Social Media Marketing is a “must” for any business that wants to grow, make money, and sell products or services online. More and more consumers are shying away from brick-and-mortar stores and are instead using the Internet as a way to shop. No matter what type of business you run, you need to make sure that your social media pages are up-to-date. The better that your social media sites look, the more likely you are to attract new customers and to keep the ones that you have.

Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t know how to get started with social media sites or even which ones to use. Rest assured that you don’t have to sign up for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram, and Pinterest in order to succeed online. You simply need to pick two or three sites where you’d like to have a presence and then make that presence a strong one.

1. Use the same name for each account
In order for your customers to get the most out of your social media accounts, you’ll need to make sure that you use the same username for each one. This means that if your Twitter handle is “healthcompany,” your Facebook handle should be too. Never choose unique handles for different social media platforms. Your customers are going to value fluidity, consistency, and ease of use. The best way to make sure that people are able to find your accounts is to choose the name of your company as your username.

2. Link to all of your accounts from your website
As soon as your social media accounts are set up, you need to immediately link to them from your primary website or blog. You can have your graphic designer make you tiny social media icons that match your website scheme or you can simply put up text links. No matter what you choose, always test each link to ensure that it is working. When customers come across your website, this will enable them to quickly contact you through your social media pages. They’ll also be able to check your pages for coupons and current specials. Remember that many customers don’t want to spend time talking to you on the phone. If they can’t get the information that they need directly from your website or social media pages, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

3. Notify all of your current customers that you have social media websites
It doesn’t matter whether you print up business cards with your social media links, send an email to your mailing list, or simply tell customers in person that you have new social media profiles. Your goal should simply be to let as many people as possible know about your new pages. Your current customers will get excited to see what specials and discounts you’re offering. Another perk? Customers are more apt to share social media pages with their friends than regular websites.

4. Hold a giveaway
When you first launch your social media marketing campaign, you probably won’t have too many followers on your social media sites. Don’t worry about this because you’re going to actively grow your pages. Soon you’ll have more followers than you know how to handle. One of the easiest ways to get people to “like” or “follow” your pages is to hold a giveaway. This could be a giveaway for a gift certificate or a basket of products. You can have people share your page to earn entries or you can use a free raffle website as a way to collect entries.

5. Update your pages daily
Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than finding a social media website that is not maintained. Make sure that you update your social media pages on a regular basis. For most companies, updating at least once a day is vital. Once your fan base is strong, less frequent updates will be fine, but you need to be consistent at first. Almost all social media sites allow you to schedule posts ahead of time, so you can write all of your posts one day each week and they’ll be live on your social media sites later in the week.

6. Offer valuable information
When you post online, you need to know that your customers, readers, and fans are all being bombarded by organizations, companies, and individuals who are trying to sell them things. Make your brand stand out from the crowd by offering valuable information to your readers. This could mean that you share articles and blog posts with your readers or it could mean that you write a post filled with fun facts about your company or products. Just remember that you need to give them a reason to follow you online. Information is one of the best reasons.

7. Let people know about new products, but don’t beg them to buy things
There’s a fine line between letting people know about your new product and begging them to purchase it. Announcing a coupon for your fans or sharing a picture of a new item is perfectly fine. What you don’t want to do is to spam up your customers and frustrate them. Your fans don’t want to feel like you only care about their money. Celebrate product launches with them, of course, but don’t let that be the only content on your social media sites.

8. Hire a social media manager if you need to
For many small businesses, investing in a social media manager is a smart move. A social media manager is simply someone who makes it their job to update all of your pages on a daily basis. Your manager will post on your Twitter account, find pictures to share on Pinterest, create images for your Facebook page, and even “like” and “follow” appropriate organizations. The price range of a social media manager can range drastically based on how much you need the person to do, but could be something worth considering if you need help on an ongoing basis.


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