WHAT? Now I need a website AND a social media presence?
It seems like two minutes ago, small businesses were wrestling with the reasons why they needed a website – now you’re being told you also need to develop your social media presence. Why is that?
Let me first say, I am not a technologist – not a coder, or programmer, or developer or any other job title I don’t fully understand. I am a marketing and sales professional.
I focus exclusively on the results you could get from these efforts; not how the technology behind it works. (For those of you looking to understand the technology, don’t worry, our chief engineer will be chiming in future blog posts!)
I like to start with asking “What are the key business benefits you are trying to achieve?”
- Strictly increase sales?
- Increase brand recognition?
- Lower traditional marketing costs?
- Boost search engine rankings for your website?
- Generate new sources of leads/inquiries?
- Create a new channel for improved customer service?
- Establish your brand as industry thought leaders?
In the first article in this series, let’s get back to the matter at hand. Why does your business need an outstanding website plus a robust social media presence?
What do we mean by social media for a business? Well here are two of the larger platforms that we will not be exploring in this series.
Does this mean Facebook? Yup. We pass. While it may have value for some larger B2C businesses, Facebook is not currently the primary platform for businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B). I’d say the same thing about Google+, especially after the removal of many business oriented services over the last two years. I’ll discuss Twitter and other niche social platforms later in the series, although these tend to be overwhelming and time consuming for beginners. So I say pass here too (!).
What are the social media platforms that DO work for small businesses?
LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram, if used effectively, will drive inquiries (leads) back to your website, enhance your company’s image, and help you reach new and existing clients. We will examine these in detail in the next installment.
And I’ll say this a lot of times throughout this series: Every time you post anything to your social media ecosystem, (yea, that is what you’re building! – An ecosystem) always include a link to your website. With every social media post, you’re creating new points of entry for viewers to get to your company’s products and services. (Plus your business cards, your stationary, your receipts, your invoices, …literally everywhere!)
And if the people who see your post or video or photo like it, they will share it. Then all of THEIR connections see your post or video and then those people share it and on and on and on.
And some people will follow you, so they’ll see some of the posts you share in the future organically, with links directly to their in-box. These people are interested in your product or services, and are becoming loyal to your company (brand).
Achieving your business objective
The objective is clear: drive people interested in you and your company back to your website. Once you are driving people interested in your company back to your website offer them something to retain their interest and start building their relationship with you: a newsletter, a white paper, a business token such as a free tee shirt anything to get them to “reveal” themselves.
Now you’ve captured their contact information. You can track where this lead came from when they sign up for your offer. Did they get here through LinkedIn? YouTube? Instagram photos of your last project?
Next reach out to them with your sales effort and sell them something!
The reality for small businesses is that social media isn’t a trend or a fad; it has to be a part of your daily routine. Your customers are online and looking for places to share opinions, find information and establish a stronger relationship with your company – So, let them in.
Come back for the next installment where we will discuss ideas on using the key social media sites.