How to market your small business in a time-constrained world.
Your business needs a social media presence. The rewards of daily communication with your target market are priceless.
Follow their advice to create an effective social media campaign on just a few minutes a day.
So what's stopping you? Time? UPS's team of social media experts can help. Follow their advice to create an effective social media campaign in just a few minutes a day.
1. Know yourself.
There's a process for social media marketing: Think. Listen. Plan. Activate. Amplify. Measure. It sounds like Business Plan 101, right? That's how a social media strategy works, too. And like a good plan, you won't complete it overnight. Time-busting strategies take, well, time.
First, think about your company's mission and personality, your product, its benefits, any niche customers, and community causes your company supports, says UPS social media expert Rhonda Knight.
"Social media is a conversational platform. You need to effectively communicate who you are and what you do, and not be detached from what others are talking about," says Knight. "Knowing your environment, and how you can add value, is crucial to engaging with others in the right way."
2. Understand social media platforms.
"Each social media platform has its own unique culture of users, so you need to know how they talk in order to build the relationship," Knight says.
Take Twitter: It's not a global community made up of lazy spellers. "Tweets" have a maximum number of characters, heightening the use of hashtags and abbreviations. A couple of other interesting Twitter facts:
Of today's most popular social media platforms, Facebook remains solidly in first place:
Also rising in popularity is Tumblr, a platform in which, unlike Facebook or Twitter, its users converse in a blog-style format. In 2011, from May to September, Tumblr doubled its number of user blog posts from 5 to 10 billion. (Source: http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2012/03/28/tumblr-hits-20-billion-posts-nears-50-billion-hosted-blogs/)
3. Go where your customers are.
Listen to determine who’s having conversations and where. There are many free social listen tools available. Find out what platforms your customers use and start there:
- Select a social media platform (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr).
- Within the platform search engine, type in a few key words related to your business or area of interest.
- Keep track with the discussions and any groups or fan pages focused on your areas of interest.
- Assess which platforms exhibit the most activity and begin tailoring your efforts toward a presence on these platforms.
"You'll gain an idea of where the right conversations are taking place," Knight says. "And from there you can assess the tone of these conversations."
4. Join the dialogue.
Now that you know who you are, where your customers converge, what they're talking about and how they talk about it, you're ready to implement a daily routine. For that, UPS social media customer service process owner Stephanie Warren recommends consistency.
"Being responsive every day keeps you immersed in groups or conversations and enhances your trust with that community," Warren says. "Plus, it allows you to manage the content on your page, in case you need to remove something that may not have been posted by you."
Although UPS spends a lot of time monitoring social media, not all companies need to commit that much effort. So, maybe you can devote five or 10 minutes daily just to social media. Also be prepared to assess your performance after a few months.
5. Identify what's working.
How do you know how well your posts are being received? Use analytical tools, says Warren.
Analytical tools range from pricey programs for large companies to less detailed – and free – programs. "It's important to find one that suits your budget," Warren says. "However, most platforms have basic analytical information that you can use, such as Facebook ‘likes' or Twitter retweets."
Steer your future interactions according to these analytics. For example, if one of your messages has been retweeted several times, then the particular topic, style or content of that message is resonating within your platform's community. So keep doing it.
Also, take a look at a few useful resources to help get you started: