Nearly 80% of active U.S. internet users visit social networks and blogs, according to the SMB Group’s 2012 SMB Social Business Study. This explains why social media marketing is commonplace and effective for most large companies. At the same time, only 28% of small businesses using social tools identify themselves as applying social in a ‘planned, strategic way.’
Small businesses that use social media in a strategic way are more likely to be satisfied with results than those using it in an ad hoc way. Social media can give a small business the boost it needs to advance to the next level. In fact, 42% of small businesses using social media reported an increase in leads or traffic to their website.
What does it mean to be a strategic user of social media? Here are five best practices worth exploring:
Spend a little time on the most popular social media networks and check out how your those sites. Where do they post? What do they write about? How often do they post? Next, set up your own accounts and start experimenting.
Discover how often your customers visit social media sites, what information and experiences they seek, what tools they prefer and what kinds of information they share.
As you become more familiar with social media, look at positioning, credibility and following on social networks.
Start slowly and then maintain a steady pace. If you begin by posting frequently and then peter out to nothing, your fans could lose interest.
Create a series of posts to cover at least three months of social media activity. Think in terms of upcoming holidays, seasonality, your own promotional calendar, and other time-linked events. This will help keep the content fresh and relevant to your audience.
Of course, you should update your scheduled posts if there is a newsworthy event, showing you are in tune with what is going on. Always respond promptly to social media messages about your business to demonstrate that you are listening to customers and engaged.