I recently moved back into the world of small business full-time. Years ago, when I’d run my own day spa, Facebook was new to the scene and I loved it, but digital and social media marketing weren’t the beasts that they are today yet. I had constant contact and enjoyed sending email newsletters but I’d never heard of a drip campaign and certainly didn’t have the fancy sales tools for linking my email campaign to my website and social media efforts that everyone is using today. While my work with the Small Business Administration, running my own businesses and coaching others afforded me the basics in marketing and sales experience, I didn’t make digital marketing a priority with my clients.
Fast-forward to 2017. After years of coaching leaders in the government and nonprofit world, I’ve re-entered the small business arena. Now digital marketing is a non-negotiable component in every client’s marketing efforts. Today, you’re not doing business if you’re not doing business online. Yet so many small businesses struggle to create a profitable digital marketing plan. So I created a formula for digital marketing planning that leverages timeless business wisdom with design thinking and 21st century digital strategies. Social media is a key component because its low cost and most clients have accounts already. Let me share some of my trial and error experience in social media marketing. Hopefully, you’ll walk away with a few golden digital nuggets for your business’s social media success.
Facebook is still the Beyonce of Social Media
I liked Facebook for personal stuff, but my Facebook Business Acumen – was a mess. I have been a Facebook user since its early years, but my son told me last year that Facebook was for old people and that it was yesterday’s news. Well, for business purposes, I found out that Facebook is still relevant. The sheer numbers of people on Facebook make it a priority platform for social media marketing. I am familiar with it, so it is easier to navigate, post, track, and live stream than other platforms that I haven’t used as much. Plus, video and visuals are the key to social media success and with Facebook’s live stream feature, you can connect on the spot from your phone with your followers.
Twitter with the Quickness
It took me a long time to actually like twitter! Hashtag this, and “RT” that –I just felt like they were doing too much. But the truth is once you figure out these 3 things, you’ll learn that twitter is your friend for small business growth:
- Twitter forces you to create short posts because it only allows 140 characters. Once you get used to tweeting, it saves you time since you must get straight to the point.
- You can be a part of groups of people you want to interact with by simply hash-tagging your posts. Using hashtags is easy – just include the pound sign (#) in front of the key word or phrase in your tweet. Twitter uses hashtags like labels to collect all related tweets on the given topic. So if I want to be down with the hip hop community, then my posts should say things like “Great speech on #hiphop awards last night!
- Finally, you can follow anyone on twitter unless they’ve blocked you – unlike Facebook.
Youtube for Video Presence
I read that 1/3 of online time is spent watching video, so I began recording and posting videos. Well, Youtube video setup felt like going skiing –you’re too exhausted to ski by the time you get all the clothes and equipment on. You share a similar story? I get it. But once you do 3 or 4 videos, learning curve and confusion decreases and it becomes routine.
Stay In These Cyber Streets
Real talk, the online party is global – and it’s the party to be at if you want to increase revenues and take your business to the next level. People are waiting for your services and solutions. Take your place in the online marketplace! Treat your online presence like you would an actual brick and mortar store. Have morning opening procedures – daily posts, scanning the trends and your key influencers for the day. Go to networking “events” — your favorite groups and hashtag pages — to participate and get your name and brand the visibility it needs for your business success.
Digital marketing and online sales are still marketing and sales. You’re still running a business. While there are some nuances in effective implementation marketing and social presence online, the basics still matter and you still have to go hard every day. So if marketing and sales aren’t your forte, get a business coach or marketing consultant who can help you strategize and use best practice and proven methods.
Too often, sistahpreneurs are disconnected from the business of social media. Sure, we rock out being consumers all day, but we often fail to leverage the online community in a revenue-generating way on Twitter, LinkedIN, Youtube, and Facebook. The truth is that social media management is a key factor in producing lead pipelines and steady profits. Make it a priority to figure on how you can do business online and make that money, honey.
Makisha Boothe is business coach and founder of Sistahpreneurs. She specializes in rapid improvement and innovation, and helps women with business startup and design. Learn more about the Sistahpreneurs at www.sistah.biz.
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