Not Losing Focus – The Keys to Successful Online Marketing for Small Businesses

By July 29, 2012News

Everyday it seems we are seeing new startups in the social media realm, each professing a new route to the prize at the end of the road – more fans of your business/product that turns into more business at the end of the day. While there are more outlets out there that have more popular names or trendier designs, attempting to share your business in all of them means you have resulted in one of the following: a ridiculously large marketing payroll, spreading yourself to thin to be effective in any of the online marketing realms, and/or suffering in terms of marketing content due to a serious lack of follow through. Don’t buy into the latest hype – follow these keys to righting your marketing ship and back on track today.

One of the keys to properly utilizing social media is to recognize the differences between it and other forms of marketing!

Content, Content, Content.

The biggest piece of the puzzle lies here, within what you’re posting on your preferred digital soap box. If you take away all of the followers and casual viewers, the hours spent designing attractive graphics and even more hours spent attempting to recruit more fans of your product, all you have is the content you post. Ask yourself this question before you post anything online – is this helpful, interesting, or important to the person reading it? Odds are, if its not, then you’ve just watered down your image. The goal is to make everyone take note when they see your business make a post, and when you disperse content on a regular basis that doesn’t meet the previously mentioned criteria, then you won’t meet that goal.

Follow Through

It’s no secret that, unless it’s immediately making or losing your business money, the things that we define as “side projects” can fall to the side. It isn’t until we hear the words Facebook or Twitter that we realize we haven’t updated ours in several weeks to a month – this is no way to build up your online customer base. If you expect people to remember to come back to your page or feed, you need to install some form of regularity into your posts, which also means doing what it takes to get out quality content. If you don’t remember to communicate with your customers on a regular basis through this medium, don’t expect them to remember to follow you.

Integrating Personal and Online Customer Bases

There’s not much of a point to creating an online platform if you can’t translate those fans into bodies in your store. One of the inherent problems with educating your customers in social media while steering them back towards your storefronts is starting with the lowest common denominator: getting them interested in the first place. One of the most basic principles of small business is that the less effort something takes, the more appealing it will be to your customers; therefore, make it easy! If you have fans of your business that often frequent your store or place of business, put them to work in keeping your online community up to date with incentives for doing so. On the other side of that coin, take your online followers and give them a reason to come into your shop. Offer coupons to your followers or special one time only sale items as incentives for stopping in. Part of making things easy includes not forcing them to follow you and your business over several different media to get different pieces of your message. The point is to not have a customer base that is split between your online crowd and your in-store crowd – having a macro view of your business is far superior to micromanagement.

If you keep yourself grounded in your application of social media by following key principles such as these, you will greatly reduce the risk of spreading yourself too thin. At the core of it all, remember that the whole point is to utilize these tools to expand your business and grow your market reach, NOT end up with new side projects that take up more of your time. Make Social Media work for you!