The cheap & easy small business social marketing guide

Here's how to make sense of social media from a small business perspective.

Small Business Social Marketing Guide

You want to explore small business social marketing, eh?

I’ll say this upfront:

I told ya so.

Rewind just a few years ago and I saw strong resistance from business owners. They couldn’t imagine the impact small business social marketing would have on their markets. All the while, they’re watching the competition grow their Facebook page, Twitter following, YouTube channel, and more.

But…

You’re here now.

 

I’ll Let the Data do the Talking: 3 Small Business Social Media Marketing Stats You need to Know


 

It’s hard getting through to small business owners because they’re quite stubborn when it comes to social media marketing. I call them the “old guard” … the type that finds it safe doing yellow pages ads, billboards, radio, and television.

They maybe “dabbled” with a bit of social media marketing and quickly dismissed it.

Here’s the thing:

SMM is a long game that creates winners willing to commit. Yes, there are strategies to get instant social media traffic. But, I like to talk about content marketing and social media like it’s a salesperson… one that works 24/7/365 once it’s published.

How can you say no to that?

But alas…

I’ll let the data do the talking.

Facebook influences 52% of customer’s online and offline purchases.

That should automatically confirm your need for a Facebook business page. Otherwise, you won’t reach those 2 billion Facebook users talking about your industry and offers. You’ve likely created a page but let it go to neglect (that’s okay). I’ll talk a bit about Facebook in the following sections.

Websites with a blog tend to get 434% more traffic.

I don’t doubt you have a lack of blogging ideas for the business blog.

I think the problem is in the execution and sharing. I’ll show you how to generate hundreds of ideas to take you through years of blogging. Then, get it rolling along with a content schedule, content strategy, and social sharing process to increase engagement and drive leads to the business.

50% of Internet users look for product or service video before visiting a store.

This isn’t just a younger generation type thing, either. Animoto did a nice breakdown of who’s watching online video and found viewers divided into:

  • 43% of baby boomers
  • 58% of Gen Xers
  • 72% of millennials (Gen Y)
  • 9% of teens (14-17)

Video is quite easy to do once you have the basic equipment (it doesn’t cost a lot). This is one of the core content items I’ll base this small business social strategy guide around so do keep it in mind.

--

So, this brings us to…

 

The Second Time's a Charm Small Business Social Marketing Guide: Creating a Social Media Marketing Plan or Relaunching with Renewed Insights and Effort


 

Now that’s quite a big title.

This section is intended for those two types of small businesses:

  • Those just now getting started
  • Those in need of relaunching efforts

I’m sure some of you have been hemming and hawing about doing some small business social marketing but have yet to give it a go. Then, some of you tried a while back, let it decay, and have a bit of trouble getting engagement since then.

This is what I want you to think about: A.R.C.

As in…

  • Attention
  • Reaction
  • Conversion

First, we’ll draw their attention with incredible content done through business blogging, media, and advertising campaigns. Then, we’ll spur a reaction that’ll provide feedback, discussion, and sharing. Last, we’ll work on the conversion to turn your following and community into verified customers.

Note: I’ve got a few affiliate links in this post to a couple resources. It doesn’t cost you extra if you decide to buy them. I’ll get a small commission if you do buy through the link. Thanks!

 

Develop a better Facebook presence

I know, you’re thinking… “But what about Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Pinterest, and on and on”.

Let me ask:

Are you even using one effectively?

Let’s stick to getting good with Facebook for now.

A strong Facebook presence is the foundation of your small business social marketing. This is the platform you’ll reach most leads. It’ll also provide a wealth of insight when you venture onto the other social platforms because you’ll go armed knowing what to share, how to share it, and various ways to promote and spread your brand and offers.

Here’s what I want you to do:

Create an engaging Facebook profile and cover photo

The profile and cover photo facilitate a couple things:

  • Branding
  • Sales

When we want attention, we want images to pop out. Images that represent your brand while promoting its culture, offers, and community.

I would suggest:

  • Your business logo (profile pic)
  • A photo of you and the team
  • You at your desk or lifestylin’ it up
  • Product or service with benefits

I’d recommend either using in-house or outsourced talent to create these media assets. Or, make them with a design tool like Snappa which will let you drag-and-drop elements while using templates. The later has a free trial and you’ll likely use it for other media elements shared through social.

SNAPPA

A great Facebook profile and cover photo create an immediate reaction. Visitors landing on the FB page will have an emotional response; it’s a lot like seeing a great magazine ad or book cover. This sets the stage for what they can expect if they decide to follow your brand.

Share awesome content, insights, and news

I covered this in detail – 32 Creative Facebook Content Ideas – so that’s where I’d start if you want to see a massive list of what brands are using to get tons of likes, shares, and comments.

But, for simplicity, try these first:

  1. Share a photo from around the office
  2. Share a blog post answering a FAQ
  3. Do a live broadcast showing a product
  4. Talk about your best customers
  5. Tell an interesting story
  6. Post viral videos or inspirational quotes
  7. Ask a question or have them fill in the blank

I’d highly recommend sharing media since you can use this to become an authority and curator for your industry. It sounds like you’re sending people away from the business… but it’s the opposite because it makes people come to you for insights.

It goes like this: Get their attention with something engaging -> boost reach -> pitch an offer.

PIC

And what about creating conversions?

The blog posts will provide helpful information, tutorials, and insights about your products and/or services. These should have call-to-actions pointing people to the sales page. Otherwise, share discounts for all or some products accompanied by a great image.

Do some promoted posts and small-scale ads

You know the value of spending money to increase reach and sales.

Don’t feel intimidated by the Facebook advertising platform… it’s super easy and effective.

Here, I’ll walk you through it:

PIC

This is a post I shared on one of my Facebook pages. I made sure to create a catchy status, used a great image, and modified the headline a bit.

PIC

I clicked ‘Boost Post’ once it was shared which took me to these options for sharing. You can choose where it’ll go, who you’re targeting, budget, and timing.

PIC

I decided to increase the engagement to the people who follow my page since this is a simple way to boost that initial engagement so the next thing you share reaches more people.

PIC

I set the timer for a day and budget to $2 which I know what you’re thinking… that doesn’t seem like a lot! But… I think so because it keeps the cost low for testing. If I notice it gets excellent engagement, then I may decide to run it as a full-blown ad to really bolster my small business social marketing efforts.

That’s it.

You can sit back, wait while it gets out there, and then check the data. Use that to determine the next piece you decide to promote. Keep repeating this to increase overall engagement with the community.

Then it’s a matter of doing promotional posts in between the well-accepted shares.

Don’t go overboard – try to keep the offers maybe 1 in 7-10 normal posts – so you’re not turning the Facebook page into some aggressive sales platform.

To recap:

  1. Create a better Facebook presence by using better media
  2. Offer better content to encourage engagement and feedback
  3. Promote easy stuff to boost awareness, then come back and promote offers

We were able to touch on all three of the A.R.C items:

  • Built awareness through updates
  • Created a reaction with good content
  • Caused conversions with the right offers

In total, we’re spending about $20-$50 for the media throughout the month (unless you take it in-house by using a tool like Snappa). Then maybe $2-$5 per promoted post but even then, it could be a once a week type thing in the beginning until things get good traction.

 

Create good, shareable business blog content

Let me quickly define the two:

  • Good – Providing something of value
  • Sharable – Providing something people will share

You can spend hours doing your business blogging. It’ll be a waste if you’re not tailoring the content to your customers and community. Basically, you don’t want to toot your own horn for the sake of seeing words on your website.

The good news.

You probably have hundreds of blog posts ready to go… you just haven’t realized it.

I’ll keep this as easy as possible… let me explain.

Collect what you know about the business and the offers

You and the team know a lot about the business operations and offers. More so than what you’re telling the customers because many small businesses tend to hold their information behind closed doors.

The best way to build social media traffic is to share your expertise.

This may make you feel uncomfortable…

  • What if my competition knows my secrets?
  • What if someone copies my business?
  • What if I’m revealing too much to customers?

Here’s the thing: If you don’t, someone else will.

Over that mental hurdle? Good, let’s move on.

So… where do you collect this information?

FAQS

The questions you’re answering when customers call, use live chat, mention something on social media, or send an email. Each of these questions become a blogging opportunity.

Industry

Believe it or not, some of your customers would like to know what’s happening in the industry. There are plenty of ways to make industry news entertaining; a lot of the content is written for you through press releases and news… add your opinion and you’re good to go!

Experience

Know something about using the product or service customers don’t? Start sharing all those little details as tutorials and tips posts. Ask your team what they know (that you might not) and turn them into content creators.

User-generated Content

Let the users share something they’ve made whether that’s a review about your products or a video of them using it. People love having the opportunity to be in the spotlight. This is their chance to use your blog as the platform… and you benefit from those written words by way of more content to get indexed in search!

Documents

Got a set of instructions for your product(s)? Have an in-house best use or policy? Those are quite helpful to your customers and community. Your competition may keep these hidden… you, putting them out there, will capture those searching for the info.

Creativity

Write an opinion about what’s happening in the news or share something neat like an outing you had with the team. Show off the office pets, a great quote, or something your kid made you thought was cute. All these add humanity to what you’re sharing; this is good stuff for building a personal relationship with your followers.

Analytics

Look at site analytics and find exactly what people search for when they’re landing on your site. This gives you the exact terms they’re using. See that you don’t have a page for those common terms or phrases? Start creating content using those keywords!

--

The FAQs, alone, will probably fill out dozens (if not, hundreds) of great blog posts for your business social marketing campaign.

Structure, add media, and SEO the hell out of it

Get out of the idea of writing big blurbs.

Keep it short and sweet.

For starters, structure your media so sentences are short (1-2 sentence per paragraph). Then, break up big sections with lists, media, quotes, and really anything to add some visual elements to the work.

Where to find free images:

  1. Unsplash
  2. Pixabay
  3. Flickr

Make sure they’re part of the creative commons and they’re cleared for commercial use. I suggest you also take the images and do a few tweaks. Snappa can help with adding visuals to the blogs.

And then… do the SEO.

  1. Optimize the title to have your main keyword
  2. Include the keyword in your page description
  3. Try to repeat the keyword a couple times in the post
  4. Use the keyword in one of the image ALT attribs
  5. Shorten the URL so it’s the keyword or maybe one or two other words

It doesn’t have to get too technical, really.

Do these five and you’re probably outranking competition right there (especially if they’re barely doing any optimization to begin with).

Then:

  • Build links to the blog posts (guest posting, ads, sponsored content, natural)
  • Share it on your social media channels (could lead to link backs, too)

That’s it as far as business blogging goes.

I’d like to add…

Making your business blogging better

A few, quick things:

  1. Schedule. Create a content schedule so you’re publishing posts at least once or twice a week if it’s big pieces – though once a day would be nice!
  2. Contributors. Try to offset some of the work by having employees write content or taking on user-submissions. Or, curate content by finding good stuff and resharing it.
  3. Call-to-actions. Make sure every post has some form of call-to-action telling people to follow, subscribe, or buy something from your store. Don’t leave it up to them.
  4. Sharing Buttons. Get something like SUMO to add social media sharing buttons to your blog; this will encourage people to share automatically, and you can use it to research and improve your research with their analytics.

I also want you to do this:

Try to create something epic.

As in…

  • A wonderfully valuable tutorial sharing the complete process of using your product(s)
  • An incredible list of tips and tricks to get more out of your services
  • A comparison of the other, leading offers in the industry and how you stack up

Think of your content as a product.

It’s out there, driving people to your website through organic and social media. You put lots of time up-front into its development, but it’ll keep generating leads as long as it’s on your site.

The content fuels search and social media traffic.

Awesome, right?

 

Let’s talk about video for your small business social media marketing

People dread being on video which is a real shame considering video is now the dominant way most of us consume online media. Like the stat up above said… people are looking for videos of your products and services before they’re buying.

I’m gonna share three ways of making easy, marketing videos for your business:

  • The smartphone method
  • The DIY studio method
  • The screencasts method

The concepts aren’t hard, you’ll make some mistakes, just keep trying:

The smartphone method

You’ve got a smartphone (good chance) and it has a great video camera.

See where this is going?

Set up in a nice spot, without much background noise, and record (horizontal) a video responding to one of the many frequently asked questions. Upload it to YouTube and use their built-in tools to trim what’s necessary. Hit publish. You’re good to go!

The DIY studio method

What you’ll need:

You’re about $100 invested.

Again, find a nice, quiet place to set up, sit down, record your response to an FAQ, share an opinion, or show off one of your products. Import the video to the video editor, make some trims, add a title and some royalty free music, and upload/publish.

The first few videos will look like crap. You’ll get the hang of it once you start digging into the video editing and finer features of your camera. You’ll also just get better at being on camera with practice.

Else, have an employee hop on camera to answer questions from the community.

The screencast method

Screencasts are recordings of your computer screen. They’re very easy to make using the right software and perfect if you’re showing off a service.

  1. I recommend OBS studio since it’s open-source (free)
  2. Watch this video on how to set up OBS to record your screen (should only take 5 minutes)

Play around with the features and practice a few recordings to get the hang of it.

Then… when you’re ready:

  1. Check to see it’s picking up your microphone or built-in mic
  2. Clear your throat and hit record
  3. Walkthrough using your service(s)
  4. Open the video in a video editing suite
  5. Make the edits and export
  6. Publish to YouTube

Easy!

Optimizing the video for YouTube and social

Another quick section – add the keyword to:

  1. The title
  2. The description
  3. The tag(s)

… and make sure to mark the video for its appropriate category.

PIC

Start promoting the video throughout your small business social marketing efforts. Also, embed the video into your blog posts covering the same topic. This’ll give extra media and value to the page.

Do this if you’re lazy about making video

You could always outsource video creation.

Here’s what I’d recommend:

  1. Identify your best blog posts
  2. Cut the fluff and turn it into a script
  3. Send it to someone that’ll read and be on camera
  4. Let them edit and add media as they see fit
  5. Get it back and publish it to your site/YouTube

Video marketing is somewhat expensive so that’s why I’m recommending the other methods first. It’s your time and money but I’m glad you’re at least entertaining the idea.

 

Still Holding Off on Small Business Social Marketing?


 

I know, I know…

You just spent all that time going through the post, feeling a little hyped about starting in, but something is putting up those barriers. You’re still unsure about what to do or you’re not totally convinced.

Let me remind you the competition doesn’t care if you’re there or not…

…they’re already using it to get more sales.

They love the fact you’re not on social.

You can do one of two things:

  1. Go back to this post and work on the items one-by-one
  2. Get in touch with me and I’ll walk you through it some more

I’ve laid out what you need to get started with small business social marketing. There’s more than enough here to handle social and help you grow online.

So, here’s my offer to you…

  1. Send me an email with your business, URL, and social links
  2. Tell me your target market and what you offer
  3. I’ll try my best to respond to every email with a social marketing plan

I love this stuff and more so when I see small businesses thrive because of it.

Act or get in touch.

That’s all you got to do.