!
This is an important tool for you individually as a business owner. It is considered a professional networking tool and allows you to make connections within your industry and with other professionals. It is a good idea to keep your profile up to date and spend the time outlining all areas about yourself. You can use this to promote and get the word out about your business as well.
Check out my LinkedIn profile!
This is an excellent tool if you like to write. It allows you to provide free resources to your client, which is a great value-added service! It helps to promote you as an expert in your industry and creates the opportunity to reach people outside of your market. It also provides new information regularly to your clients (as long as you regularly update it) and can assist in relationship-building. If you provide great information through your blog, your clients will share it and help promote you and/or your business!
Take a look at dogma’s blog!
Twitter has provided me with the furthest reaching social connections due to how it operates. It is another social networking tool that provides quick status updates. It should be used on a more frequent basis to keep users engaged. What made Twitter unique was its use of hashtags. A hashtag is a key phrase or term preceded with the # symbol. You would highlight keywords in a tweet by putting the # symbol in front of the word. You can use more common terms or create new ones. For example, some of our hashtags we commonly use are #dogs, #yyc (for Calgary), #dogmadogs, #urbanK9 or #kinderPUPS. If you click on a hashtag, it will show you all tweets that include that specific one. You can join groups and retweet any tweets you think would be valuable for your clients.
Check out dogma’s Twitter account!
Instagram is a fun way to share pictures and short videos of your business. Being surrounded by dogs all day, it is easy for us to take fun and interesting pictures. You could showcase certain products or create fun ways for your clients to follow your projects or service offerings. It is another excellent tool for increasing client interaction and also uses hashtags as a key format of their services. You can download separate apps to add fun frames, filters, video editing and showcase pictures differently!
Find dogma on Instagram!
YouTube is a video sharing website. It may not be relevant to your business, but can provide another excellent way to promote your services and/or educate your clients. Video can be an excellent tool to set yourself apart from your competition and is ideal for promoting yourself as an expert. We are just growing ours and are building it out in 2015, so I will keep you updated on our process. YouTube is also now integrated with Google, so directly links to your gmail or Google+ accounts, which provide some excellent tools and great resources for your business.
Find dogma on YouTube!
There are so many tools out there and this is just a small outline of what is recommended to start. Build slowly to ensure you keep each up to date. The worst thing you can do is create a social media avenue that is stagnant and rarely updated. Keep your interactions brief as most people are quickly scanning and do not want anything that will take too long. Provide quality and engaging content as this will increase the chances that your information will be cross-posted or shared, which creates free promotions for your organization. Do not shy away from social media as this is quickly becoming the new avenue for marketing for businesses. When researching companies, most people look at social media, so if you are not set up or your information is outdated/poor, the chances are you are losing a large number of your leads for your business! The best part, to start, it is all free!
Have questions? Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Share your experiences, fears, or success stories with social media in the comments below!